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LIVE: My Chemical Romance – Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, 28/05/2022

My Chemical Romance’s penultimate stop on the UK leg of their UK/EU comeback tour saw them sell out Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens Cricket Ground, marking a return to the city after an 11 years absence. Whilst it is perhaps not the first venue that would come to mind when thinking of a place for such a legendary band to play in the Welsh city it was the only one that could contain the swarm of fans who had flocked here to witness such a monumental show, especially with Ed Sheeran having made his home in the Principality Stadium for the past few nights, making for an especially amusing clash of characters in the city centre come Saturday afternoon.

Throughout the duration of this UK tour, MCR have made an effort to vary the setlist from night to night, however one constant remained: They opened with their new single ‘Foundations of Decay‘ and despite the fact that the song was only released two weeks ago the crowd returned every word without a fault, much to the pleasure of the band.

Following this dramatic opener began what can only be described as a nostalgia trip, classics such as ‘Thank You For The Venom’ and ‘Bulletproof Heart’ saw the New Jersey rockers send the crowd into a frenzy. The further the night progressed the more it bore witness to an excellent mix between classic hits – with the ever-anthemic ‘Famous Last Words’ and ‘Teenagers’ proving to be very popular choices amongst the crowd – as well as a delve into the band’s deeper back catalogue, with ‘Save Yourself, I’ll Hold Them Back’ making an appearance for the first time since 2011, and ‘You Know What They Do Like Guys To Us In Prison’ both being met with thunderous cheering and almost feral screams, each lyric ringing out into the crisp Welsh summer air.

The band themselves were in top form too with lead singer Gerard Way making plenty of use of each interval to talk and interact with the crowd, much to the amusement of his fellow bandmates. Bassist Mikey Way also became very popular with the crowd, donning a customised Welsh football shirt, and the crowd bursting into into praise and adoration for the American’s sporting of the national shirt. In terms of performance, Way’s vocals were beautifully raspy and magnificent, unafraid to pour his all into each song, with this energy matched by guitarist Ray Toro’s theatrical delivery of each riff, even to the point of climbing on top of his amps during his solo in ‘Vampire Money’.

Towards the end, an emotional performance of ‘Welcome To The Black Parade’ – introduced only by its iconic ‘G’ note – meant that there wasn’t a dry eye in the grounds by the time the pseudo-final song ‘Sleep‘ began, with the crowd left lusting for more as the band exited the stage for a brief interval. They promptly returned to the stage with Gerard announcing rather triumphantly “We’ve got time for one more!”  as the opening riff to ‘I’m Not Okay’ began. This energetic finale saw one last blitz of nostalgia-filled emo rock and meant that the crowd’s feet barely touched the floor as fifteen thousand voices screamed the words to a song that had defined the teenage years of so many, myself included.

Overall, the return of New Jersey’s finest to the Welsh capital was a delightful celebration of some of the greatest rock music to emanate from the emo scene of the mid 2000s and early 2010s, and it is certainly a show that will be talked about for some time to come. 

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.