Review | Photos – My Chemical Romance Brings the Swarm to Nashville

My Chemical Romance Nashville

Emo is dead? I think not and 19,000 concert goers in Nashville, TN would agree. The long wait for many fans finally came to an end as My Chemical Romance brought their Reunion Tour to Bridgestone Arena on Aug 23rd. This was the third stop on the band’s US tour which opened in Oklahoma City.

Rumors started circulating in 2019 that something was up with the band whose last performance was at the Bamboozle Festival in Asbury Park in 2012. The rumors turned out to be true when the band announced on All Hallows Eve in 2019 they would be performing at the Shrine Expo Hall in Los Angeles on Dec 20, 2019. A month later they announced a 15-city US tour slated to start in September in Detroit, MI. However, just when fans hopes were raised, Covid-19 cast its dark shadow across the globe delaying the tour for nearly two years.

Nashville, which is dominated by country bars like Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar, and Miranda Lambert’s Casa Rosa, was besieged by masses of teens and young to middle-aged adults donned in black with every imaginable hair color possible. Fans were dressed in all forms of MCR attire with one young lady looking like Gerard Way in a black parade jacket. While concert goers waited for the arena doors to open, the line to the merchandise trailer was wrapped halfway around the arena.

Photo Credit: Scott Raymer

MCR is being supported by nineteen different acts at various points on the tour including bands such as Badflower, Taking Back Sunday, Waterparks, and Youth Code. Joining them for the Nashville stop were Toronto grunge band Dilly Dally and Baltimore hardcore punkers Turnstile. The arena was late filling up, so some missed energetic performances by both bands. After Turnstile left the stage the anticipation in the stands soared like it was Christmas Eve except instead of waiting for Santa Claus to deliver presents, MCR was about to deliver dreams for many in the audience.

Photo Credit: Scott Raymer

The barrier at the front of the pit was lined with fans, who had arrived early to get as close to the band as possible, holding signs reading “Ray Toro Fan Club” and “Foundations of the Slay”. Chants of “MCR, MCR, MCR” filled the arena. A noise akin to a swarm of bees started playing from the stage sound system. The level gradually increased over the net few minutes. Several items at the merch table as well as my press pass displayed the word “SWARM”. Could some future announcement be coming from the band? We will have to wait and see.

Photo Credit: Scott Raymer

Jarrod Alexander walked on stage to take his position behind his drum set and cheers erupted from the crowd. Fans who were hoping for something crazy from MCR lead singer Gerard Way were not disappointed. He entered the stage wearing a green and white cheerleader dress with white socks and sneakers. People in the crowd yelled “he’s in a skirt, of my f*cking God”. Guitarist Frank Iero took his usually position on the left side of the stage while guitarist Ray Toro took his spot on the right side.  Bassist Mikey Way positioned himself between Iero and Gerard. All the band members except Gerard were wearing MIKEY FUCKIN WAY shirts.

Photo Credit: Scott Raymer

The band performed songs spanning their career from their first album, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, to their latest single “The Foundations of Decay” which was released in May of this year. It’s been over 10 years since their last tour however there were no signs of rust from the band. It probably helped that they had just come off a 20-night European tour.

Gerard Way told the audience “I believe some of you have been waiting a very long time for this show” and he was right. Some fans had waited years to see the band perform once again, while others were seeing them for the first time. My wait was much shorter though since I only became aware of the band in 2019 which I described in a previous article entitled “How I Discovered My Chemical Romance 15 years After the Rest of the World.”   

Photo Credit: Scott Raymer

Some bands after a ten-year absence would tend to go overboard with a show to make it a spectacle. However, this tour is all about the music. There was no excessive haze, distracting lights, or pyrotechnics. Other than large LED panels that were displaying video of the performance for those seated further away, it was a very simplistic performance that MCR could very easily had performed in a smaller venue.

MCR spent the first third of the show getting the audience warmed up with songs like “Give ‘Em Hell, Kid“, “Summertime” and “Teenagers”. The band was now ready to ramp it up a notch. First however, Gerard Way announced that before the next song, “everybody is going to take a little step back…so that way people up front don’t get crushed”. This was met with cheers from the crowd. There was a mass of people taking three steps backwards in unison as he said the words “one, two, three, backup please”.

Photo Credit: Scott Raymer

Way referred to that next song as “the greatest summer jam of all time”. This was the one for which many were waiting. The band size increased by 19,000 members as everyone sang along to “I’m Not Okay”. This along with “Welcome to the Black Parade”, “Famous Last Words”, and “Helena” were the obvious fan favorites this night. In each case Way’s vocals were nearly drowned out by the fervent crowd joining in.

