“Rock Never Died”: And Neither Has Emo, My Chemical Romance’s Phenomenal Return
Having just finished their first UK tour in close to a decade, the return of My Chemical Romance to venues and stadium around the UK from places like Milton Keynes, Cornwall and Cardiff amongst others marked a sign of unity and excitement to newer generation of young listeners and the older generation who had grown up on their music.
Originally returning after a break-up that lasted for over 5 years in the autumn of 2019 and announcing the UK tour for June 2020, the initial shows sold out within a matter of minutes. Shows kept on being added, but as soon as they went on sale; just as quickly they were gone. This immediately showcased the excitements of long-term fans who had no hope for a reunion tour to actually occur and newer fans who has just began listening and did not have to wait years to expect any new announcements.
Unfortunately, the rise of Covid and the pandemic with constant lockdowns and uncertainty of the state of the world for the better part of two years resulted in constant postponements, delays and questions as to whether a reunion would even go ahead, over 2 years in the shadows of the pandemic and no new music or shows from the band. Yet with the confirmation of the new UK tour happening in May 2022 shortly after the success of the rollout of the vaccine, all the fans rejoiced and expected only the highest standard. Many fans, including myself, placed the barrier for the hype and quality of the shows so high that it seemed impossible to reach, or even come close to reaching. Alas, it succeeded to surpass all expectations.
With all shows being either sold out or coming close to being sold out, it was evident that self-proclaimed Emos and casual listeners of MCR are alive and just as happy and partaking of the culture as the youth of the 2000s, where Emo reached its arguable peak in popularity. With many shunned for it back in the day, these shows appeared as if MCR’s popularity returned and acceptance of Emo culture brought more unity and togetherness than ever before, particularly during the difficult events of the last few years. Even more so with the sudden surprising release of a new single “The Foundations of Decay”, which after attending one of the concerts, I can confirm everyone will remember where they were when this song dropped. It was a monumental event in the band’s history following the comeback and new music for the first time in over 8 years. This was also the band’s first #1 hit in many countries.
The shows themselves brough an amazing energy, with people of various areas, lives and interest being brough together to celebrate MCR and everything emo, regardless of how long they have been fans or interested in the music. With differing songs and setlists at every concert, everyone could expect a new experience at every show they attended. For my show, they performed “Cancer” for the first time in over 8 years. However, two things were guaranteed: everyone would scream and dance to all the songs, and the experience would be ethereal and a one-off.
Emo has never died, rather it hid itself and now it had the opportunity for all the shy kids from the past and all those now embracing an alternative identity have found a place and time to respark those interests and lifestyles. For me, this brought back nostalgia and a sense of acceptance, alongside the obvious happiness; as I am sure it has for countless others. Although, MCR is not the only band this year to be able to continue this experience, since bands like Funeral for a Friend are reuniting and legends like Thrice and Touche Amore are announcing new tours. Even more so with Sunny Day Real Estate and Alexisonfire reuniting and touting after years of not being together. Now is definitely the time to live and be Emo and embrace the culture and nostalgia.