Because this is, as the title says, "unabridged" and, as a result, very long, I have added sub-heads that will allow you to skim ahead. Enjoy!
For a more concise review, check out my MyChemicalRomance.com Cleveland Fan Report.
Formal Review on ACRN.com
Chicago review here.
Tour Report for the MCR site, and still woke up around 8 a.m. because I was so excited for both the show I had just gone to and the one that was coming up the next day.
The drive to Cleveland started at 11 a.m. Central time and ended at about 6 p.m. Eastern time, and we were all exhausted from it as we collapsed into hotel beds and began sorting out our plans for the next day.
After the Chicago show and our rotten experiences with the crowd there, we had originally planned to line up for the Cleveland show at 6 a.m. to make sure we had front row and wouldn't have to deal with the craziness again. A very exciting Email changed our plans that night, however, and we didn't end up getting to the House of Blues until close to 11 a.m. the next day.
With stomachs growling, we stumbled against the city's strong wind to the front of The House of Blues, searching for its restaurant component. We spoke to the few people in the line at the front and I tried to help them understand skip-the-line as the wind whipped into and burned us. They told us the restaurant would not open until 4, so we made our way back down the block and around the corner where the skip-the-line group was crowded and huddled against the wind by the venue's side door.
It was a mob of color there with several Killjoys wearing masks atop their heads, brightly-colored clothes and vibrantly-dyed hair. On the whole, I felt like the Cleveland crowd embraced the Killjoy aesthetic more than the Chicago one, which made me proud of my home-state.
A couple people recognized my boots from the web and said "hello" as my friends and I passed in search of sustenance, which came to us in the form of a sports bar across the road from the stadium where the Cleveland Indians game was starting.
It was around that time when the shaking started. I had a really horrible feeling in my chest and stomach and my heart was beating rapidly. I didn't feel particularly nervous about meeting MCR again, but something was making so nervous I felt I would die. And the feeling persisted through the day as I barely ate then sat with my friends across from HOB at an artsy coffee shop until 3:00 p.m. when we went to our car to put our things away before the show.
As we had been instructed beforehand, we met at the front of the building outside the box office to be let in for MCR's soundcheck at 4 p.m.. As there had been in Chicago, there were - again - radio station winners who went in with us. Venue security tried to kick my friends and I out because we weren't with the radio group, so I hung back as if I were trying to get will-call tickets until I found the rep from Warner Brothers on whose list I was.
A word of advice to any road reporter winners: Find the WBR rep or member of MCR's team as soon as you can when you're about to go to the meet-and-greet. I got grief from venue staff both times; as, they don't really understand the situation and may have been informed about winners from local contests, but not about you.
When everything was finally clear, we were lined up with our groups. Mehdi called my friends and I over to make our group, then the other girl who had won the meet-and-greet through the MCR site lined up behind us. We waited outside the doors and listened as MCR played "Na Na Na...."
When the doors were opened for us, my friends and I were the first to go into the dark room. Having experienced the soundcheck before where we had to hang back by the soundboard, we didn't know exactly how far we were allowed to go, but no one was directing us, so we went straight to the tiny House of Blues floor then to the left side of the room. We hung back from the barricade as most of the others did except for a group of fans who went straight to the barricade on Ray's side and bounced and sang along as if it were the actual show.
Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)
Neat Neat Neat [The Damned cover]
Famous Last Words
As with last time, it was so amazing to see the guys work, to see how they perfect all the tiny things for the show, but also joke with one another through the process.
When they played "Famous Last Words," the events of the day and the previous show finally just hit me. As I quietly sang along in the tiny room, I teared up, and - by the end of it - was smiling with tears rolling down my cheeks from the powerful song and how very healed it made me feel.
Leading up to these shows, I had been going through a really low point. In my life, I have a sort of cyclical depression, and prior to the shows, I had been living one of my lows for months longer than they usually last. I remember texting my friend just a few days before the shows and telling her desperately that I really hoped the MCR shows would cheer me up, because nothing in my life lately had been affecting me positively.
As I watched them play "Famous Last Words," I knew I would be okay. It just filled me and I felt kind of free from whatever had been gripping and holding me down. It was one of the most inspiring moments I'd had in the presence of MCR. I felt like no one else was in the room as they played, and the song spoke directly to me and comforted me.
Gerard, Frank and Mikey beat Ray to us and all shook our hands quickly. Frank spoke first saying, "Nice to see you again, as always." with a grin. He asked about my tour report and if I were going to do some sort of compare-contrast thing for the two shows.
Me: "Sorry you guys have to see my face twice so close together," I laughed.
G & F: "No, it's great!"
G: "You keep bringing those boots back," he noted as he eyed the boots I was wearing that he had recognized me from at the previous show. He actually spent most of the time he was standing beside me staring at the boots. At one point, I was talking to Frank or Mikey and felt his eyes, looked over, and -- sure enough -- he was staring at the boots. So, I lifted my leg and extended it a bit so he could see better. I was to the point where I was about to take them off and just give them to him. Haha!
