After that last show I went to in 2005, I hit an MCR dry-spell. Through the beginning of 2006, they were recording The Black Parade, which meant there were no shows for a while.
A glimpse into MCR history: 2006 & the "WTF is The Black Parade?!" craze
Everything was relatively quiet in the MCR world until circa June 2006 when Hot Topic started distributing the now legendarily mysterious "We are the black parade" shirts that none of us understood at the time but still faithfully bought.
Also in June, MCR announced two festival shows in Allentown, Pennsylvania on September 2 and 3 with Taking Back Sunday, Hot Like [A] Robot, Say Anything & The Honorary Title that I thought I was going to be able to attend at the time.
In July, mysterious photos surfaced with strange titles that included "TBP" and "character" in them of Gerard with bright white hair. Oh, and Mikey's glasses vanished forever...
In August, things really started to heat up. Literally for drummer Bob Bryar, at least. I remember being on vacation to see a stop of Warped Tour in North Carolina and being in my hotel when MTV News came on and announced that rumors were circulating about My Chemical Romance's being in a car accident. Fans were panicking, not knowing what could have happened.
Apparently, something happened to Bob and Gerard had broken his leg? No one knew until later when we discovered that Gerard had torn all the ligaments in his foot and that Bob had been severely burned on the set of one of two music videos the band had filmed at the beginning of the month ("Famous Last Words").
We found that The Black Parade was actually the title of MCR's upcoming album and that it would be coming out in October via a press-conference video that the band posted, which included footage from a show they had played in the U.K. earlier that month.
At that point, everyone in the MCR world was agape at this new, "epic" feel that had been so shrouded in mystery for months. What was going on? What of these working titles we were hearing like "The Five of Us are Dying," "The Rise and Fall of My Chemical Romance," and "Boy Division"? And all of these characters... The Patient? Mother War? ...Pepe?
It was to our lucky advantage that some lovely British MCR fans who were at that "gig," as they say, on August 22 at Hammersmith Palais bootlegged the new songs. From that show, the fanbs got a taste of "The End" (which was assumed to be "Welcome to the Black Parade" at the time), "Dead," "I Don't Love You," "Cancer," and "House of Wolves."
On August 31, MCR premiered "Welcome to the Black Parade" in a live performance atop the GE building in Rockefeller Center during the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards pre-show. The performance featured a boy's choir in skeleton face make-up and the band dressed in their new, military-style costumes (We later found that these were designed by Tim Burton's trusted costumer Coleen Atwood and that the fabric was actual historical military fabric). My Chem played an after-show at New York's Knitting Factory that night, but later drummer Bob Bryar was hospitalized because of a blood infection from the burn he had sustained on the set of the "Famous Last Words" video shoot had spread dangerously.
MCR canceled their appearance at Allentown shows while Bryar recovered and fans held their collective breath.
It was the day after those shows that I received a phone call from Scott, the then casting-director at Fuse, telling me that I had been selected to be an audience member for "7th Avenue Drop," a live performance show upon which My Chemical Romance were to premiere their new songs to a small audience of fans.
The show was either the next day or the day after that (I can't remember), and no one could take me to New York in time.
That was the last opportunity I had to see the band in 2006.
So, I watched the performance on TV later that month (and cried, of course), then watched them on various other programs such as "Saturday Night Live" and an MTV2 concert special.
Eventually, October 24 rolled around, The Black Parade was in my hands and I had it to keep me occupied until Spring 2007, when I next saw MCR live and met 4/5ths of the band.
The Review (For those of you longing to skip ahead)
April 23, 2007
At 1:30 p.m., My friend Emily and I fled the Hellish realm that was our math classroom to hop into my car and be on our way back to my house where we hopped into yet another car and started our journey south.
When we arrived in Georgia, it was sometime between midnight and 1 a.m.. We checked into our hotel, which was pretty much attached to the arena, and settled in for the night. I didn't sleep at all (I never can before shows) and had my alarm set for 5:30. When it went off, I sprung out of bed and was ready in a shocking, probably record-breaking amount of time. Sadly, my alarm had no effect on my mother or Emily. I, thus, reset it in hopes that it would wake them. I think they slept until about 6:30 *sighs*. So, we got to the venue sometime after 7 a.m.
April 24, 2007
So began our wait. The line was shockingly long already when we arrived: my friend and I were the 23rd and 24th people there.
At 11, a member of the venue staff came out and started passing out wristbands, which were numbered according to our line position. She told us that we were to leave venue property until noon and we would be guaranteed our original order and to be let in first.
