Review and photos – My Chemical Romance in Vancouver, April 2 2011
– review by Jacqueline Ronson/photos by Ashley Tanasiychuk
Attending last night’s My Chemical Romance show was just like going to that party in high school that everyone has been looking forward to all year. Except the parents of the guy who threw the party are there, too. And even though they’re pretty cool, for parents, you know they’re intentionally patrolling to keep things at a level where no one will spill punch on the rug.
The show was held at The Centre in Vancouver for Performing arts, and marked the first time the band has played an entirely seated venue. Hundreds of teens with dark makeup and ripped leggings looked out of place next to The Centre’s clean architecture and its staff in crisp matching uniforms.
A group of teenage girls clambered over rows of seats in an attempt to get closer to the stage, only to be asked by yet another patron to get out of their spot. After the show started, groups of three or four fans would periodically sneak down to the stage only to politely slink back to their seats when ushered to do so by security.
“We’re not gonna complain about it, cause we’re gonna move no matter what,” lead singer Gerard Way yelled over the crowd, encouraging them to dance from their seats.
The crowd tried. They really did. They responded appropriately to Way’s cues to cheer, to sing along, to wave arms back and forth. But often, the energy was not sustained.
My Chemical Romance puts on the kind of show that requires the audience to give back more intensity than the industrial speaker system throws their way, and that’s just a lot harder to do when you’re not mashed up against the sweaty bodies of a hundred other fans.
The first high point of the evening was when the band sang “Mama.” Not only is this one of their most awesome songs, but the stripped-down performance on the verses allowed the crowd to actually hear itself singing along. For the first time, there seemed to be an energy connecting the audience with each other instead of just with the band.
The kids didn’t seem to mind much about the seats. They were just happy to be at a show where they knew the words to every song. They just wanted to hear their favourite band remind them one more time that they’re not the only one who sometimes feels “not okay.”
But the band has grown up a bit since the teen angst of Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge and the heartbreak songs of The Black Parade. The emerging trend on their latest release, Danger Days: The True Lives of the Dangerous Killjoys can only be described as electro-rock party-pop, as best exemplified by “Planetary (Go!)”.
The band still knows how to throw a pretty good party. The new message is, “Have fun, kids, but stay safe. And be nice to each other.” Thankfully they still have enough cred with the youngsters to not come off as too patronizing.
It’s the kind of party that any conscientious mom would be happy to send her kids to. The lyrics are subversive enough to keep the youth interested, but in the end you have a bunch of dads on stage showing the kids some good clean fun.
Read our interview with My Chemical Romance