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Aug 29, 2011

REVIEW: Fan recaps - Leeds Festival 08/27/11

by mistresscurvy

Leeds, Day Two: My Chemical Romance
Okay, so I am hoping to go back eventually and actually write about what happened yesterday that wasn't just MCR-related, because I saw Patrick Wolf and he was fucking great, and The Offspring were tons of fun and made me feel like I was fifteen again but in a good way (and also gave an ADORABLE fucking shout-out to “our friends in My Chemical Romance who are going to KICK YOUR ASSES” and it was just like the sweetest thing in the world. It makes my fucking DAY to hear bands like The Offspring and Blink, bands they grew up listening to, say shit like that about them. UGH BEST), and 30 Seconds to Mars was really entertaining and interesting to observe, and holy shit, Jared Leto is like the prettiest person alive, I was more than happy to stare at his profile and EYELASHES on the big screens.

BUT let's face it, yesterday was all about My Chem for me, they're the reason I came to fucking Leeds in the first place. So if a ridiculously tl;dr post about ninety minutes of a show sounds like a good time to you, feel free to click through.

I spent most of Friday and early on Saturday studying the layout of the big field and trying to figure out how to get a good spot for the show. The lawn for the main stage is divided roughly into three sections, with a full barrier dividing the front two thirds and then there's a massive big tower and screen in front of the back third. So our plan of attack was to get into the crowd right behind the second barrier during The Offspring and then move up so that we could get that barrier for MCR, and that way we would have something to lean against and also would avoid getting stuck behind anyone super tall, since there was a five foot gap between the pit and where we were. (It's actually incredibly well-designed in terms of crowd control, because it means there's actual SPACE in the middle of the crowd, not just the front, so there's a means of funneling people out if something were to ever happen. I mean, obviously the people running these things have been doing this for a long time and know how to plan it out, but the part of me that always checks for the fire exits at concerts was very happy about that fact.)

This plan worked SPENDIDLY. [personal profile] lokte, [info]redandglenda and I managed to get three full spaces right next to each other up at barrier, and it was PERFECT, because while we were pretty far from the stage and I couldn't see everything all the time, the pit was really fucking muddy and this way we could jump around and be crazy and never be concerned about our footing, and after being on our feet all day yesterday my lower back was slightly cranky with me so having something to lean up against made a HUGE difference. Plus the huge screen was right in front of me, so whenever I needed to see the details I could there as well, and aside from getting ACTUAL barrier there isn't really any place at a show like this where you're going to have an unobstructed view of the whole stage for the whole time, there are just too many people and too many fucking tall ass dudes around.

The thing about this band is that even the fucking pre-show music, which they SO VERY OBVIOUSLY PICKED THEMSELVES, made me completely fall in love with all of them all over again. They played:

Bohemian Rhapsody (which, UGH, all the feelings, and also in terms of playing stuff that made the crowd really happy, this mix was fucking GREAT)
Basket Case by Green Day
Theme from Indiana Jones (dude to my right: “I never thought I'd be singing this at a festival, I'll tell you that.” I LOVE THIS BAND.)
All the Small Things, which just felt like such a lovely gesture, I don't know. And obviously the crowd loved it too, but seriously, this entire pre-show set gave me all the feelings.
Theme from Superman. Who even are they, seriously.
Chop Suey by System Of A Down
I think the last one was No One Knows by Queens of the Stone Age, but I'm not sure completely

I don't have any pictures from the show itself, both because getting into my bag to pull out my camera was just not happening and also I am terrible about taking pictures during shows anyway and none of mine would have come out well from that distance, but I am sure you will believe me when I say that they all looked spectacular and the set was great and the pyro and the fireworks and all that, but to be totally honest I barely noticed the stage effects because I couldn't take my eyes off of the guys themselves for more than a second. Like. The effects were GREAT, but I don't fucking need them at all with this band.

