My Chemical Romance | Taking Back Sunday – Moda Center – October 2, 2022 – Portland, Oregon

An unexpected event gave me the personal chance to come see the long awaited reunion show of My Chemical Romance. Chatting with people around me, seems like collectively, this packed arena (even the upper most level was open and full), has been waiting for this for about 9 years. The energy of anticipation was palpable.

I thoroughly enjoyed walking around the concourse seeing everyone dressed like it was early 2000s, emo mixed with goth styles filled the area. Lots of black clothing, black eyeliner, chains, combat boots, stockings, spikes, some painted faces, some dressed like they were part of a gothic carnival show. It was marvelous.

Unfortunately, I missed the opening act of Youth Code and man am I bummed I did. Metal Dance/Electronic duo consist of Sara Taylor and Ryan George from Los Angeles, California. Wikipedia says that Youth Code has been described as “industrial music infused with hardcore angst.” I checked them out online and this duo was part of Hellfest 2022 and man, Sara’s vocals are amazing! Personally, I think if she was backed by a full band, they could be a more solid force to be reckoned with. Youth Code is surely making a name for themselves so what do I know.

Up next, in direct support for this part of the tour, Long Island’s own emo rock group, Taking Back Sunday. This group formed in 1999 and has their own solid following, including some in the crowd that evening I am sure. Taking Back Sunday are Adam Lazzara (lead vocals), John Nolan (lead guitar, keyboard, vocals), Mark O’Connell (drums) and Shaun Cooper (bass guitar.)

When Adam would stop and talk, he sort of reminded my of one of my favorite comedians, Mitch Hedberg. It would throw me off because then I was expecting stand up. Ha! Adam was charming though and seemed to make everyone feel welcomed. Each member of Taking Back Sunday had a huge smile on their face. Adam took a moment and recognized that yeah, most of the packed arena are probably not there for them but they are fans of My Chemical Romance just like the crowd. Taking Back Sunday was just as excited.

Taking Back Sunday’s set list:

  • What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost?
  • A Decade Under The Influence
  • Tidal Wave
  • Error:Operator
  • Just Us Two
  • You Can’t Look Back
  • Cute Without the E (Cut from the Team)
  • MakeDamnSure

Finally the time had come for what the packed Moda Center was waiting for that night. Some have been waiting years for this moment. We spoke with one concert-goer Sandra, who had made her way to the front of the stage by patiently waiting a mere 14 hours in line. (Dedication! I remember doing that for my favorite KoRn.) Sandra had a similar story to other fans that I spoke with that night. This was her first time seeing MCR. She was a fan since she was a kid and the band broke up when she was about 11 years old, before she was able to go to concerts. This evening was a dream come true for Sandra, never thinking a band she had loved, memorized all the songs from, would ever tour again.

The stage set-up was simple. For some reason, I was expecting a KISS sort of stage set-up with huge grandeur, lights and gimmicks for a ‘reunion’ tour. MCR kept it simple and it was perfect. The back drop sort of was set like a play with the scene being a dystopia/armageddon feel of a rundown city landscape. The actual stage space the band took up was minimal.

With just a tease of the band about to make their appearance on stage, the arena was filled with screams of adoring fans. (I was thankful that the Moda Center has earplugs for those that forgot theirs.)

Starting their set off with their newest single “The Foundations of Decay” which was a great song to start off because it has the perfect combination of singing, screaming, melodic and heavy. Plus at the opportune moment, the curtain that was in front of the rundown city backdrop fell finally giving the audience the full experience visually.

My Chemical Romance may have put on one of the most memorable shows of the year, really for simple reason that the crowd had so much love and excitement, MCR’s stage presence I felt was spot on as if time has not passed. MCR played the songs that defined a generation and arguably the trailblazers of the genre of emo. In case you do not know, My Chemical Romance are Gerard Way (lead vocals), Ray Toro (lead guitar), Mikey Way (bass guitar) and Frank Iero (rhythm guitar) with touring members Jarrod Alexander (drums, percussion) and Jamie Muhoberac (keyboards.)

The impression I get from My Chemical Romance is that they truly do care for their fans and they are thankful for their success and response from the crowd. I get this because constantly, the security guards were passing out water bottles to the crowd (this doesn’t always happen) and at one point Gerard asked the crowd to take a step back to give the people who were squished in the front a little more room. MCR also not just thanked the opening bands but dedicated songs to them. MCR dedicated the song “Thank You for the Venom” to Youth Code and song “Teenagers” to Taking Back Sunday. Who does that? Nice guys that’s who.

My Chemical Romance’s set list:

  • The Foundations of Decay
  • Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)
  • Give ‘Em Hell, Kid
  • This Is The Best Day Ever
  • Summertime
  • It’s Not a Fashion Statement, It’s a Fucking Deathwish
  • Thank You for the Venom
  • Boy Divison
  • Hang ‘Em High
  • Welcome to the Black Parade
  • Teenagers
  • Mama
  • The World is Ugly
  • I’m Not Okay (I Promise)
  • Famous Last Words
  • Sleep
  • Helena
  • Desert Song

This was such a fun show. I must say, it was worth the wait and the waiting made it all the sweeter. I bet My Chemical Romance had as much fun as the concert-goers. MCR was making dreams come true. I am sure many fans went home that night on cloud nine, lost their voices from singing so loud and ears ringing (probably from the screaming fans more than the band.)

Thank you My Chemical Romance!

My Chemical Romance