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Aug 21, 2011

REVIEW: Let Me Say This One Thing, Before I Forget (Honda Civic Tour 8/19/11)

Four score and seven years ago… Oh, no, wait! That’s something else. Sorry.

First off, I do want to stress that I was not the reporter for my concert, and I am glad for that because I wouldn't have wanted that much pressure. I only wanted to document the concert for my own behalf (I have the hardest time remembering them beyond the night, so I had a notepad on a chain necklace to keep notes as well as a songlist for My Chemical Romance on a name badge clip). Since I had all of this, I thought I would go ahead and share it.

Six years back, I first heard “Ghost of You” on the radio and fell in love with it. Because of that song, I learned who sang it and that I knew of another of their songs— “Helena”. That’s a much as I paid attention until The Black Parade was released, when “Welcome to the Black Parade” being played on the radio caught my attention. But, as I tend to do with most groups, it wasn’t until I heard a second song, “Famous Last Words,” that I bought the CD—I like knowing there will be more than one song that I’ll like before I make the purchase.

The Black Parade was what made me learn the name Gerard Way, as well as Mikey because I had found that he was g’s little brother. While I also read and knew the names Frank and Ray, I didn’t know Iero or Toro, or whom was whom. Soon, My Chemical Romance was pushed aside by other bands that had out songs soon after, until Art is the Weapon video.

While a coworker, and friend, of mine—rockinoldlady, here—started talking about them, one day. So, I looked them up online, again—as I did every now and again, I would check their twitter pages or the main site, to find the Art is Weapon video online. I simply adored it! “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)” had just been released as a single on the radio. I heard it and thought “I know this voice… it sounds like Gerard Way’s voice. Is it a new one from My Chemical Romance?” Sure enough, it was, and the video came not long after that.

I began to pay attention to My Chemical Romance in a way I never had, before. Suddenly, they became Gerard Way, Mikey Way, Frank Iero, and Ray Toro instead of anonymous members under a band name. What I saw, and read, from then made me a bit sad that I had not dug beyond the surface, prior to 2010, and saw how much creativity and passion every member of the band brings forth to everything he does. That is also why it is so easy to like each and every one and be unable to choose a “favorite;” or perhaps, that’s just me. They also deeply care about their fans, or “kids” as Ray dubs, and try to do something special to return the appreciation given.

Now, enough of that back story because there’s a concert day with which to gush. First, I will start off explaining my outfit for the evening. Since the last few days of May, into June, I planned my new killjoy outfit. I had planned one earlier in the year, but it wouldn’t work due to the long sleeves and August. Those two just do not mix well, together—after how hot it was, yesterday, I’m exceedingly glad I didn’t choose this outfit. So, I sketched out designs using a tank I had bought and shorts I already owned. I used the mask design from the previous killjoy concept but wasn’t satisfied. Somehow, it didn’t fit the new outfit.

After drawing several mask ideas, I chose one inspired by the American Widow Spider from Danger Days. Having just been to a local fabric shop, and saw large mesh, I knew I had to have a vest made of it. Because the killjoys that My Chemical Romance created have bandanas, I made two tie dyed ones—one the way I wanted and one that was an experiment. After they sat long enough for the dye to set, I found I liked the experimental one better than the one I had planned. So, I decided to wear them both.

Completing the outfit took a pair of bright, neon orange Chucks—that I’ve had for years, now but rarely get a chance to wear; a dozen of bracelets—some jelly, some beaded that I made over the years, and one slap bracelet; four necklaces; four pins; and six glow stick bracelets with one glow stick necklace. On my arms, I wrote “Never Say Never” on my left arm, and “We’ll Carry On” on the right. Rockinoldlady, and another of our coworkers worked to take a stencil I’d made to get spider-leg style MCR written on my upper arm. I found that they don’t make permanent marker as I remember. Now, one wash, and it’s almost gone.

For Rockinoldlady, I drew and created an American Widow stencil, as well as a larger version of the spider-leg style MCR for her orange, spider style tie dye tank. I first drew both on with a black, Tulip Fabric Marker, then went over them with Tulip Puffy paint to get them dimension. She went, on Wednesday, and had her toe nails painted to match her shirt. On Thursday, she stood on my desk and had me draw the American Widow and MCR on her big toe nails. She, too, wore a few glow stick bracelets, but they were only orange.