SO FINALLY the stage went black and there was an intro with the Japanese woman from SING and all that, and then the countdown heading straight into Na Na Na. The entire crowd was singing along even during the guitar intro, and when Gerard and the guys finally joined in on the first na na nas, the entire place went NUTS. It was an epic opener, the crowd was immediately into them, and just, the guys were all SO FUCKING HAPPY, and all of them in their Killjoys gear (Frank was wearing the vest when they first came out but lost it pretty quickly), so fucking great. And fucking Dewees and the Mousecat suit, Christ, which felt rather appropriate given how many furries there seem to be at this festival, there are a TON of guys (and some girls) wandering around in animal footie pajamas. I blame Pete Wentz.

That led straight into I'm Not Okay, and again the crowd goes NUTS, singing along to the whole thing, just totally fucking on, I don't really remember a lot of what happened because I was so busy dancing and singing and just having a fucking blast.

And then Gerard asked, are we ready to DANCE and so it was time for PLANETARY. The crowd was super loud singing along with this as well, and one of the things I was happiest about was how fucking into the Danger Days songs the crowd was. We were just as fucking loud during these songs as we were during stuff off The Black Parade.

After Planetary was the first bit of banter, Gerard telling us stuff about how awesome we are, and what a beautiful night it was, and I am not exaggerating when I say that the two hours leading up to their set and the set itself were the four best, clearest hours of the first two days of this festival, by far. I literally could not have asked for more from the weather. For once the fact that the weather shifts every two minutes in England benefited us.

The intro to The Only Hope For Me Is You started, and Gerard did the call and response thing and yelled at us to sing it, LOUDER, and the thing is, when Gerard told us to fucking do something, we just DID IT. Like. He is the best cult leader/Simon Says player of all time. TOHFMIY was great great great, Frank was singing along, it was one of the only songs where I could actually hear him, most of the time I got Ray's backing vocals pretty clearly but not Frank's. This was probably the MCR show that I've been to where I spent the least amount of time looking at Frank, just because we were on Ray's side because it's higher ground and so the overall view was better but Frank stayed upstage for a lot of it. But every time I COULD see Frank (or when he showed up on the screen) he looked like he was midway through an orgasm, so it was a classic Frank performance.

The drums for Destroya started up next and I went nuts, no one else really did at that point, lol at me, I KIND OF HAVE THE INTROS MEMORIZED AT THIS POINT. Gerard did his banter about forming a mosh pit and challenged the crowd to make the biggest pit the day has seen so far, but with some simple ground rules: don't be a fucking asshole, pick each other up, and most of all, HAVE FUN. Gerard is like a kindergarten teacher on a field trip, if they swore a lot more and then touched themselves while making orgasm noises in a way that's awesome and not totally creepy. Or at least creepy in the good way. Whatever, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

When he started saying where are you Destroya, lots of people started to respond, and holy shit, I do not know how he is so fucking hot when he says “come fuck me Destroya,” but just something about him ASKING TO GET FUCKED DOES THINGS TO ME, I know, it's weird and totally unexpected, UGH. This song was fucking unreal. During the first sex noises section, Gerard dragged his hand up his thigh and over his crotch and all the way up his body and it was kind of unbelievably filthy sexy, I don't even know. And the crowd all pumping their fists in time and screaming out was just fucking MAGIC, god. And then at the end, he applauded us and congratulated the pit for a job well done and it was just SO ADORABLE, I feel like most of the time performers don't like shower their audiences with praise for that sort of thing, like GOOD JOB ROCKING OUT BUT IN A SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE WAY, EVERYONE. But Gerard Way is SPECIAL.

There's a little bit of a breathing break before Dewees starts doing the chimes intro to Mama, and once again I start freaking out like a minute before the rest of the crowd. Gerard gets us ready with our hands up in the air, calls them “festival hands,” and then as soon as the clapping starts the whole crowd knows what it is. It was the first TBP song they did, and it was just so fucking great, I love this song live every single fucking time. The breakdown was completely fucking epic, and when we were all swaying with our hands up in the air, waving them back and forth, it just felt magical, honestly.

