Rock ‘n’ Roll Photog: My Chemical Romance

Yeah, you read that right. I’ll just say this is completely Jennifer’s thing and leave it at that.

The first time I saw My Chemical Romance was at Madison Square Garden, for the last show of their last tour. It was the first time I had ever been on the floor for a stadium show, and I remember at one point I turned to my sister and said Oh my god, we are really here and this is really happening.

On Friday night I had that same brief stunned moment of holy crap, this is not a dream about halfway through the evening, when Dr. Death Defying (aka Steve Righ?, or Steven Montano, of Mindless Self Indulgence) walked out onto the stage at Roseland and started doing the intro to Na Na Na. I was three rows back from the barrier, jammed up in the epicenter of the soon to be screaming, pogoing children, and I could feel the energy building in the crowd as they joined in, a little breathless but growing stronger with each word. Then Gerard Way walked out into the lights and the whole place went berserk.

It was an amazing show, y’all. They did a fairly even mix of their older work and songs from Danger Days, which is the new record, though my heart particularly lifted when they kicked into I’m Not Okay because I will love that song always and forever. Pulling out other highlights is kind of impossible, because it was like we all came home, and they were there waiting for us so we could sing and dance together, clapping and stomping and howling over the dueling guitars. Even I, decrepit as I am, joined in the pogoing for Planetary (GO!) and Desolation Row. Afterwards I walked out sweaty and sore and excited to do it all over again in April and May when they come back on a proper tour.

Anyway, taking pictures during all of this was . . . a challenge. A lot of them are, as I like to say, “atmospheric”, by which I mean, you’ll get more of an idea of the lights and smoke and color than their actual faces. But I did get a few good ones. The following are a selection of my favorite images:

Gerard Way, during “Cancer”, and probably my favorite shot of the evening:


Gerard Way again, during the encore; “It’s fake fur!” he informed us, after putting it on. Also, it is really difficult to take a performance picture of Gerard Way in which he is not striking a campy pose.


My other favorite from the evening is Mikey Way and his sparkly bass:


I was on the other side of the stage from Frank Iero, and lost amid a sea of arms, so I didn’t get very many good pictures. I honestly couldn’t see him half the time. But this one I like:


And finally Ray Toro, who wins the “this picture is totally blown out, but I kind of love it anyway” prize this week:


And in conclusion, one of the Way brothers that I just like for the appropriately post-apocalyptic atmosphere:


Other notes: The first opening band was the radio station “house band,” and they were so boring and awful I would have preferred to listen to twenty minutes of Creed. Scott Stapp may be a bombastic disaster but at least he isn’t dull. The second band was The Gaslight Anthem, who have recently released their third record, and are much better now that they’ve stopped shoehorning Springsteen references into all of their lyrics.

— Jennifer

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