My Chemical Romance @ Budapest Park, Budapest, Hungary

Words: Miljan Milekić

My Chemical Romance is a cult. Not in a let’s-all-drink-poison-and-kill-ourselves kind of way but in the means of togetherness and the strong connection they have with their fans. Even twelve years since they released any new music, and after a six-year hiatus, their fanbase is only getting bigger, and the connection is only getting deeper. I knew all that for years, I was well aware of it before the Budapest show, but I’m even more certain of it after seeing them live.

From the moment it was announced, this was a show we knew we had to be at. Only a handful of European shows on their comeback tour meant that every one of them would be special, and if there’s one tour to be in Europe in 2022, it’s this one. And it certainly helps that the show was in one of the best venues in the world. So yeah, it would be an understatement to say that my expectations from this show were high, and luckily, all of them turned out to be true.

Slowly entering the stage, after a warm-up set from Barns Courtney, to the pulsating intro to ‘The Foundations of Decay,’ the five-piece started their build-up through the six-minute-long comeback single, sucking the crowd into their realm, only to deliver the first blast in the form of ‘I’m Not Okay (I Promise).’ The fans were ready. A decade of not being able to see the band live, two years of the pandemic, months of lockdowns, quarantines, and frustration, the peer pressure of everything that’s going on in the world right now, everything was in that short, yet powerful scream. Front to back, we may not be OK, but at least we’re not OK together.

And that may be the biggest power of this band. Their music was always resonating with young people, those on the margins, those who felt outcasted and unaccepted – shout out to the boys and girls in the front row flying the Rainbow flag – showing them they’re not alone and bringing them together. From that point, the band could easily switch autopilot if they wanted, but it’s the My Chem we’re talking about. They didn’t miss the opportunity to say how much it means to them that people still care about their music and how they never take that for granted.

And just by looking at the stage, it was clear they meant it. At any time, all the band members looked happy on stage, enjoying every bit of it, and it felt throughout the whole show. It wasn’t long before the band fired up some more massive hits in the form of ‘Famous Last Words,’ sung by every person in the crowd, ‘Na Na Na,’ or ‘Teenagers,’ both of which received the same treatment from the crowd. They tried to keep things fresh by shaking things up, touching on all four records, and even dropping in ‘Make Room!!!!,’ which is slowly turning into a staple in their set since the reunion.

The end of the snow was slowly announced with ‘Mama,’ ‘Helena,’ and ‘Cancer,’ sending fans into a frenzy before the band came up on stage to take us back to 2002 with ‘Headfirst for Halos.’ The end of the show was simply from another world, with the legendary ‘Welcome To Black Parade,’ sung by every soul in the packed Budapest Park. Gerard Way, one of the greatest singers of his generation, powerful as ever, was no match for the fans in front of him.

I always thought My Chemical Romance were influential, but it wasn’t until their reunion that I understood how much. From their beginnings, their music was aimed at young people in their formative years, myself included, and often, they were dismissed because of that. Watching them in 2022, things are a little bit different. Yes, there were still many teenage kids in the crowd, wearing black and donning eyeliners, but there were also generations of fans who grew up with the band, still appreciating what their music meant to them. And yes, speaking to young people is important, now maybe more than ever, and My Chem are there for them.

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