I think at that moment, my nerves exploded. I was so afraid people would take our spots. We returned to the venue mere moments before noon to see barriers and brightly colored tape boxing off an area in front of the side doors. As it turned out, only the first 70 people with numbered wristbands were allowed in this "box" and would be lined up in order and let in first. That was cool until, closer to door-opening time, people started cutting and falsely numbering their bands. Those assholes got owned in the end, though *evil smirk*.
The line-wait was pretty uneventful, save for the Starbucks from the Kroger across the road that I drank. I called Lauren, the Atlanta Field Marketing Rep from WBR who was to give those who won them their meet-and-greet passes, at about 5:30 and was told that she had just arrived to the venue. So, I told the other MCRmy soldiers in line, and we all found her. We got to pass out a ton of WBR promo, which was super fun. I was passing out Melee stickers (AKA: "The pretty stickers"), had no idea who they were, but I sure pretended to. After all of the fun in promo land, the MCRmy kids who were getting passes all kinda lingered by the box office; seeing as, Lauren had gone there to retrieve our passes.
At that point we were super nervous; because, we had been told that she may not be able to get us our meet-and-greets until the doors opened and we'd have to get them before getting our spots in the crowd. That would have left us with a tough choice: Barricade or meet-and-greets. Fortunately, after we had gone back to the line and were put in order, Lauren came out and gave us all our passes. Aaahhh, I could have died, I was so relieved. I gave Lauren a huge hug and, moments later, the doors opened.
CHAOS, SPEED-WALKING, NEARLY FALLING DOWN STAIRS --> Barricade on Frank side. YESSSS!!!
Muse played first, and, I have to say, I was extremely impressed. The singer's voice is virtually flawless live and, honestly, I almost think they sound better live than recorded. Pretty Epic. Their lightshow was INSANE. I'm surprised my eyes didn't jump out of my face, honestly.
THE BLACK PARADE!!! They came out in full, Black Parade apparel, Gerard being wheeled in on a hospital bed. As he began to sing, he turned his insanely-pale face to the audience, then sprung from his stretcher and ripped off his hospital gown at the first heavier part of the song.
That is where, in my opinion, the show began.
As their Italian alter-egos, The Black Parade, My Chemical Romance performed The Black Parade in it's entirety and in order. It was soooo fucking amazing. There were crazy lights, endless confetti, STARS everywhere, pyrotechnics, rotating drum platforms, epic 'fros on the Toro side(LOL) and -overall- pure madness.
Because I can't remember it perfectly enough to describe every last detail, Some memorable moments:
Gerard: "You just looooove The Black Parade, don't you?"
Gerard: "You just looooooove booing The Black Parade *eleaborate cupping of hand about ear at the crowd*"
I pretty much ate the confetti that was blasted into my face at the end of "Welcome to the Black Parade"- it was fun finding bits of it that were stuck to me later.
I started sobbing when they played "Cancer."
Gerard's walking like a toy soldier (Legs unbending and kicking upward to propel himself forth) and story-telling before "Mama":
"Well, it rains.. and it pours. and it rainsanditpours. And you can't make any friends, OH NO, because you never know if -tomorrow- your buddy's face is gunna get blown off!.. Well, it rains... and it pours..."
Then, after "Mama:"
Gerard: "*Crazy, almost frantic, childish voice along with spasms* A-a surprise party, f-for me? *standing straight, glaring, normal voice* You shouldn't have."
During "Disenchanted", a girl had fallen down and no one was helping her. Gerard COMPLETELY stopped the song and was like, "You need to pick her the fuck up, right now... Back up, give her some room... See, we can have fun, but it's not so fun when you're on the floor." I was so fucking pissed at the crowd. From where I was, it seemed as if no one was making an effort to help her at all. I nearly jumped out of the crowd and flipped them all off. I NEVER want to be a part of that. It's complete, greedy bullshit and, in my opinion, there's absolutely no place for it at a My Chem show.. Ever.
Since it's my favorite song from The Black Parade, the uninterrupted parts of "Disenchanted" were so amazing to me. It made me cry, as well... *shakes head at self*
I practically killed myself from exertion during "Famous Last Words." That song means so much to me and seeing it live was completely overwhelming. I was pretty much sobbing by the end of it.
Gerard: "Next, you'll have to deal with the likes of My Chemical Romance. Personally, I think they're terrible dressers and they use foul language."
Drinking and sharing Frank's thrown, orange powerade (I later got a terrible sore throat and have decided it was Frank's fault).
Scaring the shit out of flashlight-holding security guards, during the short intermission between The Black Parade and My Chemical Romance by singing along with the recorded version of "Blood." Everything was pitch black, and I'm sure the audience looked scary as fuck.