And that went into House of Wolves, which holy fuck, just the BEST ENERGY and I really loved the way this set just bounced from song to song to song, it was a ridiculously well-crafted setlist in terms of keeping the energy going. And like, OBVIOUSLY I was going to have a very different experience seeing MCR than I did seeing Muse, but the difference in the crowd energy REALLY stuck out at me, I thought that overall MCR was a much, MUCH more successful closing act than Muse was in many ways.


Next Gerard did an intro about how they're not from the UK, they're from the States, where they have their share of violence, and here in England there was recently a fuckton of it, and it means a lot to the band that the crowd is all here at Leeds because of MUSIC, and our love of that, and he was so heartfelt about it, and it really has been a great atmosphere here, even with the rain and the mud and all that shit. Gerard continues on with “that's how you express yourself, when you [I don't remember exactly what he said, but basically it was HAVE ALL THE FEELINGS], you're not going to throw a brick (we're with you, Gerard!), or throw a punch (yup, totally on board!), or yell like Cookie Monster (...okay, SURE), you're going to SING about it!” And then he sort of laughed at himself and then looked over at Frank and they grinned these big grins at each other and all I could think about was OF COURSE Cookie Monster and Sesame Street are suddenly big influences on them, and I died. UGH DADS SO CUTE. But like. I WAS NOT EXPECTING COOKIE MONSTER TO BE A PART OF THE SING INTRO. And then Sing was fucking AMAZING, the crowd was SO LOUD, and during “I am not the singer that you wanted but a DANCER,” his FACE, you guys, I can't even. And then KEEP RUNNING, shouted out with thousands, best best best.

There was a noise jam at...SOME POINT and Gerard was on his knees and then sprawled out on his belly on the ground for a LOT of it and it was about as great as that sounds :D

Oh and THEN. Gerard was talking about how they were just a band in a basement from Jersey, la la la, and now they're headlining festivals, and this is a song they wrote while in a basement, and I was all okay great, time for Vampires and then he's like it's called Our Lady of Sorrows and me and like twenty other people in my general vicinity FREAKED THE FUCK OUT.

ALL THE FEELINGS. Just. This was the one song that they played at some shows during WCT that they didn't do during any of my shows that I would have KILLED to have seen, and to see it live for the first time at fucking LEEDS was so unbelievable, guys. And fuck, but Gerard can SCREAM, and it was amazing to see them get a crowd into a song that the majority of them didn't know, or at least not as well as they knew the other songs they'd been playing, and there was this group of like five hardcore fans standing right in front of us on the other side of the barrier who were going NUTS, and I was right there with them. SO SO GREAT.

Also I believe it was during this song that Gerard just stuck the entire head of the microphone into his mouth and screamed around it while he held it with just his teeth, and that was kind of amazing and kind of really hot, ALL AT ONCE.

And he was so pleased after it that they could do a song they wrote in a BASEMENT while headlining fucking Leeds, and that it WORKED, and my heart burst with joy for them, seriously. He made a comment about how the next time you love a band that's playing in a basement, and you really believe in them, just remember that someday they'll be headlining festivals too, and it's because of US, the fans, and he said that even if they never played any shows ever again after this night, that they would have done everything they could have DREAMED of. And it wasn't a goodbye, or something that's actually going to happen (obviously they still have (at least) half a tour left and are going to be coming off this cycle fucking ready to make more music together, DON'T PANIC, PEOPLE), but I just felt like this is a band that has nothing left to prove, in the best possible way. It's not that there's nothing left for them to accomplish, or achieve, it's that I feel like they have the confidence to try whatever the fuck they want, and know that they can do it. And with some bands that would come off as arrogance, or like a fuck you, and with them it's just magic and possibility and the love and embrace of the unknown, rather than the stifling holding on to past glory and trying to milk and relive those days. It's really fucking inspiring.

