I was on my way to school, it was another gloomy day in September. I’m not a morning person, but I was feeling more tired and moody than usual, probably because it was cold and foggy outside and all I wanted to do was stay in bed and watch TV. I turned on the radio, hoping a good song would be on to cheer me up.
That’s when the first notes of the new song, “Welcome to the Black Parade,” filled the car. I turned the volume up really loud and began singing. Only My Chemical Romance, my favorite band, can put a smile on my face in the morning. Their songs have a lot of aggression and anger, but at the same time, a positive meaning. I also love that their live shows and music videos are very theatrical. They are not afraid to take risks. On their latest CD they have guest vocals by Liza Minnelli on a track titled “Mama.” Not too many bands would add cabaret to a rock album. As I screamed the words to “Welcome to the Black Parade,” I thought to myself, “What I would give to see them live.”
A couple days later I was listening to their songs on MCR’s MySpace. An entry form for The List caught my eye. All you had to do was type in your name, age and e-mail and you were eligible to “Spend the evening with The Black Parade.” The Black Parade is the name of My Chemical Romance’s album that was coming out Oct. 24th. It’s also their alter ego for the album, a concept record about a character name The Patient, who dies and death comes for him in the form of A Black Parade. I have never won anything in my life. Usually I don’t bother entering contests, but for some reason I had a sudden urge to give it a shot.
One night a few weeks later I was checking my e-mail and I saw “Congratulations” and “My Chemical Romance.” My heart skipped a beat. I opened the e-mail and there was my ticket to see My Chemical Romance, the same band I listen to 100 times a day. I ran into my mom’s room and screamed “MOM, I WON, I WON!!!” “Won what? What are you talking about?” asked my mom, but I was too busy jumping up and down on the bed, screaming, running around like a maniac. Once I calmed down I finally explained to my mom my unbelievable luck.
The next day, Thursday, Oct. 5th, after the longest day of school ever, I was standing in line at the Avalon in Hollywood, clutching my ticket in my hand, my camera in my bag and a huge smile on my face. It was cold and windy, my nose was red, my ears cold as ice, but my excitement numbed the coldness. I had to go by myself, since you could win only one ticket. I got there at 4 p.m. to wait in line because the earlier I got there, the closer up front I would be.
Hours went by. Finally, it was time. 8 o’clock. We went in and I was in the front row, with a perfect view of the stage. It took another hour or so before the lights went out and screams of excitement and joy filled the Avalon. A projector showed a video of the band giving interviews and playing shows. The sound filled all around us and I could feel the vibration under my feet. Then from behind the curtain came the voice of Gerard Way, the lead singer. As he sang the first lyrics from “The End” from behind the curtain, my heart raced faster with excitement. They continued with classics like “Helena” and “Give ‘Em Hell, Kid.”
I have read reviews that say they have extremely energetic shows. Gerard ran back and forth, jumping, pouring water over himself, doing weird hip thrusts (think Elvis Presley meets Axl Rose) and hand gestures he calls “jazz hands.” Frank Iero the guitarist was on his back at times, his eyes closed, jumping around, and managed to hit every chord perfectly. Ray Toro was right in front of me, head banging while playing his guitar and singing back up vocals, sweat dripping from every pore of his face.
It was an awesome crowd. We sang louder then Gerard. It felt like every worry I had was gone, like a trip away from everyday life. The best part of the night was during “I’m Not OK.” Gerard was right above me, and looked straight into my eyes as we sang the words, then winked at me and ran to the other side. It may sound pathetic, but it was one of those moments I’ll never forget.
They performed for a good hour and a half, but the crowd wasn’t ready to go home yet. We chanted “One more song, one more song, one more song!!!” We got what we wished for. “We usual don’t come out a second time, but you guys are awesome tonight so here is a track from our new record,” shouted Gerard. As they played “Famous Last Words” it felt like a sauna in the club. Everyone was crammed together, and we were all sweaty and in pain from getting elbowed, but at that point nothing mattered. The energy, the enthusiasm, the adrenaline rush was worth all the hours I waited in the cold. It was an amazing feeling.
After the show, people lined up near the back door for pictures and autographs. We ended up waiting for about an hour and a half, and it was about 12:30 a.m. when Frank, Mikey Way the bassist, Bob Bryar the drummer and Ray came out.
Then Gerard came out around 1 a.m. By that point my parents had been waiting in the car for about an hour, calling me every 10 minutes yelling at me because I was taking too long. But I wasn’t ready to leave, especially when Gerard was right in front of me. We shook hands and I asked him for a picture. After three attempts to get a decent picture (the flash wouldn’t turn on), we said our good byes. Then I thought it would be awesome if he signed my jeans. So I walked back up to him and he signed them. And now, I have pictures with my favorite band, an amazing concert experience and an awesome pair of jeans signed “XOXO G."