At long last, the wait is over. Emo rock band My Chemical Romance has been teasing fans for years now and its long-awaited reunion finally came to fruition Friday night at The Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall in Los Angeles.

Fans began lining up and camping out earlier this week just to get inside first and squish their bodies up against the barrier to be as close as humanly possible to the band. The hardcore devotees that braved the cold were even given custom blankets by Gerard Way & Co. as a token of their appreciation.

For one night, The Shrine became like the Island of Misfit Toys as the masses gathered to get as loud and as weird as they wanted since they had scored the hottest and hardest ticket to get in town. There was a lot of black clothing and that throwback MySpace look of red and black eye shadow and liner that was signature the My Chem look a decade ago. Even singer-songwriter Bishop Briggs was spotted singing her heart out and donning the familiar makeup.

  • My Chemical Romance played its first show in seven years at The Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall in Los Angeles on Friday, Dec. 20. (Photo by Pooneh Ghana)

  • My Chemical Romance played its first show in seven years at The Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall in Los Angeles on Friday, Dec. 20. (Photo by Kevin Estrada)

  • My Chemical Romance played its first show in seven years at The Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall in Los Angeles on Friday, Dec. 20. (Photo by Mark Beemer)



The New Jersey-based band announced that it would disband back in 2013 and had played its final show at the Bamboozle Festival in its home state in 2012. Each member — vocalist Gerard Way, guitarists Ray Toro and Frank Iero, bassist Mikey Way and drummer Jarrod Alexander — all did their own thing for a while. However, according to a tweet posted by the group earlier this week, they had actually gotten together in a studio in 2017 to “see what would happen.” They embarked on several jam sessions and went through “39 days of rehearsals” before hitting the stage at The Shrine.

How would they sound? What would they open with? Are they going to do any deep cuts? Will they play Coachella in 2020? These were all the burning questions that the fans crammed into the front rows were asking each other.

When the black curtain that had shrouded the stage dropped, the guys came out fast and hard with “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” and the place erupted. Fans jumped up and down, scream-sang along, and followed Way’s lead as he guided them through an evening of nostalgia and, more importantly, growth.

It has been seven years since these guys played publicly, and those rehearsals must have reignited the passion. Each song in the carefully crafted setlist, which included selections from all four of the band’s albums, was delivered with a lot of heart. When Way asked the crowd — which ranged in age from late teens to about mid-40s — who had never seen the band play live before, more than half of the audience, most of them on the younger side of the age range, shot up their hands. He seemed a bit floored by the response. There’s a whole new generation of fans that have been waiting for this.

“It has been a long time, Los Angeles,” Way said. “Thank you for being here tonight. We didn’t know if this was ever gonna happen again, so thank you guys for showing up. It feels good being here with you tonight in this place.”

The pit area got wild for “Thank You for the Venom” and “Give ‘Em Hell, Kid” and there were some sweet dance moves happening with “House of Wolves.” Some fans groaned when the band played songs off its most recent album, 2010’s “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys.” Sure, it’s not as black and biting as the earlier material, but it’s solid content and slower songs like “Summertime” and “S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W” are as awesome as the more upbeat “Na Na Na” off that record. All of it sounded amazing live Friday night. My Chem still had the grit for songs like “Teenagers,” and Way let out the beast on “You Know What They Do to Guys Like Us in Prison” and was joined by Sara Taylor of Youth Code, who snarled and growled right alongside him.

“This is fun. We’re having fun,” Way said mid-set. It sounded a bit like a self pep talk, but those in attendance didn’t seem to have any doubts. This didn’t feel like a forced reunion or a money grab; it all felt very genuine. And based on the crowd response, these guys are more than welcome back.

They closed the evening with two encores, taking a brief break after “The Kids From Yesterday” to come back and launch into “Vampire Money” and “Helena,” the latter of which had everyone just roaring along. After another short exit, they came back and gave the fans what they had been waiting for. It’s the anthem for those feeling like they reside on the Island of Misfit Toys. When the first keys were hit for “Welcome to the Black Parade,” there were both cheers and some tears. This was the moment. This was the song. It was all-out chaos and five minutes of unity.

Though they weren’t the main attraction and admitted as much, fellow New Jersey post-hardcore band Thursday were a great warm-up act for this show. It was a good fit, since vocalist Geoff Rickly actually produced My Chem’s debut album, “I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love” back in 2002. They blasted through “Jet Black New Year,” which on record features Way’s deep belly screams, and ended their turn with a cover of The Buzzcocks’ “Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)” with Saves the Day vocalist Chris Conley.

My Chemical Romance

When: Friday, Dec. 20

Where:  The Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall, Los Angeles