My Chemical Romance
Leeds Festival is often a surreal but wholly colourful place as darkness descends on site. As brightly coloured fairground rides cut through the blackness of night and dance in the night sky, calling out to festival goers to try out their nerves and stomachs on rides whose indignation of the rules of gravity could baffle the brightest minds in the world of physics, it is a visual assault on the senses. But as rides and their riders are flung into the night with terrifying speeds, by turning a few degrees left, another assault on the senses begins.
Arriving on stage to red flares and smoke snaking up into a chilly West Yorkshire night, My Chemical Romance launch themselves immediately into the bratty call of 'Na Na Na'. As back screens pop with neon colour, lights flash with near un-measured intensity and giant balloons are cast into the buoyant throng, the crowd becomes charged; drinks (and probably some other liquids) are thrown skyward, arcing high into the air and the ground rumbles to the sound of 60,000 feet bouncing in unison. It soon becomes apparent just why this band were anointed as Saturday headliners.
'I'm Not Okay (I Promise)', aka 'Anthem for Disillusioned Youth, since 2004' again throws the crowd into a mele of jagged limbs and sing-along screams as Gerard Way strides across the stage, whilst 'Planetary Go' ups the ante even more with lasers slicing through the air whilst a sea of heads beneath them bobble out of sync with the music . As the night draws to a close, 'Helena' sees hands lifted over heads and fingers pointed skyward as if to punctuate every sentence, every pause and often every word Way spouts, but it is closer 'Welcome To The Black Parade' which really sends the crowd into a frenzy. Bottles and cups are pelted into the air, pits open up in several areas and strangers grab each other in a sense of solidarity. As fireworks close the spectacular on the show, the jubilation in the air is palpable.
My Chemical Romance may be a lot of things, but great showmen is undoubtedly at the top of the list.