The Black Parade Lives On


Written by Steven Paugh –

My Chemical Romance made it’s stop along their long awaited reunion tour at Heritage Bank Center Wednesday evening.

After years of rumors and speculation of My Chemical Romance having a reunion tour, audiences were finally treated to a show in December of 2019 on the cusp of the worldwide Covid-19 epidemic. The show ignited an outcry of the world to have their chance to see a band which had grown so important to many. With two years of waiting, Cincinnati finally saw the group at Heritage Bank Center with a continuous roar of applause and cheering.

The opening acts chosen for this show were Canadian alternative band Dilly Dally and American hardcore punk band Turnstile. Anyone who was expecting emo to have a full fledged return at this concert was thankfully mistaken as both bands tap into certain other aspects of the headlining act. Dilly Dally seems to have its atmospheric, almost grunge flavored shoe-gaze sound whereas Turnstile uses its fast pace and audience encouragement to get the blood pumping. As someone who had not seen or heard of the opening acts till the show, I will say that I’ll be looking more into them in my free time and highly encourage you to do the same. Both bands really brought their a-game and deserve more recognition.

In terms of the main act, what is there to say other than “the hype lives up to its name”? With me being someone who has been looking forward to seeing My Chemical Romance since I was twelve (now twenty-four), you could say my opinion could be biased. However, the audience at the show literally made the band quieter by comparison, and deafened ears don’t lie. The bands most well known song Welcome to the Black Parade was the eleventh song in their set list, and during the twelfth song, The World is Ugly, the decibels of the entire building seemed to have lessened by more than half compared to the finale of Welcome to the Black Parade.

I give full credit to the tightness of the band as a whole, including the crew and sound, for a very efficient and great sounding performance. Each song seemingly blended into the other with the speed and precision of getting prepared. Though they haven’t performed these songs on a nightly basis for a long time, you would never know based off their performance they gave. The only instance of a rough transition was due to the immediate action of the band halting the show in its tracks to help an audience member in need of medical attention, who was seen to promptly and was escorted away from the pit.

A specific shoutout I’d like to give is to their current drummer Jarrod Alexander. The stamina to play the songs they chose flawlessly for the whole show is no small feat, and Jarrod made it seem so easy. Going from Helena straight to Vampire Money alone had to have burned. That’s not to say the rest of the band didn’t put in their time though. Singer Gerard Way has very obviously put in time to build his voice back up and surpassing the levels his younger self used to have, having a great scream and edge to the harsher songs while being able to sing the gorgeous melodies of songs like Ghost of You with beautiful levels of emotion. Mikey Way, Frank Iero, and Ray Toros strumming never slacked the whole night. All seem to have missed these songs with smiles across all their faces the entire show, and with as seamless as their playing was, they deserve them.

In My Chemical Romance’s absence, it has grown to a status that could only be labeled as mythical. Since forming in 2001 and growing to super stardom in less than ten years, they have somehow remained as a safe space for many, even in a hiatus of six years. The demographic of the audience was so eclectic of all races, ages, and every other identifier, that it didn’t feel like a fandom going to see their favorite band. Instead it felt like a religious experience of the upmost inclusiveness. In a way, their music, with its dark lyrics of moments in life where hearts and minds struggle to survive, has acted like their gospel. Generations have passed it down and spread the word to those who need it most, creating a legacy of understanding for those in dire need. The Black Parade may be dead, but it’s pallbearers are alive and well giving a reunion tour that may go on to become more than what we all expect.