Live Reviews Music

My Chemical Romance @ Sophia Gardens, Cardiff – Live Review (28/05/22)

Written by Rubie Barker

There were clearly two separate crowds heading into Cardiff city centre on Saturday 28th May. While thousands were flocking towards the principality to see a certain ginger lad from Suffolk perform, another crowd were headed to the sold-out Sophia Gardens to welcome the return of My Chemical Romance, not just to Cardiff, but to the music scene. After announcing they were breaking up in 2013, the band have made a notable comeback, starting off their reunion tour with an iconic two nights at the Eden Project in Cornwall. 

Once finally inside the grounds, after following the queue through Bute Park, the food stalls, merch stands and bars gave the impression of a mini-festival. With three support acts before they were to take to the stage, the sun beating down and queues for the toilet, it certainly was a unique concert. Lost Alone, Starcrawler and special guest, Funeral for a Friend entertained the eagerly awaiting crowd, although it was clear that some were far more familiar with this music than others. This was the only show Bridgend band, Funeral for a Friend, were joining MCR for. I have to admit, that while the stadium did seem to become more energetic with each performance, this seemed far more to do with the time we were waiting than the supporting acts themselves, who fit the tone but seemed to lack the strength that was perhaps needed to lead up to a concert such as this. 

As dusk began to emerge, Gerard Way led the band to the stage, opening with their brand new single ‘The Foundations of Decay’. There was a surprising strength to this track, that for me fell flat when it was first released, but was brought to life in front of a crowd and provided hope for other new music that might be coming our way. 

At the start of the concert, we were all asked to take a step back to stop people at the front from being crushed, a recurring problem at concerts, especially ones with the energy that My Chemical Romance brought to Cardiff. “Take a little shuffle back”, Way asked us, “Just feel your body”. 

From here they played a set list filled with songs that brought the crowd alive for a nostalgia-filled concert. From ‘This is how I disappear’ to ‘Sleep’ they stayed strong, only losing some power towards the end, rather understandably. Hardly one song went past without mosh pits breaking out. ‘You know what they do to guys like us in prison’ was followed by ‘Na na na (na na na na na na na na na), two of my favourites, with the whole crowd singing along in unison, to the point at which I forgot I was at a concert as Way became drowned out by the enthusiasm of those singing back to him. It was not just Gerard Way though who proved himself worthy of the crowds in attendance, the whole band proved their reputation, with Bassist Mikey Way, and guitarists Ray Toro and Frank Iero, who’ve all been members since at least 2002, showing off their skills. 

“I am not afraid to keep on living, I am not afraid to walk this world alone” rang out across the stadium as they performed ‘Famous Last Words’, poignant lyrics on a tour that was delayed 2 years. ‘Save yourself, I’ll hold them back’ was played live for the first time since 2011, when they last embarked on a world tour, with Way admitting that he “kinda talked my way through some of it” at soundcheck earlier that day. Way said that they have been trying to make each concert slightly different for everybody, so no concert is quite the same as the one before. “Are you ready? Are you alright?” he sung to a cheering crowd. This was followed by a perhaps underwhelming performance of ‘DESTROYA’, which lacked some of the strength that had been shown elsewhere. But both ‘Teenagers’ and ‘Helena’ showed how worthy they were of the fanbase who had turned up to support them. 

My Chemical Romance/ Rubie Barker

Mikey Way, bassist, sported a Welsh football shirt as he walked around the stage. Between songs, Gerard Way addressed the outfit choice, shouting out “Oh sh*t, look at that. Sports!” to huge cheers from the crowds, despite accidentally saying it’s great to be in England. But by far the most anticipated moment of the whole concert was ‘Welcome to the Black parade’. From the moment the unmistakable first note rang out across the stadium, the cheers started. Although it was towards the end of their setlist, it still brought the most energy from the crowd as darkness had fallen on Cardiff.

After announcing ‘Sleep’ would be their “last song”, they left the stage, coming back to only play one song. ‘I’m not okay (I promise)’ though, was the right choice for me, with the crowd almost completely drowning out Gerard Way, as he encouraged us all to move together, as Ray Toro and Frank Iero showed off their guitar skills.

There were some notable songs missing from what did seem like (and according to setlist.fm, was), a shorter set than other dates on their tour. ‘The kids from Yesterday’ and ‘Give ‘em Hell, Kid’ perhaps were given up to allow time for more support acts, a choice that disappointed some, including myself.

But the pure volume of fans in attendance and the excited atmosphere that spilt out of the stadium once they had left the stage, and with new music being released and the possibility of more to come, My Chemical Romance proved that they are back in full force. 

css.php