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My Chemical Romance Reunion Is Almost Here: Our Setlist Wishlist

My Chemical Romance 2011 Shockwaves NME
Richard Young/Shutterstock

When My Chemical Romance teased four cryptic logos and then subsequently announced a one-night-only reunion show on Oct. 31, Killjoys rightfully lost their minds. The band hadn’t performed together since 2012 and officially announced its breakup on March 22, 2013. Unanswered questions were aplenty: did it mean new music? Would a full-length tour be announced shortly after? One day out from the show, Variety‘s resident MCR experts, social media editor Meg Zukin and editorial intern LaTesha Harris, discuss what songs would make their reunion setlist wishlist for Friday’s show at L.A’s Shrine Expo Hall:

“Welcome to the Black Parade” (from “The Black Parade”)
MZ: From that first piano key, you know s— is about to go down. When you hear the acoustic intro into “Welcome to the Black Parade,” you are transported back to a time when Gerard Way had peroxide white hair.
LH: I honestly have nothing to say about this one. I’ve angst-cried to this a hundred times. I get anxiety because I feel like I have to lead an army in the name of a cause.
MZ: I feel sacrificial because I feel like I’m following Gerard himself into battle. I also think the change in tempo is one of the most iconic transitions to ever play on the iPods of middle schoolers, ever.

“The End.” (from “The Black Parade”)
MZ: This brings me back to Vans Warped Tour in a way that if you haven’t attended a Vans Warped Tour and weren’t into Never Shout Never, this specific singing style, I think, isn’t as important. I don’t love this song, it’s not one of my favorites, but it prompts such nostalgia for when people had that, like, twangy, talk-y, type of singing style. Do you know what I mean?
LH: It’s weird to look back at all of these MCR songs and know that they’ve inspired so many different musicians because you can hear it. This song is so, what’s that one song —
MZ: [starts singing “Trouble” by Never Shout Never] If “The End.” came out today, I would be confused. I think it’s very symbolic of an era.

“Summertime” (from “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys”)
LH: I love “Summertime.” It always brings me back to sitting on the bus on the ride home from middle school, looking out the window and pining after my best friend. And I’d be so emo and so in love, you know? It’s cute.
MZ: This song has hints of sweetness that aren’t as evident in a lot of their other tracks and there’s an innocence that shines through that’s also surface-level missing from their other songs.
LH: It’s also very Boys Like Girls, Metro Station, but obviously better.
MZ: When you listen to this, you’re pretending that you’re leaving your town forever when your mom is just driving you to the grocery store.

“Headfirst for Halos” (from “I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love”)
MZ: I don’t need them to play this. Sometimes, I feel like a bit of a sellout or a faux fan because I really do feel like the songs that I need from them live are some of the bigger bangers.
LH: I hear that. I think this one’s very much their early garage stuff, but still with hints of what’s to come, so it would be fun to hear it live, but I don’t absolutely need it. I really do love this guitar breakdown, so it could be maybe a cute little transition snippet.
MZ: Yeah, it could be a more relaxing moment when they want to switch gears.
LH: Like screamo? What? We’re adults.

“Teenagers” (from “The Black Parade”)
MZ: I’m at a loss for words. This sentiment only increases with every year I age. I’m so fascinated by teenagers and I think I’m always going to have my teenage self inside of me who hates authority and rolls her eyes and talks back and is a full b—-. I think teenagers possess a disregard that nobody else has. Teenagers don’t give a f—. Even insecure teenagers hate you and are intimidating. My message to teenagers is to hold on to that and harness it for good and in a way that you can access it as an adult. Teenagers do scare the living s— out of me!
LH: I remember feeling so powerful listening to this song. But I was that teenager who’s scared to give a presentation, so whenever I’d cry in the bathroom after giving a presentation I’d listen to this song and be like, “I am a cog in the murder machine. No one can tell me s—.”
MZ: Exactly! Nobody can tell teenagers s—; they are always one step ahead. Also, the angst that exists in this song … I guess this is why I’m a Killjoy, because I’ll always have this same level of angst regardless of age.

