My Chemical Romance revisits their Jersey roots

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Gerard Way (Lead Vocals) photo from behind looking at the crowd
My Chemical Romance sold out show at Prudential Center. Photo by Mark Beemer.

My Chemical Romance hails from the city of Newark

My Chemical Romance band on stage
My Chemical Romance. Photo by Mark Beemer.

The My Chemical Romance Reunion Tour initially kicked off on December 20, 2019, in Los Angeles before being abruptly postponed. It was rescheduled for over two years due to COVID-19.

Nevertheless, the tour finally recommenced this past May, coinciding with the release of “The Foundations of Decay,” the band’s first single since 2014. The world tour is set to run until late March 2023, where it will close out in Australia. 

The Homeless Gospel Choir opened during both Newark shows. The second show also featured the reunion of Midtown, hailing from New Brunswick and having performed in the past with My Chemical Romance. Midtown made a great opening act and opened the show with “Become What You Hate.” The setlist featured their biggest hits and fan favorites alike, including “Like A Movie,” “Just Rock and Roll,” and a cover of The Killers’ “When You Were Young,” which they dedicated to MCR’s Mikey Way. The band closed out their set with “Give It Up” to thunderous screams and applause.

It was evident a portion of attendees came solely for the Midtown reunion, while others were mutual fans of both Midtown and MCR. 

Frank Iero (Rhythm Guitar) playing guitar on stage while one foot is on a low speaker
My Chemical Romance: Frank Iero (Rhythm Guitar). Photo by Mark Beemer.

My Chemical Romance hails from the city of Newark, with a majority of the group having been born in Newark and raised in neighboring Belleville. The band formed in 2001, immediately following the September 11th attacks, which was the inspirational catalyst for Gerard Way and Matt Pelissier to establish the band. My Chemical Romance has gone on to become one of the most influential rock groups of the 2000s.

Their performance at Prudential Center this past vyear marked their hometown show but also their first New Jersey concert in ten years since The Bamboozle 2012 in Asbury Park. This show was a long time coming, and it was made evident by eager concertgoers lining up outside of Prudential Center as early as sunrise to see the boys perform. Throughout the show, lead singer Gerard Way made various references to growing up in the Garden State and repeatedly emphasized how much he was looking forward to coming home to perform on this tour.

Over the years, My Chemical Romance has become icons within the LGBTQ community. In addition to their long history of advocating for LGBTQ rights, those within the community have found solace in their music, which the band attributes to their distinct ability to resonate with anyone who has “ever felt like an outcast, downtrodden, or alienated.”

The band opened the show in front of a seemingly post-apocalyptic backdrop highlighted by prominent red lighting and dramatic light shadowing. The stellar vocals, powerful instrumentals, and spooky staging created an intense setting ideal for a rock show. 

Gerard Way singing into a microphone
My Chemical Romance: Gerard Way (Lead Vocals). Photo by Mark Beemer.

The setlist consisted of a mix of hits and fan favorites. The show kicked off with “The Foundations of Decay.” The pit was packed with tons of hardcore fans, and during the third track, “It’s Not a Fashion Statement, It’s a Fucking Deathwish,” it started to get rowdy, with a few fans getting squished. It was admirable to see the band pause the show with Gerard Way graciously asking fans to back up to accommodate one another. After the travesty which took place at Astroworld in part due to Travis Scott’s carelessness, moments like this are greatly appreciated within the live music world.

The first half of the setlist contained “Helena,” “Welcome to the Black Parade,” and “Teenagers,” while the second half featured “Famous Last Words” and “I’m Not Okay (I Promise).” The band closed out with a cover of Claude Francois’ “My Way.” 

Following the show, many fans walked down Mulberry Street to the alternative nightclub QXTS, where the line went all the way down the block. Staff regarded the after-party as bigger than Halloween!

Watch My Chemical Romance perform “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” and see a playlist of full performances from My Chemical Romance Reunion Tour here.

Will Loschiavo is Out In Jersey's entertainment editor. Will has worked on air for Top 40 radio stations in New York and New Jersey and written for various publications. Will is the host of the Will Love Listen podcast available on Spotify, Apple iTunes, and iHeartRadio. Follow on Instagram: @WillLoveInc