“It’s been a long time, Los Angeles,” gushed a grateful, still baby-faced Gerard Way. “We didn’t know if this was ever gonna happen again, so we really appreciate you showing up.” Not only did fans show up — they’d been camped out at the venue for days.

Outside the Shrine Expo Hall, just before doors opened on Friday night, there was a seemingly endless line filled with weirdos, emo kids old and young, men, women, and teens, erupting into cheers as they periodically saw a Gerard Way-like figure approaching an upstairs window.

A typical Los Angeles show leaves most supporting acts playing to half-empty venues. On Friday night, however, by the time Thursday hit the stage, the Shrine was packed and filled with anticipation.

Lazy loaded image
Mark Beemer

The lights went down, and with the curtains still closed, guitarist Ray Toro’s video intro blared from the speakers: “You like D&D, Audrey Hepburn, Fangoria, Harry Houdini, and croquet. You can’t swim, you can’t dance, and you don’t know karate. Face it, you’re never gonna make it.” The curtain drops with a vengeance as Gerard Way, Frank Iero, Mikey Way, and Ray Toro, erupted into “I’m Not Okay (I Promise).” MCR were back.

Along with drummer Jarrod Alexander, the group left the theatrics, costumes, and pyro behind to play an epic, career-spanning set. Sounding as if they’d never left, the emo gods tackled fan favorites like “Mama,” “Teenagers,” and “Vampire Money”, along with “Thank You for the Venom” and “You Know what They do to Guys Like Us in Prison” (with Youth Code’s Sara Taylor), the deep cut “Our Lady of Sorrows” and the first live performance of “Make Room.” The crowd enthusiastically yelled along with nearly every word.

As the set closed with “The Kids From Yesterday,” the band left the stage one at a time, waving and blowing kisses as they walked off — but of course that wasn’t the end. The band came back for an encore of “Vampire Money” and “Helena,” before returning to the stage for a second. “We have one more song,” Gerard said. “Maybe it’s the one you wanna hear.” With the first piano note of “Welcome to the Black Parade,” the Shrine erupted.

As the crowd slowly left the venue, some fans had streaks of tears lining their faces — a fitting finale for a group that had been away for far too long.

Set List:
I’m Not Okay (I Promise)
Thank You for the Venom
Give ‘Em Hell, Kid
House of Wolves
You Know What They do to Guys Like Us in Prison (with Youth Code’s Sara Taylor)
Make Room
Our Lady of Sorrows
Na Na Na
I Don’t Love You
Famous Last Words
The Kids from Yesterday

Encore 1:
Vampire Money

Encore 2:
Welcome to the Black Parade