My Chemical Romance

support Funeral For A Friend
author TL date 10/04/07 venue KB Hallen, Copenhagen, DEN

If you happened to be strolling by KB Hallen in Copenhagen, you would have been met by a sight that might seem normal to a resident of London, but to a Dane is somewhat out of the ordinary. Running from the entrance of the venue transformed from a sports arena, down the street and round the corner is a queue composed of 3000 fans, something like 98% of them covered in either merchandise or some kind of black clothing. People are singing, songs are being played on small stereos and the air is thick with anxiety. Westlife would be envious of the kind of hysterically dedicated response the crowd is warming up to deliver.

Funeral for a Friend

Entering the venue, while skipping lightly the description of the chaos associated with getting there as well as the confiscation of all cameras (except the one your dedicated reporters smuggled in of course), my initial thoughts are somewhere along the lines of "About six people are separating me from the barriers.. Where else in the world do you get to see MCR this close?". Thoughts that are quickly replaced by; ".. and what band has fuckin' Funeral For A Friend as WARM UP!???!"

Despite my disbelief, the Welshmen do indeed take the stage and launch directly into a support act of a quality you can only expect from a band who's used to headlining gigs of this size. Nothing quite gets a crowd going like classic tracks "Juneau", "Escape Artists Never Die", "Red Is The New Black" and "She Drove Me To Daytime Television", maybe with the exception of the singalongs that accompany the newer hits "All The Rage", "Streetcar", "Roses For The Dead" and "Drive". Apparently the band isn't as unknown over here as the usual scene-ignorance would have suggested, as there are actually substantial parts of the audience singing along. Before closing their set with "Escape Artists..." the band treats us to a new song off their upcoming third album, and if I'd been gifted with better hearing, I'd tell you what it was called. Unfortunately that isn't the case, so you're gonna have to get by with the info that Funeral For A Friend gave a warm up performance somewhat above the average. As if that is a surprise to anyone.


My Chemical Romance

Being the second band to come to Denmark as a prominent flag-bearer of the emo-movement, and the second to do so while having only the ignorance of the average music fan connecting them to emo, My Chem comes on stage to face the challenge of living up to Fall Out Boy's explosive but somewhat smaller show from a few weeks ago. The combined high pitched howls of what must have been close to every single soul present accompany the bands emergence and indicates that the odds are certainly in their favour. The band opens the show with "Dead" and from the instant the first drumbeat arrives through the speakers, the entire standing crowd becomes the jumping crowd.

If memory serves, they follow it with "This Is How I Disappear" only to proceed by delivering the smash hit "I'm Not Okay" and bringing the singalong fest to an early top. From here on, we're treated to a barrage of perfectly executed tracks off the two latest albums. From "Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge" we witness the return of songs like "Cemetery Drive", "You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison", "The Ghost Of You", "It's Not A Fashion Statement It's A Fuckin' Deathwish", "I Never Told You What I Do For A Living" and the band even encourage people to go crazy before playing "To The End" motioning for us to initiate a moshpit. Unfortunately noone in the crowd seems old nor rock'n roll enough to have ever witnessed a moshpit before however, so nothing really happens (everyone present please go here to learn about proper behaviour at gigs). Somehow these songs did not however seem to come to life in the same way they used to, and I still have the feeling that in those songs, the band was more or less going through the motions. Fortunately the delivery of the new songs more than evened this fact out, as especially "The Sharpest Lives", "Mama", "House Of Wolves", "Teenagers" and of course "Welcome To The Black Parade" revealed their true immense arena-slaying power, opening up truly vast and passionate singalongs and sending shockwaves through the city from the simultaneous jumps of a thousand people. Not that the response or performance of "Sleep" or "I Don't Love You" are far behind. The recently raging single "Famous Last Words" closes the regular set, but of course the band comes on stage again, treating us to "Disenchanted", a track I have regretfully also forgotten and closing finally and predictably with "Helena".

Now a lot of things can be taken into consideration when it comes to rating this show. Despite the muddy acoustics of this venue, it's clear to all that Gerrard's singing has improved by far since the last time the band visited these shores in late 2005, and tonight he's hitting note after note spot on. However, what most people in the crowd might not notice, while diehard fans see it right away is, that the showmanship of this band is a far more polished and calculated affair compared to the raging mania the guys displayed when they were still struggling for recognition. This is especially clear when watching Frank Iero, who's been known to play his guitar in the air, on the speakers as well as lying on the floor. Tonight he contributes to the voices in the back of your mind telling you that this is merely another day at the office for these guys by being far more down to earth than his reputation would suggest. It might be the fact that this is the last show on the tour, but it doesn't serve the band well either, when Gerrard get's a bit too annoyed with the tshirts being thrown on stage, kickin' them straight back into the faces of the crowd. All of these things are minor problems though and you can easily forgive them when thinking of the amazing lightshow the band had brought with them, serving as a simple but devilishly effective way to add some great atmosphere to the performance.

Overall, there's no denying that MCR is an amazing band and tonight they pulled an amazing show, and many rockbands should aspire to be able to perform at a level this high, but then, when you're My Chemical Romance, and you're hyped as much as is the case, I still think you should have some more to give. And even though covering part of Danzig's "Mother" is kind of cool, it still makes me wonder why it is done, when all material from the excellent debut album is entirely left out. Summing up the pros and cons, I'd say the show on display here was worth even the unusually high price, but it still had some way to go before appearing anywhere near as legendary as fx. Fall Out Boy did when they played here.


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