10 Years, 10 Days: “You gotta promise me, you gotta fuckin’ dance.”

Everyone’s noticed that My Chem quite enjoy playing live shows, and that people quite enjoy going to them. Having seen them twice, on their first show back in London last October and at Wembley Area in February – read the reviews/blogs here and here – I can tell you that there’s a reason for the excitement.

In short, they are brilliant. I realise I’m biased, and haven’t been to that many rock shows – but it’s not hard to understand the fuss.

Before that song had ended, we knew the words. We hadn’t stopped dancing. And every time I hear it, I smile.

When people tell me they aren’t really familiar with My Chem, I want to send them a playlist of live songs. I always think, “Choose what you want to listen to that’s been recorded in a studio, but to get the essence of the band, you need to hear this.” Then I think of Mama,  Prison and DESTROYA. They’re all completely different songs, but they’re all really good examples of the way MCR work live. Heard those songs and still need convincing? Look no further than this handy Why You Should See My Chemical Romance Live list:

Gerard’s sass. Everyone’s fifth favourite member of the band (or is that Mikey’s knees? I forget). If you know someone who’s in danger of becoming a homophobe, take them to a show. Whether they liked guys before seeing it or not, they will after. Reason being, Gerard. He can make the crowd do what he wants them to, when he wants them to, before they realise they might not want to do it. Good thing he’s a nice bloke. To the few people who bitch about his vocals live: you do what he does, then complain.

Frank’s insane. He was voted fifth greatest rockstar in the world by Kerrang! this year, because he’s “My Chemical Romance’s heart. He’s the guts.” Each member quite obviously gives his all, but I know where the writers were coming from for once: it doesn’t matter how big the show is, Frank will be on fire. He’s fallen into the drums, tackled Gerard and given him serious injuries and pushed Mikey over. And yet…

Ray Toro is totally epic, yeah. In the seats I’ve been in at shows, I’ve never had that great a view of Ray – mostly it’s just a flash of fro here and there. But when I have been able to see him, he’s been playing. All the time. In every review I’ve read, everyone’s said the same thing. It doesn’t matter what stupid thing Gerard and Frank are doing, or who’s climbing up onstage, or whether he’s got two working feet or not; Ray plays guitar like his life depends on it. Maybe it does, I don’t know… He does have ‘SL’ tattooed on his arm, for ‘stage left’, his position… Perhaps he made a deal with the devil: “I will put up with being the dude the fangirls ignore if you let me play all the time.” Sounds like a pretty sweet agreement to me.

Mikey’s a cool, awesome (in the old meaning of the word) presence. He doesn’t always get the mic, but when he does, he discusses Darth Vader. Sometimes he falls over, and sometimes it’s during a performance of Cemetery Drive. He played with glasses on every night for years, when there’s a reason most people opt not to. Most importantly: his bass looks like Edward Cullen got a makeover.

If you’re still unsure about how fun My Chem are to watch live, how much blood and sweat goes into playing, book tickets to see them next time they’re in town. The worst that can happen is that you’ll come out with ringing ears and a question mark over your sexuality…

Contaminated: London (for the second time)

There are some events which never get old, no matter how many times you experience them. For example, you’re sitting with your cousins in Wembley Arena, laughing at different outfits people have turned up in and doing a Mexican Wave with 10,000 other people.

The crowd starts to get restless after the fifth wave, and is only briefly distracted by the YMCA and Macerena, all of which were instigated by three very crazy but brave girls sitting at the back of the pit. Everyone has had enough of looking at Killjoys’ outfits and cheering every time a band member’s photo crops up on the PowerPoint screen… They want the band they paid to see.

The lights go out. For a split second, everything is silent. Then the screaming starts. Quietly at first – a gentle hum. As Look Alive, Sunshine fills the stadium, people get out of their seats and turn to face the stage.  As Na Na Na starts, the hum has turned into – oh, just watch:

That isn’t my recording, but we were on that side of the arena – just a bit further up and closer to the stage.

Last night was my second time seeing My Chemical Romance live (read about the first here) and the second the lights go out will always be my favourite part of the show. My favourite part of any show, in fact. That heart-stopping moment when you and thousands of other people can’t quite believe if This Is It.

I’m not going to talk about the actual performance… Too many other people will do it for me. Kerrang! will discuss Gerard’s messy haircut, Mikey’s brief bass change when he broke a string and his version of an ‘I ❤ UK’ t-shirt. Fans will go on forums and point out Mohawk Girl, who made a brief appearance at the Hammersmith Apollo show last year. People will ask, “What did Gerard put on before Teenagers?” and someone’ll reply, “This girl’s jacket which she had just bought.” “Did she get it back?”

Would you want a jacket Gerard Way had sweated all over?

There will be discussion over songs – personally I wanted to see Bulletproof Heart and another rendition of Prison – but there will be acclaim for the encore track, Vampires Will Never Hurt You… I’d place money on jokes about the whole of Wembley Arena simultaneously orgasming during DESTROYA.

For the benefit of my fellow Killjoys, Toxic Waste (Isobel) and Radioactive Raccoon (Ellen) – and my long-suffering dad, who filmed almost every song, here are the videos from my camera. The bad singing is almost entirely mine. Unless it was 9,999 other people or Gerard.

Check out pictures on my new shiny Photobucket page.