My Chemical Romance holds a very special place in the hearts of their listeners

By Grant Golden

August 31, 2022

Reunion tours can always be finicky for longtime fans of a band– there’s an anxious mix of excitement for a highly anticipated live experience and nervousness as to whether or not they’re the same powerhouse performers they were decades ago. Thankfully, My Chemical Romance quickly shoved those worries aside for the near 19,000 in attendance at PNC Arena. Playing to a mix of fresh-faced teens catching the band for their first time and millennials hankering for another dose of 2000’s nostalgia, My Chemical Romance, Turnstile, and Soul Glo turned this indoor arena into what felt like an intimate punk club.

Gerard Way and guitarist Ray Toro of My Chemical Romance performing on Saturday night at PNC Arena. Photo: Rich Levine

Philadelphia-based punk quartet Soul Glo joined the tour solely for the Raleigh show, kicking off the evening’s festivities. Signed to independent punk label Epitaph Records, Soul Glo’s music is full of progressive political lyricism, peppered with lines against militarized police, and capitalism, all served in jolting punk rock bursts. 

GG Guerra of Philadelphia punk band Soul Glo. Photo: Rich Levine

Turnstile’s performance provided a bit more flare with the majority of their set coming from their latest release, GLOW ON. Mosh pits began opening up on the floor as vocalist Brendan Yates engaged the crowd with his high-energy antics, jumping on speakers and running across the massive stage. Turnstile plays with heavy dynamism, blending hard grooves with melodic hooks, keeping listeners engaged and anticipating the next note. By the time they closed out their set with the fan favorite “T.L.C. (Turnstile Love Connection),” it was clear they’d won over a large swath of any unknowing attendees. 

Brendan Yates of Baltimore hardcore band Turnstile. Photo: Rich Levine

The anticipation in the room was palpable during the turnover between Turnstile and My Chemical Romance. Fans purchased these tickets prior to the pandemic, so after two years of waiting, the faint glance of a guitar tech or stage hand had the entire arena erupting in applause. As the New Jersey rock icons took the stage, immediately ripping into their latest single, “The Foundations of Decay,” fans were visibly elated. Any concerns of the band not playing their biggest hits were tossed aside as they swiftly transitioned into “I’m Not Okay (I Promise).” The setlist featured a mix of late-career tracks like “Na Na Na,” “DESTROYA” (which got the mosh pit going), and “Vampire Money” from Danger Days, while fitting in live rarities like the debut of “Burn Bright.” But it’s undeniable that the most revered tracks were from The Black Parade and Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge.

Gerard Way played off the crowd, blending the theatrics of a maestro with the tenacity of a Jersey punk-rocker. The energy from the audience as “Famous Last Words” rang out through the arena was breathtaking, as thousands of fans shouted along to Way’s mental health mantra: “I am not afraid to keep on living.” As the group closed out their encore with “Helena,” bidding Raleigh a “so long and goodnight,” it was clear that My Chemical Romance hasn’t lost their luster. Whether they’re singing to fresh-faced Gen-Z teens or the fans that grew up with their emotive hits, it’s evident their music holds a very special place in the hearts of their listeners.

Photo: Rich Levine

My Chemical Romance setlist:
The Foundations of Decay
I’m Not Okay (I Promise)
Bury Me in Black
This Is How I Disappear
House of Wolves
Boy Division
Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)
The Ghost of You
Give ‘Em Hell, Kid
Welcome to the Black Parade
Burn Bright (live debut)
Famous Last Words
Sleep (extended outro)

Vampire Money

Turnstile setlist:
Real Thing
Big Smile

Read next: 

In this article