From Bullets To Black Uniting Us All
A couple of weeks ago My Chemical Romance unceremoniously killed off their alter egos The Black Parade in Mexico and now with their ranks somewhat depleted following the injury to drummer Bob Bryer and family illness forcing Frank Iero to return home, it is a somewhat different MCR that is greeted by the O2 crowd, one that has reverted back to being the black attired heroes of the outcasts but one that's still very much here to deliver a rock show in all its theatrical splendour and with bursting with adrenalised rawness.
Bravely opening with an as yet untitled new track, MCR confidently charge around the stage, oozing energy and vitality that suggests that this is the start of their tour rather than the final lap. With brother Mikey back on bass duty following his long absence, Gerard Way appears to have found a new lease of life, brimming with an enthusiasm and enjoyment that seemed to be lacking from their support slot with Muse in the summer and indeed from their headline slot at Download as he announces that tonight's show is going to be fast and furious, before pummelling into the darkly intoxicating 'How I Disappear' through to the Britrock pumping frolics of 'Dead'. It is, of course, the band's anthem that causes a mass breakout of mosh pits and hysterics as 'I'm Not Okay' rages and stomps in all its outcast glory heightened by singer Way deciding to perform the track from the barricades.
Ever the charismatic frontman, Way is almost chameleon-esque as he dips into MCR back catalogue prancing jovially across the stage for the vaudeville romp that is 'Mama', embracing the band's raw roots with the anger fuelled thump of 'Cemetery Drive' before conducting a sing out loud burst of 'Welcome To The Black Parade' uniting old and new fans alike. Indeed tonight was very much about embracing the history of MCR before they embark on their next campaign as the inclusion of rare tracks from debut album 'I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love' highlighted. Seemingly resigned to the MCR vaults it was the inclusion of hits such as 'Honey This Mirror Isn't Big Enough For The Both Of Us' and the energetically charged 'Headfirst For Halos' that vigorously erupts throughout the crowd, injecting all enthusiasm as Mikey Way's bass lays down a dance drenched beat matched only by his brother's child like energy as his zooms around the stage. Refusing to relinquish their grasp of the crowd just yet though the somewhat makeshift MCR fire rapidly into the bass driven theatrics of 'House Of Wolves' before releasing the invigoratingly anthemic 'Teenagers' leaving all in a sweaty heap of contentment.
Playing to their largest ever UK audience MCR appeared at ease, although Way refused to miss the opportunity of starting his very own Mexican wave, even if it was as he claimed cliché, yet it was an amazed an awe quenched face that watched his request pan out. And although they may have been missing two key members MCR were still very much about having fun with Ray Toro's Tigger like bounce carrying across the stage and Way even encouraging his brother to talk to the crowd upon his return, an opportunity for the younger Way brother to ask if he looked like Darth Vader in his outfit. And incase you wondered Mikey, the answer was unfortunately yes.
Partially lit by a lone spotlight, Way brings the London leg of the tour to a spine tingling climax as his solitary rendition of the heart wrenching 'Cancer' causes a wave of silence to spread over the audience. In awe himself at the magnitude of the crowd it is a humbled Way that pays thanks to his fans before he joined by guitarist Ray Toro for an acoustically laden rare appearance of 'Desert Song' to insure that the hairs on the back of your neck stand proudly to attention. Yes, the Black Parade is dead but the New Jersey guys have not forgotten the country that welcomed them to their hearts in the early days and if nothing else the inclusion of such rare tracks for tonight was almost like their very own thank you. With the final passion fuelled riffs of 'Desert Song' still echoing around the arena there was only one way to truly say goodbye to the UK; a pyrotechnic extravaganza of 'Famous Last Words' intoxicating all once more.
If rumours are to be believed it could be two more years before MCR reach our shores again and whilst this may seem a long time to wait the New Jersey boys certainly gave a performance to remember them by during their long absence. Adrenalin packed and oozing with passionate enthusiasm, MCR left no one in doubt that they will be back to lead the charge once more. From Bullets through to The Black Parade this was a concert to unite one and all.