He mentioned a lot how it was all because of us that they were there, headlining at Reading and Leeds, and mentioned the UK's support of them specifically, and he just seemed really reflective about the fact that they could DO this now, that they were a band that used to get bottled and heckled at things like this, and last night they fucking held that crowd in the palm of their hands for the entire show. I haven't watched the Reading feed yet, so for all I know the guys and the show felt exactly the same on Friday night, but there was a real sense in this performance that they knew in every part of their bodies that they could do it, this time—like, it was still epic and big and great, but there wasn't anything to prove, they were just getting up there and giving us a fuck of a good time.

I was nervous-excited the whole time waiting for them to go on—not because I didn't think they'd fucking kill, but just because I care about them SO MUCH and am perhaps just the slightest bit overinvested, etc. etc., but the second they walked on that disappeared for me, because they just fucking HAD it. All they needed from me was my love and my voice and my passion, and they fucking got it.

He started talking about how we were all kids and all that, even when we grow up (or don't), and he said that this was a song that was just for them, and that's what I meant earlier by the whole “nothing left to prove” idea, that this was the sort of song that they can continue to make—not this specific sound, necessarily, but that they can write whatever sort of music they're called to do, you know? He instructed us with more “festival hands” to clap along, and god DAMN but I love this song. And there was this FABULOUS moment between Gerard and Mikey that just gave me all the fucking feelings, Gerard went up to him and did his little dance THING while Mikeyway played like a fucking badass, and this was the song when Gerard started dancing to himself and doing his own thing and it was just so goofy and so brilliant and fuck I love him. At the end right before the part where there's a little break in between each “We are the kids from yesterday,” he was all, okay I'm going to do a little dance now, and he would dance-hop upstage and then do a massive walking LUNGE back downstage to get to the mic to sing in to it, and then dance-hop back upstage, lather rinse repeat. IT WAS THE BEST.

And THEN it was time for Famous Last Words, which oh my god, how fucking great was that. And Ray motherfucking Toro, I don't even have WORDS. And singing along together, and Gerard miming “asleep” which as always both cracked me up and made me love him even more, and just. SO FUCKING GREAT.

And then there was the guitar intro to Teenagers, and Gerard talked about the bands that played that day and gave little shoutouts to the bands they're friends with, and was really sweet about The Blackout and Rise Against and The Offspring and 30 Seconds to Mars in particular, and then it was time for Teenagers and that was fucking AWESOME.

That led into Dead! which oh man I was not expecting at ALL at this point, but fuck was it great. Gerard was just his sassy fey little self *flaps hands* I am sort of losing my words again at this point, because after Lady of Sorrows everything else was just a fucking bonus for me, honestly, so I couldn't even BELIEVE that I was getting Dead! too, and THEN.

When the chords for S/C/A/R/EC/R/O/W started, I fucking lost my shit and started screaming and I'm pretty sure some of the people around me were like “what the actual fuck is going on with her” but I do not even care a LITTLE. And it was amazing and holy shit Frank Iero, your HANDS, oh my god. ALL THE FEELINGS. Just. It was such a mood shift and such a great fucking moment, and during RUN RUN BUNNY RUN I thought I was going to cry, I don't even know. And they were just so HAPPY, you guys. HAPPIEST BAND.

After S/C/A/R/EC/R/O/W Gerard started talking about how he was in his favorite band, and they were My Chemical Romance, and that they were his favorite band because it's his band, and if they've ever inspired any of us make our OWN bands that are our favorite bands, because they're ours, that that would be the best thing they could ever do. And while I know he does in part specifically mean making music, I think 'make your own favorite band' is a metaphor (ha) for anything that MEANS something to you, that you create and put out into the world so that you're giving back something, putting something of yourself out there rather than just consuming. But regardless, ALL THE FEELINGS.

All of this speech was happening over the Helena intro, and then he did the whole 'let me hear you say whoa-oh' with us, and during THAT SECTION the dude who was right behind me and [info]redandglenda decided it was the right time to strike up a conversation about how “they're really good, aren't they?” which yes I agree with you but HOLY SHIT I AM NOT INTERESTED IN TALKING ABOUT IT AT THE MOMENT.

