To be honest, I don’t think anything has made me feel older than waiting in line to get into a Gerard Way show, all alone, on a chilly San Francisco night. So many teenage girls with their moms who are closer to my age than they are. All pumped up with teenager energy and hormones. It was overwhelming and energy sucking. I can’t even imagine how Gerard Way must feel, looking at this crowd, when he is a year older than me, married and a Dad himself. It must be weird to say the least. I will say though that at least a lot of them looked like the disaffected youth that would have been the original fans of his former band My Chemical Romance. But now that being weird is normal, who knows if they have the same insecurities and pain that the original “emo” fans of his would have had, like myself. So, what kind of night would it be? Would all that teenage energy turn into something beautiful? Something destructive? Or just throb into something else completely?
The opener of the show was a band called The Eeries. They are a basic four piece Rock band with a 90’s twinge, which oddly enough sounds kind of poppy to me in the current musical atmosphere. Definitely reminiscent of Weezer and Nirvana. Grunge with a pop polish. Their first single “Cool Kid”, which they closed with, lyrically really pushes the 90’s nostalgia trend. It’s almost painfully familiar. The crowd was really into it though. Maybe this is a new and fresh sound to their young ears? Maybe I’m missing something? But the band was tight and good, and the singer/songwriter Isaiah Silva was engaging and full of charming banter between the songs. So overall their set was fairly enjoyable, at least enough to go by pretty quickly, and it was back to impatiently waiting for the star of the night to appear.
When Gerard Way made his way on stage he was ready to play the star of the show, and the crowd was happy to scream and scream for it. He opened the set with the slow power of “The Bureau” which is also the lead track from his new album Hesitant Alien. From my lucky vantage point in the photo pit for the first three songs I enjoyed Mr. Way’s posing and strutting and intense presence. He went into “Action Cat” for his second song, making me slightly worried the show was just going to be a play through of the album, but of course he had to save the next song on the album (“No Shows” his first single) for the closer at the end, so the musical order started switching it up from there.
If there’s one thing to say about Gerard Way as a performer, it is his intense emotion on stage that makes him stand apart and draws you in. I found myself writing in my notes from the show “he’s one hell of an emoter!”, which probably isn’t a word, but the amount of emotion that this man can pull through his voice is quite astounding and enthralling. His voice is powerful as is his stage presence, and all that emotion makes the room feel so much more personal than it would with another artist. So when he took time out of his set to implore us to think of ourselves as beautiful you actually believed that he means it and wants all of his fans to really feel ok in their skin. Maybe it was a little Christina Aguilera-esque, but it was a nice sentiment. At least the audience decided to go with it and radiate as much positive energy back at him as possible.
Then, a short, sweet and intense hour and fifteen minutes later, the show was over, and we were sent on our way, hopefully each attendee feeling a little better than they did before. I know I wasn’t thinking about being old anymore, which is at least something.
And lastly, to spread just a bit of the Gerard Way love I’d like to tell you all that you are beautiful just the way you are, and you are full of power and life and don’t let anyone take that away from you. What else is music there for other than to remind us of that? The power and beauty in our own individuality and humanity. Thanks Gerard Way for reminding me.