The band had plenty of songs to choose from their four major album releases, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, The Black Parade, and Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys.  Two surprising inclusions for the night were “The World is Ugly” and “Boy Division”, both from the 2013 compilation album Conventional Weapons. This was the first live performance of “The World is Ugly”. Notable songs missing for the Nashville performance included “Bulletproof Heart”, “The Ghost of You”, “Cancer”, “This is How I Disappear”, and “The Only Hope for Me is You”. While many bands keep the same setlist from night to night, MCR has been performing a unique set of songs for each show to keep the show fresh.

Photo Credit: Scott Raymer

After the last song, “Helena”, band members left the stage. It did not take long for chants of “MCR, MCR” to arise from the crowd. A few moments later they returned to the stage for their encore. While the band only performed two encore songs at their first two US tour stops in Oklahoma City and San Antonio, Nashville fans were treated to a three-song encore. The band dug back into their Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys album for “Vampire Money” and “The Kids From Yesterday” as well as “Hang ‘Em High” from Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. Most of the audience stayed right to the very end.

Photo Credit: Scott Raymer

While writing this review I went back and looked at a Facebook post from 2019 where I listed the top-10 concerts I wanted to photograph. MCR was on the list and next to it I had typed “Not going to happen”. So this was a big deal for me being able to photograph and review the Nashville show. It was certainly worth it for everyone else in attendance as well. I don’t know how many others will get to witness Gerard Way in a cheerleader dress, or if he will come up with something even crazier, but it left a lasting impression in my mind as well as others at the show. For a band that is now in their forties, they had the energy of a group in their twenties. Their performances of the emo holy four, “I’m Not OK”, “Helena”, “Welcome to the Black Parade”, and “Famous Last Words” made the 8-hour drive to Nashville worth it.

Photo Credit: Scott Raymer

Nashville was only the third stop on the Reunion Tour so there is still plenty of opportunities to catch My Chemical Romance at a future city. Tickets can be purchased here.

Reunion North American Tour Dates:

08262022 – PNC Arena – Raleigh, NC, US
08272022 UBS Arena – Elmont, NY, US
08292022 – Wells Fargo Center – Philadelphia, PA, US
08302022 – MVP Arena – Albany, NY, US
09012022 – Mohegan Sun Arena – Uncasville, CT, US
09022022 – Bell Centre – Montreal, QC, Canada
09042022 – Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, ON, Canada
09052022 – Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, ON, Canada
09072022 – TD Garden – Boston, MA, US
09082022 – TD Garden – Boston, MA, US
09102022 – Barclays Center – Brooklyn, NY, US
09112022 – Barclays Center – Brooklyn, NY, US
09132022 – Little Caesars Arena – Detroit, MI, US
09152022 – Xcel Energy Center – St. Paul, MN, US
09162022 – Riot Fest 2022 – Douglas Park Cultural & Community Center – Chicago, IL, US
09182022 – Ameris Bank Amphitheatre – Alpharetta, GA, US09202022 – Prudential Center – Newark, NJ, US
09212022 – Prudential Center – Newark, NJ, US
09232022 – Firefly Music Festival 2022 – The Woodlands, Dover International Speedway – Dover, DE, US
09242022 – FLA Live Arena – Sunrise, FL, US
09272022 – Toyota Center – Houston, TX, US
09282022 – American Airlines Center – Dallas, TX, US
09302022 – Ball Arena – Denver, CO, US
10022022 – Moda Center – Portland, OR, US
10032022 – Tacoma Dome – Tacoma, WA, US
10052022 – Oakland Arena – Oakland, CA, US
10062022- 10092022 – Monster Energy Aftershock 2022 – Discovery Park – Sacramento, CA, US
10072022 – T-Mobile Arena – Las Vegas, NV, US
10112022 – Kia Forum – Inglewood, CA, US
10122022 – Kia Forum – Inglewood, CA, US
10142022 – Kia Forum – Inglewood, CA, US
10152022 – Kia Forum – Inglewood, CA, US
10172022 – Kia Forum – Inglewood, CA, US
10222022- 10292022 – When We Were Young 2022 – Las Vegas Festival Grounds – Las Vegas, NV, US
11182022- 11202022 – Festival Corona Capital 2022 – Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez – Mexico City, Mexico


The Foundations of Decay
Boy Division
Our Lady of Sorrows
Give ‘Em Hell, Kid
House of Wolves
Thank You for the Venom
I’m Not Okay (I Promise)
Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)
The World Is Ugly (First performance since 2008;… more )
This Is the Best Day Ever
Welcome to the Black Parade
Famous Last Words


Vampire Money
Hang ‘Em High
The Kids From Yesterday

Post by Scott Raymer (Website | Instagram | Facebook)

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