In short, dude who tried to talk to me during Helena, WHAT THE FUCK EVER.

But then HELENA, and oh my god it was SO SO SO GOOD. Just. Triumphant and epic and glorious. And there were more festival hands and seriously, by this point in the concert my arms ACHED from being up in the air for basically an hour and a half every time Gerard so much as lifted his hand above his ear, but SO WORTH IT.

They went out for their big break before the encore, and I started to wonder if the Brian May thing was going to be a one-time event, or if it was built into both festival shows. But when Dewees came out and and started noodling around the way he does before Cancer, I knew it was going to be a different encore, which seriously, at that point if Brian May had been on stage in front of me, it might have been TOO MUCH for me to handle. Obviously I would have loved for them to have done it at Leeds as well, but I totally got the experience I wanted just from this amazing band of motherfuckers being on stage in front of me. Plus, yay for all the video to watch once I'm back in Edinburgh tomorrow night! \o/

Cancer was really unbelievable, haunting and great and perfect, and the pause before the “Know that I will [pulls away from mic while we scream out NEVER MARRY]” moment was like forty-five seconds long, it was ridiculous and epic and so fucking Gerard, he just fucking played us, knew he had us right there, ugh. And sometimes the drop in energy during Cancer can be a bit too much during a concert, IMO, but last night we fucking needed it, it was like a breath of fresh air.

And then of course Welcome to the Black Parade. There are no words. This was basically the moment that I had come to Leeds for, to be surrounded by thousands and thousands of people, all chanting along with Gerard, our fists in the air, and then Ray motherfucking Toro going to TOWN and fucking us all with his guitar. And Gerard was just so HAPPY, so fucking there and with us and he kept doing this thing throughout the whole show where he was half blowing us a kiss and half spitting, which sounds REALLY WEIRD and it kind of was but it was also kind of the sweetest thing I've ever seen, I don't even know.

Gerard kept going up to each of the guys during it, and he ruffled Frank's hair and slung an arm around Ray's shoulders while Ray was shredding and just kept LOOKING at Mikey with all the hearts in his eyes, and when WTTBP was over he called them his brothers and gestured them up to the front of the stage together, and the four of them did their whole post-show sort-of-bowing, sort-of-group-hugging thing in front of tens of thousands of people, and Ray kissed the top of Frank's head and we could see ALL THE TEETH because they were just grinning so hard, and THIS BAND LOVES EACH OTHER AND ARE MOTHERFUCKING FAMILY.


At this point I was just so fucking exhausted and completely high from the show, just leaning against the barrier in relief and joy, and I watched as Frank did his whole routine with the baby pictures and bowed to us again as he walked across the stage, and suddenly the pit emptied out in front of us and when we turned around there was no longer anyone pressing up against us, but we just stood there a while longer and watched the techs take down the set and pack it all away, and I was just so proud of them and HAPPY for them.

Plus I kept thinking about how fucking hard this band works—they must have left straight from Leeds to drive down to the south of England, cross the Channel and then be in Paris today for another festival stop before they get back onto a plane and fucking fly all the way to Vancouver for a show on Wednesday on their ACTUAL tour. And you KNOW that they're going to be giving that show just as much as they've given to us here in England or today in France. Just. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH.

SO YEAH. That happened. I'm still sort of in shock, to be honest.

Today I'm taking it easy; my back and neck are kind of cranky at the moment from all the jumping and all that and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by ALL THE PEOPLE, but it's mostly clear today (if really, really windy) so I'm going to try to take a bunch of photographs to really capture the feel of the festival, since I'm not totally distracted by counting down the hours til MCR's set like I was yesterday.

I just. I am so, so happy that when [personal profile] lokte randomly tweeted asking if anyone wanted to go to Leeds with her for MCR, I was fucking crazy enough to say ME I DO. No regrets, all the feelings.

CREDIT: mistresscurvy - livejournal

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