The friend that I was riding to the concert with also got into the spirit, a little. For him, I made a custom sponge tie dye tank with the American Widow inspiration. Unfortunately, the colors bled more than I liked, after I rinsed it, but he was cool with it. On his own time, he painted a mask of his own with diagonal, parallel red and silver stripes.

 While it took longer than needed, because we missed our exit due to a conflict of my instructions, and his, we finally arrived at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. This was my third concert at this venue, and I was pleasantly happy with it. Somehow, I have a negative relation to the place, although I don’t know why because it was rather enjoyable. Of course, I did get frustrated when I listened to my mother and froze my bottle of water so it would be cold only for it to not thaw out when I arrived—so, I had to throw it away, and rightfully so because of the danger it poses. But, I bought a soda for $9 with a free refill—making the price not so bad considering things. But, I made that large soda last through the whole night.

When I checked the day before, it said that it would be Scattered thunder storms all day until 6p.m. with temperatures never getting out of the upper 80s. Yeah, that was a fail on their part. It was sunny all day with temperatures at about 95 while the sun was in the sky. I saw a lot of people in pants, and one girl in a three-quarter length sleeves. I don’t know how they weren’t smothering from the heat.

Rockinoldlady, and the person she brought with her, arrived by cab about forty-five after six, and we all took our seats in Left AA. I was disappointed that I saw so few dressed as killjoys outside the pit (I'm sure they must have been there). Of the My Chem fans I saw, only one paused to speak—and she wanted to say she liked my shoes. But, one person texted to the honda civic tour, "I'm here for your Killjoys - Korse," and I loved it.

The show started right on time, which surprised me—I’m used to shows where it takes longer than printed start time to do a final check of the instruments and equipment. Manchester Orchestra took the stage. After having been listening to their songs the day before, and loving what I heard, I was excited to get to see them perform. I was quite pleased, although they only played one of the songs I had played enough times to recognize. But, it’s my favorite I’ve heard, so far. It was “I Can Barely Breathe.” I was a little sad that they didn’t play “Simple Math,” the title track off of their new CD. While I didn’t know all of the songs, I made sure to scribble down a line, that I could actually hear and understand, so I could look it up later.

Here is the set list for them:
1. Pride
2. April Fool
3. Now That You’re Home
4. My Friend Marcus
5. I’ve Got Friends
6. (I’m sorry, I didn’t write down anything for this one because I stopped to snack; I was getting a little shaky from not having ate for five hours. If anyone knows what it was, please comment with the title, and I’ll update this.)
7. I Can Barely Breathe

Then, they announced coming up next was My Chemical Romance, and off the stage they went as the sun was setting.

I have to say I was mega excited during this short break because My Chemical Romance was the reason I was at the show. I saw them in December, and I couldn’t wait to see them, again. Even, now, it still seems unreal that I was even there, yesterday. I had been having crazy dreams about seeing them in concert for weeks, and it seemed like just one more. But, it was very real no matter how surreal it felt to me.
The first person I saw was Ray stepping out from the side of the stage to behind the equipment. I’ll admit, I gasped and felt downright giddy to see him. It signified the wait was finally over for their set.

Set list:
1. Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)
2. Give ‘Em Hell, Kid
3. Planetary (GO!)
4. Helena
5. The Kids From Yesterday
6. The Only Hope For Me is You
7. Welcome to the Black Parade
9. Mama
10. Teenagers
11. I’m Not Okay (I Promise)
12. Famous Last Words

As always, My Chemical Romance owned the stage while they performed, and Gerard—in the black and yellow shirt he wore most of the time for the World Contamination Tour, including one for the Planetary (GO!) video—made good use of it. There were so many times that I would glance at either Mikey, Frank, or Ray then look around thinking “Where the Hell did Gerard go?” I could still hear him singing but lacked a visual. Of course, the people standing up in the box seats in front of row AA blocked some of my vision and added to this, especially when he dropped to the stage floor. But, it was mostly because g roamed the stage (one time, he was behind the speakers stacked up next to Ray). If not for the large screens, I would have never been able to keep track of him.

Frank didn’t seem to have a cold this time, as I think he did for December, but my view of him was limited. That is rather sad because we chose the left to be on his side. Rockinoldlady could barely see him at all because where the speakers to his right were positioned. I have no idea how he was able to wear that cardigan for most of the set with the heat of being outside and from all of the lights.