“Planetary (GO!)” (from “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys”)
MZ: This is a cool song. This is losing your innocence in the back of a limo, or, more realistically, sneaking out and driving to a view.
LH: Yeah it’s like, you’re getting in your car for the first time and drinking champagne and going out and going crazy. I love that. It’s for partying.
MZ: This song means you’re doing stuff. You’re mobilizing.
LH: You’re organizing.
MZ: This is a community organizational anthem. Am I wrong?
LH: No, you’re not.

“Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)” (from “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys”)
LH: Killjoys make some noise! Moshing to this one … this one’s sexy in a rude, abrasive way.
MZ: This song is, “Nobody gets me and they never will, but I can’t wait to leave this town and find my people.”
LH: Will you make it there? We’re not sure.

“The Only Hope for Me Is You” (from “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys”)
LH: Oh … “remember me” [starts singing]. The thing about this one is that I don’t absolutely need to hear it live, but it’ll be nice as a singalong and everyone will know the words. And it’s a nice bonding moment. We’re not going to be able to mosh the entire time.
MZ: We’re not young like we once were, and that’s something we need to remember.

“I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” (from “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge”)
MZ: Special mention to the parentheses — “I promise” — in the title of this song. I need to hear it because, like I said with some of the other songs, this transports me back to my preteen/teen self, for better or worse.
LH: Yeah, you’re always wearing all black and Vans. It’s like, “Did you grow up?”
MZ: I didn’t, to tell you the truth.

“The Jetset Life Is Gonna Kill You” (from “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge”)
LH: This is another song where I don’t absolutely need to hear it live, but that one line when Gerard speaks in Spanish for three seconds? Bilingual king.

“Vampire Money” (from “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys”)
MZ: I want to hear this in the first half of the show, I think it’s a pump-up, good song to start up the crowd. Not necessarily the first song, but —
LH:The third or fourth. It’s very upbeat and let’s kill somebody tonight. Honestly, I want to manifest Robert Pattinson coming on stage and dancing to this one. It’d be so fun — a little throwback to when “Twilight” was a thing. Wouldn’t that be cute?
MZ: It’d be better than cute. It would almost be better than his Actors on Actors interview with Jennifer Lopez.
LH: Link here?

“Give ‘Em Hell, Kid” (from “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge”)
MZ: The eyeliner is applied. The bangs are flat-ironed.
LH: It’s so angry. They’re definitely going to play this because it used to be Mikey and Gerard’s favorite to perform this.
MZ: Is this a banger? Yes. Does listening to this song make me think about my own personal growth? Yes. [Silently stares off into the distance.]

“Bulletproof Heart” (from “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys”)
LH: Mozart wishes he could have this piano moment. Do you hear that? Is that a piano?
MZ: Coldplay wishes. If they didn’t play this live, the crowd would rightfully be pissed.

“Party Poison” (from “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys”)
LH: This should’ve been on the “Mad Max: Fury Road” soundtrack. It’s very anti-party, but let’s party and that’s a little about bringing down the establishment! You know?
MZ: This is a type of MCR you could work out to.
LH: Ew, that’s such an interesting take.

“DESTROYA” (from “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys”)
LH: I love this intro, first of all. This song is the best combination of their early garage band sound with the techno-wave newer rock they had going on.
MZ: Hearing him say “check, check” … No comment.
LH: This song is hornier than “Cats.”

“Thank You For The Venom” (from “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge”)
LH: I’ve always loved the fan engagement and interaction MCR is known for, and this song is a nice little like, “shout out to you guys.” And it’ll mean a lot to hear at a reunion show.
MZ: A little fan service.
LH: A little “Rise of the Skywalker,” if you will.

“SING” (from “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys”)
LH: It’s crazy how 9/11 started MCR and “Glee” ended them with this cover.
MZ: Hearing this live will bring me to tears or close to it. Huge pangs of nostalgia tears. Note to MCR: End the show with this.