My Chemical Romance Give First Look at U.S. Tour
Light shows, costumes, and a set list featuring deep cuts: Guitarist Ray Toro breaks down the group's most intimate trek in years.
Since releasing their epic Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys in November, My Chemical Romance have spent the bulk of their time touring Europe and Asia. But the pop-punk heroes are finally bringing their live circus to the States for 33 dates that kick off tonight in Oakland, CA — and they’re promising to deliver a colorful spectacle at some of the most intimate venues they’ve played in years.
“We have an incredible light show,” guitarist Ray Toro tells SPIN. “Before we used to use a smaller palette of color, but now we’ve got all these neons and purples and pinks and reds and yellows. It’s just really bright and bold.”
The tour will be a radical departure from the goth-inspired look of The Black Parade tour — and Gerard Way and Co. have enlisted top lighting director Ethan Weber, who’sworked for the Stones and U2, to design the show. The group is also sporting eye-popping costumes similar to those in the “Na Na Na” video and they’ve slathered their gear in psychedelic paint. “Every amp and cabinet is custom painted,” says Toro. “And it’s really cool because all the fans are dressing up in costumes and outfits – they become part of the show. It’s really crazy.”
In terms of the set list, My Chem, who are backed once again by Reggie and the Full Effect’s James Dewees on keyboards, will lean heavy on Danger Days material. But they’ve decided to not play the record straight through, a tactic that grew wearisome when touring behind Parade.”It became a little bit like a Broadway play every night,” says Toro. “We enjoyed it at first, but it felt like we were locked in a box.”
That set list change-up will result in plenty of improvisational moments, which often find Way testing out new lyrics and melodies. “James will write these on-the-spot transitions and we’ll follow his lead a little bit,” says Toro. “He’ll play a keyboard part and Gerard [Way] will come up with a vocal melody. It’s almost like playing a new song between songs. It’s all on the fly and we make it up as we go along.” My Chem will also dip into tracks from their basement album I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love and Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge.
“Overall, the kids are loving it,” says Toro of European fans’ reactions. “But we’re psyched to be back in the U.S. We’ve been overseas for so long that it started to feel normal there. Back here, I wonder if we’re gonna feel like aliens or something.”