For Planetary, people brought out giant, inflatable balloons and threw them into the crowd. It wasn’t until my friend pointed it out did I realize that g had a knife and was popping the ones that got close to the stage. This wasn’t to be mean or hateful, it was to send a flurry of glittery confetti raining down on the people in the pit. Each balloon he stabbed, the confetti snowed down upon them. I loved it and wonder if perhaps it was one of the band’s creations.

I’m afraid I didn’t keep good track of when all these comments and notes were from, but here are a collection.

At the end of “Give Em Hell Kid“, Gerard went to his hands and knees to the stage floor while Mikey, Ray, Frank, and Michael kept playing.

After “Planetary,” g told us something along these lines “I want to see everyone’s hands up. Keep them up! How many of you are new to a MCR show? How many have been before?” Then, he told those of us who had been to their show(s) to show the newbies how “we” do it. So, he gave us all trials of echoing him. He started out with an Ohh-ohh, we answered back, and he continued to do this for about four of five times (each oh being modified). Then, “Helena” began.

Before “The Kids From Yesterday,” g told us he wanted us to dance saying, “If you think you’re pretty, if you think your ugly, if you think you’re skinny, if you think you’re fat, you are none of the above. You are beautiful, all of you.” He then told us to dance however we wanted to the song because he was going to dance how he wanted.

During “Welcome to the Black Parade,” I noticed the backdrop had changed from the American Widow to the black cover of The Black Parade with the skeleton marching band leader. I thought that was really cool that the background changed for it, but it only changed to the specific albums twice. There was the bloody couple of Three Cheers, at some point (I think for I’m Not Okay), too.

I’m not sure if it was after “Welcome to the Black Parade” or “DESTROYA,” which Rockinoldlady and I were stoked to hear after hoping to see it live when we watched the special online only clip of the song from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. But, g did say this at one point, “Fuck, St. Louis, man, shit.” It wasn’t meant to be bad, either, although it sounds that way. He was just appreciative of our enthusiasm.

At the ending notes of “Teenagers,” g held up his right hand and pretended to shoot himself in the head, which I found amusing.

Early during the show he made a comment along these lines, “Every night, the crowds get better and better, but you are the best by far.” I don’t know if someone in the pit yelled something out to him, but he added to that with something such as, “And, I’m not just saying that. I’d tell someone they suck, I’d tell them anything I want.” I believe he would because as polite a man as he is, he does not play games and say things he doesn’t mean. He’ll stand by his words, even if he takes a lot of hell for it. He means what he says, and that’s nice. But, I’m sure Chicago’s crowd will dwarf us, tonight, and the next city will over throw them, and so on until the end of the tour. It made us feel special, though.

After one of the songs, and I just don’t remember which one, Gerard told the pit to spread out and take care of each other. If someone falls down, pick them up, and that’s how it should be. A lot of people note this sort of commentary from g, but it’s very endearing that he’s caring about those people in the pit. They are brave souls to be there because I have only been in the pit for tamer, pop bands and have had more than my fill of it. So, kudos for the pit people for being willing to take being trampled just to show the bands onstage love up close.

Again, during the show, g told us “It’s been a while since we were here. Last time we were here was around Christmas. There was snow, and it was so pretty. So, thanks to everyone who showed up, then, and thank you to all of you who showed up, tonight!” I thought it was nice, and I was shocked that he actually recalled an approximate time that they were last in St. Louis as well as there being snow (I had even forgotten that until my friend said that there had, in fact, been snow on the ground that day. All I remembered was it being twenty-seven degrees).

Just in case you’re like me, and like knowing what g has scribbled upon his left arm every show, he had written THREE there for our concert.

Before some of the last couple songs, Gerard told us to make some noise for Manchester Orchestra. We did. Then, he told us to make some noise for the band that invited them to play on the Honda Civic Tour, “the three gentlemen, Mark, Tom, Travis, Blink 182!” And, we made some noise to show our gratitude (from the MCRmy, at least) and excitement.

During his closing words, g had this to say “And, we don’t give a shit what any one thinks about us!” This made me smile not only for it being the way the band has always felt but for the fact that on Thursday, a friend of a friend (who does not like MCR because of the dreaded “emo” connection they get so very much) made a snide comment about them. It really dampened my excitement and hurt my feelings. While I had already let it go, g’s comment just strengthened me (okay, I can’t resist saying this, but it helped to make my heart more bulletproof).