After a short break, the boys came back out, dressed in normal clothing (Actually, I'd almost say it was Greaser or T-bird inspired apparel.). The fancy set was taken down and there was simply an MCR backdrop as they performed songs from Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. I can't remember the exact set, but I know that THEY PLAYED THE HELL OUTTA SOME "HEAVEN HELP US". I almost had a heart-attack. I never thought they would play B-sides!
From what I can remember, they played (not in order):
-"Helena" (Whoa-hoa introduction included)
-"Give 'Em Hell, Kid"
-"You Know what they do to Guys like Us in Prison"
-"Heaven Help Us"
-"I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" [I think]
Emily had to get out shortly before their set was through and our friend, who we had met in line/in the crowd was able to take her spot. We OWNED so fucking hard.
We pretty much hurled ourselves over the barricade and basically knocked one another out with our flailing arms during that last to songs. It was fucking AWESOME!
The show ended, Emily and I went to get our stuff to be signed from my mother and waited in the arena along with everyone else who had meet-and-greet passes. We all got in a line, and The MCRmy kids got together toward the back of it and we waited our turn.
Emily was in front of me in line and was having her CD player signed; so, she and I got into a conversation with Ray and Bob about how much better CD players are than iPods. I said, "iPods don't exist. Actually, we're from Ohio; nothing exists there." Pretty much the nerdiest thing I've ever said in my entire life, but whatever. HAHA!
Ray was firstm and I was so fucking excited. It was my first time ever meeting "the man with the plan, Ray Toro." He was an absolute sweetheart: everything I had ever been told about him and expected. Oh, and the 'fro... was ravishing. He made it a point to repeat our names back to us, which it was really cute. He was like, "Thank you, Cassie" and I was like *secretly* "EEP! Toro knows my name!," which, I'm sure, was his intent in speaking my name.
Next was good ol' Bob. He was fucking awesome as usual. I told him that the last time I met him had been at the very same venue and he had had electrical tape on it to bandage a sliced thumb. He was like, "Yea, that's pretty likely *observes thumb* Actually, it's pretty swollen tonight. *nods and shows me*"
Me: "Bob, you need to be careful!" ...
Bob: "*chuckles* I'll try."
I now regret telling him to be careful. I feel as if it somehow jinxed the boys into their food-poisoning.
Between my meeting Bob and Frank (I was waiting for Frank to quit making fun of Emily's CD player), people were commenting upon all of the doodles that the boys were doing on their table. Well, all except for Gerard's. Either Bob or Frank, I cannot remember now, made a point to tell Gerard that he wasn't getting compliments. and I was like *sad face* "Aww, Gerard, yours are lovely, too." and he looked up from his doodle and kinda half-smiled at me.
Then, there was Frank. As bubbly, hyper, and enthusiastic as ever. He gave me the good ol' "HiI'mFrank.. What'sYouName?" Ha-ha! I swear, someone needs to take away his caffeine... or not. Hyper Frank is awesome. He signed my poster and drew a halo on "Pepe" and marked out his eyes with Xs.
Finally, I got to Gerard. He seemed pretty withdrawn and tired, but I absolutely cannot blame him for that. I'm so proud of myself, because, after 3 times meeting the man, I was finally able to say something worthwhile to him. I told him how much his words and lyrics meant to me, and he looked up to listen as I spoke, which kinda surprised me, because I had expected him to be staring downward the entire time like he had the last time I met him.
He said, "You know what? It really means a lot to me that you said that. *nods and gives me a tiny smile*"
After I told him, he drew a flower above my name on my poster, which was really sweet. I asked him if I could have a hug, and he looked up at Worm and Worm shook his head and said, "No hugs." Gerard was like, "*shakes head* No hugs, I'm sorry... You can have a high five, though? *lifts his hand*" I was like, "Awesome!" and high-fived him, then went over to stand with the rest of the MCRmy people to await our group picture with the boys.
(Oh, btw... Mikey was not at the show due to his just-married-and-starting-a-life-ness. Congrats to him, for sure. He was replaced by Matt Cortez, Frank's tech.)
So, the boys finished meeting everyone and came over for the group picture. Someone nailed Gerard in the face with a poster by accident, and I think Gerard and I were the only ones that noticed.
It was everything I could have hoped it would be. It was perfect.
2005 Taste of Chaos | Green Day & MCR | Warped Tour, Columbus | Warped Tour, Charlotte | 2005 Headlining tour, Columbus | Headlining tour, Atlanta | Headlining tour, Canada
The reason behind this blog series.