The fans were more than just OK at the sold-out My Chemical Romance show at Kia Forum in Inglewood on Wednesday night.
During the band’s second of five evenings at the venue, the audience sang along so loudly, so passionately, and there were several spotted cry-singing as they belted out the lyrics to songs they’ve been waiting so long to experience live.
“I’ve waited two (expletive) years for this,” a fan screamed as the band launched into its third song, “I’m Not Okay (I Promise).”
The New Jersey-based emo rock group disbanded in 2013, but reunited for the first time in seven years back in 2019 and played a sold-out warm-up show at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles ahead of announcing a comeback tour in 2020. The global pandemic derailed those plans. However, fans, like the one screaming his heart out on Wednesday night, never gave up hope and held on to his seats through a few postponements, to throw on his My Chem T-shirt from the early ’00s and finally cut loose.
Since the band has several shows at the venue this month, it’s changing up the set list each evening. While the first night at the venue on Tuesday had songs like “Our Lady of Sorrows,” “This Is the Best Day Ever” and “Vampire Money,” night two got “Bury Me in Black,” “Give ‘Em Hell, Kid” “The Ghost of You,” and “I Never Told You What I Do for a Living,” the last of which was dedicated to a fan dancing high up in the nosebleeds wearing a glowing skeleton outfit that caught vocalist Gerard Way’s eye mid set.
Of course, the big hits will remain on the list including “Helena,” “Welcome to the Black Parade,” “Teenagers” and the band has opened with its brand new song, “The Foundations of Decay,” at every tour stop.
Way is also swapping out his stage outfits each night. On this reunion tour, he’s been a ghost, a kitty cat and a skeleton. During the first evening at Kia Forum he donned a cheerleader outfit and on Wednesday night he paid homage to Princess Diana by wearing her iconic black sheep sweater.
“Sweaty good times,” the 45-year-old frontman said as he slicked back his sweat-drenched hair and smiled. After rain fell throughout the day, it was so humid in Southern California that night, but Way kept that sweater on for nine songs, letting the crowd know, “… this sweater is really hot, but I like to commit to a look.” He wasn’t too committed as he slid it off and rocked a white collared undershirt just in time for “Thank You for the Venom.” Though his speaking voice is softer and higher pitched, Way can transition from a pretty vocal run into a deep belly growl into a lengthy scream. He also has a tremendous stage presence. Whatever he said, people did. He told them to sing and they sang. He told them to put their hands up and they did. He asked them to scream and heck yeah they did that too.
The band was ferocious in its first show back at The Shrine, but Wednesday night it was in top performance shape. It sounded like a well-oiled machine, but had enough wiggle room for moments of spontaneity that allowed the band to reconnect with its die-hard followers. The fans that were smashed up against the barrier in front of the stage were spotted looking like they were at a My Chem show circa 2005, when smudged red eye shadow and thick black eyeliner, leather (or most likely pleather) accessories with silver chains and studs and all-black clothing from Hot Topic was all the rage.
Fans cheered as they appeared on the large screens hanging above the band and sang-screamed into the cameras during “Famous Last Words.” There was a massive amount of energy in the room, a palpable excitement that lasted the entire set and into the encore, which found Way lying on the stage, breathing heavily after the fiery “Helena.” As the audience cheered, Way seemingly took in the moment from his horizontal state, before rising slowly and delivering the much calmer, sweeter-sounding, “Desert Song” to close out the evening.
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Each tour date has included different opening acts, selected by the members of My Chemical Romance. Tuesday night featured Taking Back Sunday while Wednesday’s show included Dilly Dally, Shannon and the Clams and Los Angeles-based rock band The Regrettes. The band continues its stay with Meg Myers and Nothing Oct. 14; Thursday and The Homeless Gospel Choir Oct. 15.; and Midtown and Waterparks on Oct. 17. There are still some tickets available to each of the remaining show dates in Inglewood.
The Regrettes are pure energy and fun. They kept the pit dancing to songs like “California Friends,” “La Di Da” and “Poor Boy.” Vocalist Lydia Night had her fan girl moment, thanking My Chemical Romance for having them on the bill. “I’m not OK,” she said with a laugh, noting that they were her favorite band in high school and that they “truly changed my life.”
Oakland-based indie act Shannon and the Clams, which has a doo-wop, R&B and garage rock sound, impressed with songs like “Year of the Spider,” “Do I Wanna Stay” and “Mary, Don’t Go.” Way proudly announced that he chose Canadian grunge rock band Dilly Dally, who opened the show with songs like “Sober Motel” and “Marijuana.”
My Chemical Romance
With: The Regrettes, Shannon and the Clams and Dilly Dally
When: Oct. 12
Where: Kia Forum, Inglewood
Also: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 14, 15 and 17 at Kia Forum, 3900 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood. Tickets start at $79.50 at Ticketmaster.com.