Then, they left the stage leaving their fans wanting more (that’s how it should be, of course). The entire set, Rockinoldlady and I never stopped moving, but I wasn’t tired. Every moment had been terrific, although I’m sure that can’t be said for the people that were behind us because I’m sure we made a pretty solid human wall as much as we moved around during songs.

I was impressed by how quickly the crew removed one set and got the next prepped for its band. I don’t think it was longer than fifteen minutes between My Chemical Romance stepping off of the stage to Blink 182 stepping onto it. If it was, it sure didn’t seem that way.

Now, I will say that although one of my good friends in high school’s favorite bands was Blink 182, I was never an avid fan of theirs. I liked the hits, but I’ve never bought a CD of theirs. For this reason, I never would have just gone to a concert of theirs had a band I love not been performing. But, I will say I am very glad I got to see them live because we got music, we got comedy, we got lasers, and we got stunts.

Set List:
1.Feelin This
2. Up All Night
4. What’s My Age, Again?
5. Down
6. I Miss You
7. Stay Together For the Kids
8. (I’m afraid my notes for this song were not good enough, and I couldn’t find the name to this song. I had written “When I can drink” as being a lyric I heard, but that didn’t give me a result I wanted because this line was repeated over and over again, not just once. I think I just heard it wrong, but I did have a hard time catching lyrics to the songs I didn’t know. As before, if anyone knows the song that they played, here, comment and I’ll update this)
9. Always
10. Violence
11. After Midnight
12. First Date
13. Heart’s All Gone
14. Man Overboard
15. Ghost on the Dance Floor
16. All the Small Things
17. Josie

Travis’ epic stunt solo
Encore 1. Carousel
Encore 2. Dammit

During the entire show, once the sun had set, someone had a green laser pointer shining it on the large screens. Now, the venue forbids having these, but it wouldn’t have been hard to sneak it inside. But, Mark finally called this person out after ROCKSHOW.

“Put down your laser, asshole! My laser will destroy your laser!” During “What’s My Age, Again,” we saw the laser once more then never again. Win for Mark. Oh, and his lasers did beat that laser come “Violence.” Probably before, but I didn’t think of it until that song.

After ROCKSHOW, Mark announced that was it, they were finished. That was all we needed. He and Tom reiterated on that. Then, they continued talking about what they had in store, and Tom commented that at song number eight, he would expose himself. No, he didn’t, if you were wondering/hoping.
During the chorus of “Down,” the movement of the white spot lights was so gorgeous.
After “Down,” Tom commented on the heat. “I love how accommodating you are. Your air comes already presweated.”

After “Stay Together for the Kids,” Mark announced “I need a drink.” I don’t know if this was another homage to the next song they were going to play, or not. Regardless, he still took a swig from a red plastic cup.

They commented about Manchester Orchestra looking as if they were dressed to play soccer with the shorts they were wearing. They also commented on the beards. Mark then asked the ladies what they thought of Gerard, and that got quiet a few screams. Then, he and Tom discussed if Gerard could grow a beard. Tom finally said “He can’t grow a beard like Manchester Orchestra.” To which Mark chimed in, “But, if it was about who was the dreamiest, it’d be Gerard.”

After the eighth song, again I don’t know what it’s title was, Mark told us all to give it up for Travis. We did, and rightfully so. Then, Tom announced the next song “Always,” was “For all the girls from Missoura.” By the way, this isn’t a typo, he said it that way.

After “Always,” Mark made Travis show off for all of us, and it was awesome.

After “Violence,” Tom told us, “I come to St. Louis and kick the shit out of your barbeque. I know that’s mostly a Kansas City thing, but if you have it, I do it better.”

Then, Mark moved onward. “We have a new CD coming out in September; and out of all the songs on it, this is definitely one of them.” It was “After Midnight.” That song seemed to be the “blue period” of the evening.

Okay, so maybe it was more purple because of fog.

After that one was over, Tom told us about the next song. “This is an old romantic song I wrote about my wife, over there… she’s not listening.” The song was “First Date.” After the song was over, Tom continued to sing the song… sort of. “Let’s make this prostrate exam last for ever.” When the crowd laughed, he commented, “You guys laugh at everything. I love it. You’re so ticklish.”

Then, Mark told us, “This is a new one that sounds like an old one, and it‘s for the people in the lawn.” It was “Hearts All Gone.” After it was over, I don’t remember (or have notes) for what they said, but it must not have gotten the response Tom expected because he told us, “Wake the fuck up, Missoura.”

