7th October 2007
There’s nothing different about Mexico City to the untrained eye on the seventh of October, 2007. Those who know – those who march themselves – can feel it: the electricity building in the air, the humble sense of bubbling excitement beneath the normal rush of the streets. On the seventh of October, 2007, the world is oblivious.
Gerard Way knows what he’s doing. He steps onto the stage at the Palacio de los Deportes in the early evening with his counterparts, and looks around the 20,000 capacity arena – empty. Frank Iero can sense the eeriness of what they’re about to do, and he’s loving it more than he should. Mikey, Ray and Bob can hardly comprehend the sheer volume of what they’re doing. The group know what they’re ending tonight – they also know what they’re beginning.
At 7.53pm, the noise is unbearable. Thousands of fans’ screams can be heard filtering through every wall in the house. As suddenly as it could’ve ended, the pulse begins, crackling with the white noise of the unyielding cries of the jury, but constant. Steady. A rhythm among the chaos. A beat joins it, timid at first, before Gerard’s voice joins it, flooding the stage with melody. Nothing stops the screaming.
This isn’t My Chemical Romance – this is The Black Parade.
Before we know it, the band is in full formation, the crowd going – quite literally – dead with excitement. The punch of the beginning of the all-too-powerful Dead! hits the arena at the speed of light, only invigorating the energy of the congregation.
There’s a blur in which the majority of The Black Parade is put through its paces, the mass of fans never ceasing to join in with soul-crushing enthusiasm, before Gerard stops after the rebellious energy of Teenagers and races through the crowd like bittersweet glucose.
He announces, with a certain sense of excitement, tainted with both relief and grievance, that this is the final performance of The Black Parade – forever. He doesn’t have to tell us who he means when he says he’s come down here to properly kill them off.
The electricity changes, softens, as it did with the poetic iridescence of Cancer, and Disenchanted radiates around the arena. The shouts of kids who have had their lives changed tonight join in, throats sore but still clinging. Famous Last Words follows – a finale to an amazing encore tribute to undeniably one of the most iconic albums in music history.
But of course, it’s not over.
The boys know that they can’t leave the black parade without a tribute to the album’s predecessor, Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge. They finish with Helena – a song dedicated to the woman who started it all – the Way brothers’ grandmother, Elena Lee Rush.
It takes a few hours for the buzz to wear off, Mexico City cleansing itself of adrenaline for the night, weary fans beginning to make their way home as the stars settle, the ghosts of the black parade haunting the arena: Mother War making her rounds down the empty seats, strewn with black streamers; The Escape Artist wandering aimlessly through the pews; Joan of Arc cantering on her black stallion, head held high and hair burning; The Soldiers share a final sorrowful drink, the taste of an unknown victory sour on their lips. The Patient – he fades, his
time coming to an end, his nightmare ceasing, his father leaving him. Fear and relief cloud his mind.
The band believes that this is the end of their misfit family – they don’t know that next year they’ll be accused of being linked to a girl’s suicide, or that their fans will protest against one of the largest tabloids in England on their behalf. They don’t know they’ll go on to create not only a fourth album, but begin to plan a fifth before shocking the world with their departure. There is one thing that they are sure of, though.
The Black Parade is dead.