First with a beautifully painful saga, then as a shadow of the past, My Chemical Romance beckoned us to "Come one come all to this tragic affair." But we, the masses, piled into a stifling Allstate Arena on the 1st of March and tuned into something much less dreadful instead. The fans were enchanted with a merriment of alter egos as the band took on two personas, one as those clad in black and white Sgt. Pepper's suits reminiscent of "The Black Parade" video, and the other as the guys in the black and leather garb we first associated with their name.
The five-year-old band started at "The End." literally. The performance opened up with the song from the latest album The Black Parade, though the stage was set much like the televised introduction to the title track. A ghastly scene that mirrored "The Black Parade" video featured lead singer, Gerard Way in a large hospital gown, as he rose from an old roll-away hospital bed. Suddenly the cape came off to reveal the singer, his face shocked in white paint. The backdrop disappeared to unveil an elaborate stage set much like something right out of Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events" books and the band began performing a collection of songs from their recent release. Though the vocals seemed faint in comparison to the music, they pulled off their lonely lyrics in "This Is How I Disappear," "The Sharpest Lives" and "Mama," many performances of which incorporated vertical shooting flames, loud firework effects and lots of light.
When My Chemical Romance sang "The Black Parade," Gerard stepped into a large spotlight and was joined on either side of the stage by small black and white zeppelins. The performance continued like a Black Parade bill as fans became almost an army in awe. Way was like a marching band leader taking quirky dance breaks and even one pause in song to whimper into the microphone while pawing at his face and sending the crowd shrieking. The vocalist didn't fail to address the ill-fated disease "Cancer" with his solo performance and the band gave us a couple more like "Mama" and "I Don't Love You," before the stage went black. The sounds of "Blood," the hidden track, filled the arena.
Just when we thought the night had ended on a somewhat wonderfully horrific note, the My Chemical Romance we knew before the latest costume conversion came back to the stage to sing more of the melodramatic lyrics we fell in love with from Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge. They hit us with a whole new stage set and heightened presentations of "Ghost Of You" and "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" among others while jumping around the stage and donning props (bunny ears and a pink boa) from the audience. Not before they declared that they are not "emo" nor a "death band" and encouraged all in the crowd to continue to be themselves, did they close out their set with " Helena." The ballad gave us the perfect ending as the band bid us "so long and goodnight" by turning their backs to the sea of supporters and exited stage left.