At the end of “Man Overboard,” Tom dropped onto the stage floor. Mark asked, “Tom, are you okay” and commented we needed to give him a minute because Tom isn’t used to that kind of work-out. Then, Tom leapt to his feet and said he wasn’t used to the humidity. Mark told him if he’d take off his hat, to which Tom quipped, “You know what I got under this hat? A thousand little gremlins that run around and tell me I’m awesome.”

After “All the Small Things,” Tom commented, “I always thought St. Louis was a good place to raise a family; but now, I think it’s full of crime. Look, someone stole that guy’s shirt.” He had the crew shine a spot light on the guy in the pit, and they asked who took his shirt. Mark told us, “We’re not playing the next song until he gets his shirt back.” It was only a few seconds before he said, “Oh, he got his shirt back.”

Before “Josie” started, Tom dedicated as such, “For all the ladies in the house.” After the song, Mark announced, “We’re Blink 182, and we’re gonna pretend the show’s over, now.” The lights on stage went black, and a sheer, black curtain fell. Of course, we knew it wasn’t over by Mark’s comment, and by the fact that the lights in the seats weren’t lit. But, I noticed a lot of My Chem fans begin to leave to get ahead of the crowd.

For a while, the crowd chanted “Encore” and clapped in a pace that was slow then rapid. I wondered why it was taking so long to begin the encore, but I soon found out the reason.

Now, I do have to stress this, if you are going to a concert and don't want to risk having something spoiled, SKIP the next two paragraphs!

When the stage lights lit, again, Travis was set up on a crane arm that hovered above the stage floor. As he pounded out an amazing solo, with a song just for him accompanying him, the crane arm moved him out over the left hand side of the pit. It moved to the right until it was dead center over the pit. Then, it rose upward. From there, the actual platform pivoted downward so the drumset was diagonal. It pivoted back into place, and the crane lifted Travis all the way up to the venue ceiling. It came down, and pivoted the platform until the entire arm was at an angle. This continue for long time, and it was absolutely a-mazing! It was definitely worth staying to see, and sitting for an hour in the parking lot waiting for traffic to thin.

Finally, the crane returned Travis to the stage floor, and he unlatched his harness. The crew quickly moved the equipment out of the way, and Mark was visible with his glowing, pink bass and pants cuffs that glowed blue. The lights came on, and Travis starting playing with only his right hand as he took a drink from a clear, plastic cup with his left. The man is truly, hands down, talented.

While they played “Carousel,” Mark cut in at the very end to say “I’m Mark!” Everyone laughed.
Before beginning “Dammit,” someone said, “Take your pants off,” but I forget if it was Tom or Mark. I’d wager it was Tom. During this song, the spot lights were so bright that all I could think of was Manfred Mann’s song “Blinded by the Light.”

When the song ended, Tom told us, “This is a fucking great show, thank you, goodnight!” Then, the confetti cannons went off, and a snow storm of glittery confetti poured down upon the pit and some of the lower level reserved seating. That was amazing to see, even though I felt bad for the clean up crew who had to remove it after everyone left to go home.

I had never been to that sort of rock show, and I’m grateful that I got to, thanks to my love for My Chemical Romance. Not only was I entertained, but it was very nostalgic for me because of my childhood friend’s love of BLINK. I didn’t know all of the songs that were played, but I sang as loud as could for the songs I did. Blink 182 knows how to put on a show, I will definitely say that. But, they’ve had almost twenty years of experience to back up their skills.

Now, it makes me wish I could get to see another of the Honda Civic Tour dates.

As a side note, Blink also made me forget how sad I was to see My Chemical Romance’s set end. I do hope that after the Honda Civic Tour that they’ll do one more tour for Danger Days, and return to St. Louis (we didn’t get to be a part of the actual World Contamination Tour). Of course, I don’t want them to get burnt out, as they did with The Black Parade. So, if I haved to wait for another album in order to see them again, it is more than well worth it. I can wait, and will wait, for however long it takes.

To conclude this uber long blog, I have this to say. My Chemical Romance are a band that knows where they’ve been, how they got here, but never loses the view in front of them. What lies ahead is the journey, another new adventure with which to plot the course. They aren’t the heroes to the story, no one is, they are the narrators. And, it’s an open book.


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