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My Chemical Romance was Worth the Wait

My Chemical Romance Reunion Tour, Saint Paul, Minnesota, 2022
My Chemical Romance. Photography by Dylan Novacek.

My Chemical Romance returned to the Twin Cities for the first time in over a decade. Following their 2013 break up, fans have waited anxiously for their return. After announcing their reunion in 2019, and then delaying their 2020 tour due to COVID, My Chemical Romance was truly worth the wait.

MCR 2022
Gerard Way. Photography by Dylan Novacek.

Despite performing in a sold out arena, the show felt like a club experience. There was no excess or pyro. Instead, the stage setup was a simple backdrop of a red curtain, and later a destroyed city. The focus was on the band and their era defining sound. Lead singer Gerard Way performed as if they never left.

My Chemical Romance Saint Paul
Mikey Way. Photography by Dylan Novacek.

Opening the night with their latest single “The Foundations of Decay,” a progressive rock song that reminds me a lot of Tool, the energy built up as fans in the pit began to mosh and crowd surf. The energy would continue to rise as they led into “I’m Not Okay (I Promise).” 

A highlight of the night was Gerard’s care for the audience. Before the show, a disclaimer was on the screen asking fans to look out for each other and pick each other up if someone falls in the pit. Several times throughout the night, Gerard asked people to make more room on the floor. He genuinely cares for the safety of fans and worked hard to make sure everyone was taken care of.

Gerard Way. Photography by Dylan Novacek.
Gerard Way. Photography by Dylan Novacek.

Another highlight came when Gerard acknowledged us photographers doing our shoot in the photo pit.

“Photographers for three songs means I wear sunglasses for three songs,” he joked while starring right at us. A moment I will never forget.

My Chemical Romance, Saint Paul
Photography by Dylan Novacek.

With a discography spanning four albums and many EPs, it is easy to pick apart the setlist at each show. Changing the lineup every night, each performance is a unique experience. My Chemical Romance has so many hits, it’s hard to pick what to play. That said, I would’ve rather heard less deep cuts off their EPs, and more of my favorite tracks like “Planetary (GO!)”, “Thank You For the Venom,” or “The Ghost of You.” The show left fans wanting more and would’ve benefitted from being a few songs longer.

My Chemical Romance, Saint Paul
My Chemical Romance. Photography by Dylan Novacek.

Despite that minor complaint, the setlist managed to please fans of every background, and the core hits were not forgotten. Fan favorites like “Famous Last Words,” “Na Na Na,” and “Give Em’ Hell Kid” were electrifying. And their greatest hits like “Helena,” “Teenagers,” and of course “The Black Parade” were awe inspiring.

MCR Reunion Tour, Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Frank Iero. Photography by Dylan Novacek.

Gerard Way and company are bringing everything they have to each performance. While many reunion tours rely on nostalgia, this show goes beyond that. My Chemical Romance showed that they are back for the long haul.

Supporting the tour were The Homeless Gospel Choir and New Jersey post-hardcore group Thursday.

Thursday, My Chemical Romance Tour, Xcel Energy Center
Thursday. Photography by Dylan Novacek.

Celebrating a reunion of their own, Thursday recently reformed for a second time in 2020. With their first Twin Cities performance since 2017, fans were eager to welcome them back.

Thursday, My Chemical Romance Tour, Xcel Energy Center
Thursday. Photography by Dylan Novacek.

Being from My Chemical Romance’s home state, and coming up with them in the Warped Tour Era, Thursday was a natural fit for this tour. They brought the energy up and perfectly set the tone for the night.

Homeless Gospel Choir. Photography by Dylan Novacek.
Homeless Gospel Choir. Photography by Dylan Novacek.

Pittsburg based group The Homeless Gospel Choir had a decent showing as well. This being my first exposure to the group, I felt they left a strong first impression. They had solid musicianship and an energy that would fit perfectly in the First Avenue main room.

I think every fan remembers where they were the day they purchased tickets to the My Chemical Romance reunion tour. I bought mine in February of 2020 when I should’ve been paying attention in a meeting at work. Then the pandemic hit. After years of waiting, I saw my final rescheduled show from before the pandemic.

MCR Reunion Tour 2022
Gerard Way. Photography by Dylan Novacek.

With seeing My Chemical Romance, I can now officially say I’ve seen every band I love. From Panic! At The Disco, Fall Out Boy, Blink-182, Green Day and more…It’s like my bingo card is complete. My Chemical Romance is back, and they were completely worth the wait!

Click here to view the setlist.

Written by Dylan Novacek

Photographer, graphic designer, and multimedia storyteller from St. Paul. Most likely listening to CHVRCHES, Of Monsters and Men or Fall Out Boy. Once featured in the New York Times for using the bathroom during Avengers: Endgame.

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