My Chemical Romance, Jimmy Eat World

Rod Laver Arena
17 March 2023

Jimmy Eat World open for My Chemical Romance tonight and it’s somewhat of a reunion/comeback tour for both bands having shared the stage together for many years. My Chemical Romance have previously opened for Jimmy Eat World in their early days and this tour will mark the first time both bands have toured Australia together in eighteen years.

Packing in a dozen of their biggest hits, Jimmy Eat World remind us of their legendary alt-rock status and after being a band for over thirty years, prove they aren’t slowing down anytime soon. Infectious riffs and pop-punk sensibility on hits The Middle, Work and Bleed America, transport us back to the simpler times of the early ‘2000s when most of the crowd here tonight would’ve been teenagers.

“We grew up on stage, playing music and around people who were like-minded and supportive – people like My Chemical Romance. We helped each other out. When we started playing in this band it wasn’t cool to be in a band. There wasn’t Disney shows where everyone in high school was in a band. It was tough to do anything and there was no real out-let for the kind of music we wanted to play. It was all about the people around us like our scene, our friends, you guys – the people who support us,” says frontman Jim Adkins.

They share a new song about finding yourself in rock ‘n’ roll called Something Loud. The explosive track has an anthemic chorus to set the mosh pit alight.

Grown emo kids are out in full force with their skinny leg jeans, black eyeliner, studded belts and some hardcore fans even painting their face with blood or looking like they’re straight out of The Black Parade. A message appears on the screen advising us to look after each other and if someone falls, help them up. It’s an important reminder as the crowd on the floor packs in moments before My Chemical Romance takes to the stage.

Kicking off with a newest song The Foundations Of Decay, Frontman Gerard Way begins to parade around the stage in a business suit attire complete with a knee-length skirt, heels and black patent-leather gloves. The red curtain falls from behind the stage to reveal a crumbling dystopian setting with a city in ruins.

It’s been over a decade since My Chemical Romance have visited Australia and after having this show postponed multiple times due to the pandemic, fans are beyond excited to finally catch them tonight. Some fans can even be seen with tears streaming down their faces as they dive right into some of their timeless hits from generations past including, I’m Not Okay (I Promise), Welcome To The Black Parade and Famous Last Words.

Way asks to see our lights in the air for the emotional track Ghost Of You but noting it’s a “Choose your own adventure” experience. Some choose to sway their arms in the air whilst others mosh for the angst-fuelled chorus or go crazy as a circle-pit opens up in the middle of the mosh pit seeing the crowd running, jumping around and bumping into each other.

Eerie sound effects of dark, haunting static noises and warped sounds play between songs in amongst some creepy laughing as Way addressed the audience. He dedicates their hit Teenagers to his daughter who he says is the coolest person in the world. The nostalgia comes flooding back as we take a trip down memory lane. There’s an overwhelming sense of community in the arena amongst fans who share a mutual love of the band since the days of MySpace.

“Who do you wanna be when you’re older?” Way asks. “I wanna be a guitar,” he answers before embodying the instrument by wrapping the microphone chord around his body and letting out growling screams. Ray Toro busts out some huge guitar-hero moves, and Frank Iero conjures up infectious bass lines to keep the set moving through at a hard-hitting pace.

The audience sings along at the top of their voices for fan-favourite Mama before wishing us so long and goodnight with a final send-off with Helena. After all this time, My Chemical Romance’s fire still burns bright and continue to serve as a voice for a generation of outcasts in their devoted black parade, demonstrating that they’re more than just a phase because emo never dies.

Words By Michael Prebeg

Behind the lens Amanda Lee Starkey


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