When Mikey greeted me, he looked at my shirt and asked what it said, so I opened my jacket to show him, "Matt Skiba from Alkaline Trio," I revealed proudly. Gerard, Frank and Mikey all got excited and Gerard said he's a "fucking awesome guy."
As the three of them were talking to me, Ray was hanging back and talking to my friend Wes, explaining how he had hurt his foot. Wes told me that he had -- apparently -- just been rocking out onstage and landed on it wrong: An epic way to break one's foot.
I told Frank that I was the girl who had sent them "Sister To Sleep," and they all kind of exploded with excitement and started talking to one another about it. Frank told me the year and at which venue it was recorded, but I can't remember that now. He also told me that they are working on a project to celebrate their 10-years as a band, which will compile all kinds of snippets from their past that include rare things like "Sister to Sleep."
F: The version you sent is actually the only recorded version of that song!
Me: Oh? It's the ones fans have and we all love it.
F: We're looking for a lot of other things like that, but sometimes it's hard to remember what we're missing.
Me: If you guys need anything else, I'd be glad to send it along!
At that point, they started listing off things, many of which I missed because I had reached over to shake Ray's hand and talk to him. He was still beside my friend Wes as Mikey, Frank and Gerard had been hogging all the attention.
I zoned back in on the Mikey, Frank and Gerard listing of missing files and told them, again, that anything they needed, I could get to them if I had it ("Obviously, you can have it. It's yours," I laughed) then remembered a question I had been meaning to ask for years.
Me: Oh! Speaking of old stuff, I actually have a question. What was the deal with "Nine Volt Heart?"
G: It's a song that didn't make Bullets...
Me: I remember that. There was a link to it on the side of the old site that lead to nowhere...
M: Didn't it become something else? "Android..." something?
F: We played it once at the Loop Lounge.
G: *grins* It was bad.
They all shook my hand for a second time and thanked me before we got our picture taken. As they began to walk away, still kind of talking to me and to one another, Ray threatened me: "No talking shit!" I told them "I might" and all the guys made an uproarous "Ooooh!" sound. I laughed and reassured them that I had nothing bad to say about them, and as Ray walked past me, he shook my hand with both of his and grinned, telling me that he knew better.
Ray was, by far, the most encouraging of my review-writing. At the first show, he had told me, "I want to see that review!" and at this one, I could have sworn -- though I wasn't able to believe -- that before the guys left the floor to go backstage he had yelled, "Bye, Cassie!"
Be still, my heart.
BEFORE THE SHOW
After the meet-and-greet, my friends and I got to wait inside the venue until doors opened. If I had ever told myself that was something I'd get to do-- Holy shit. It was just unbelievable.
The tension beyond the venue doors started to mount and the security began lining up, so we stood up and took spots at the left side of the barricade, hoping no one would want to kill us as long as we didn't take the center.
People quickly filed in, all seemingly exasperated at the whole skip-the-line process, and it was close to time for the show to start.
Even during The Architects' set, the crowd's pressure began to grow. I ended up much farther toward the center from where I started from peoples' pushing in on the sides. My arms were compressed together, and I definitely didn't have room to move to the music as much as my body wanted to, but I was in heaven. There's no better place to watch a show from than from there.
To make this more concise, Since there are already two of my show reviews for this online already, some highlights of MCR's set included:
-Their cover of The Damned's "Neat Neat Neat," which it appeared not many in the crowd knew, but I knew it, so I was very happy.
-Two songs from Bullets! "Vampires Will Never Hurt You" and "Our Lady of Sorrows." Sorrows replaced "Cancer" in the band's two-song encore, which -- I believe -- was an excellent choice. Personally, I always just get kind of bummed out when I hear "Cancer." "...Sorrows" is its polar opposite and much more fitting with the energy of the rest of the show. Gerard announced that "You guys get this song because you're a bunch of bad-asses!"
-Frank's draping a pink boa that was thrown onstage around Mehdi's neck.
-Mikey's tons of eye-contact. Ray also made great eye-contact
-I believe it was during "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" when Frank's "trust me" line was up. He instead filled his mouth with water, walked to the edge of the stage and spat it all over us. Only slightly gross, mostly funny.
-Gerard's dance moves were in full-force. His jerky movements seemed wholly fueled by the music and he would do really cool and precise pantomimes in time with the music.
-Gerard's anti-elitism speech in which he asked to see new concert-goers and old fans alike and thanked the old fans for being nice to the new ones.
-The half-sung "Vampires will Never Hurt You" introduction: "One day our sun is gonna die. Until then, we walk the night."
-"The Ghost of You," which the band had not played in Chicago.
-"Bulletproof Heart:" I honestly don't think there is a better song with which they could have closed. It's just perfect and so positive. It sends you into the world filled with joy.
I left the show filled with absolute joy and certainty that it was absolutely the very best day of my life.
As I drove the entire night to get back to school, all I could think of was how hard it would be to return to "real life." I'm still kind of in MCR Lala-land.