MANHATTAN, NY—Almost two years after My Chemical Romance called it quits, former frontman and jack of all trades Gerard Way has returned to music with his debut solo album, Hesitant Alien, which was released this past September. Making his first live appearances Stateside to promote the album, Way embarked on a short, eight-stop tour in the fall, which included three shows in California and the rest scattered throughout the Northeast, wrapping up on Oct. 23 at New York City’s Webster Hall.
Fans were eager with anticipation, to say the least. A dense line of people waiting in the chilly October drizzle trailed down East 11th Street and wrapped around several blocks, with some arriving as early as mid-afternoon for the 7 p.m. door time. Once the general public was allowed in, slight chaos ensued, with throngs of patrons rushing the venue and making a haphazard dash for the Grand Ballroom. Despite security’s attempts to control the unruly mob, it left several girls slightly injured an hour before the music even began, with at least one tripping and falling on the stairs after being pushed from behind.
This was far the only issue they faced throughout the night. Though onlookers stayed relatively comatose for openers The Eeries, the attitude changed drastically the moment Way took the stage. Almost immediately after the opening chords of “Zero Zero” began—only his third song—the music stopped abruptly to the audience’s dismay when the barrier broke. The band quickly left the stage as stagehands pleaded with the tightly-packed crowd to move backwards so they could fix it, which, due to the sheer amount of people, proved to be impossible. Unable to stabilize it, security removed the barricade altogether, an ordeal that took nearly 20 minutes in total to accomplish, and left those in the front row pushed up against the stage. Way pointed this out after returning from the impromptu break, asking everyone to mindful of the safety of those around them.
After restarting and successfully completing “Zero Zero” despite new problems with the microphone, Way joked, “Batting a thousand tonight!” before kicking into “Millions,” the record’s second single. The native Jersey boy turned Californian transplant also had an array of friends and family present, and dedicated “Drugstore Perfume” to his lifelong best friend, citing their summers growing up in Belleville as inspiration for the track.
Despite the minor issues that the venue, musicians, and fans faced throughout the concert, the crowd remained relentlessly enthusiastic, jumping and dancing so much that it literally shook the 128-year-old building. Way was charismatic and successfully rolled with the punches, revealing the extent of his showmanship, as well as connecting with his supporters on a personal level.
“We’ve gone through some shit together tonight. I feel extra close to you,” he said toward the end of the set, garnering an ear-shattering cheer in response. He applauded the audience’s patience throughout the evening before kicking into a stellar cover of Sleater-Kinney’s “I Want To Be Your Joey Ramone,” closing out the show. Way’s performance was brilliant, and judging by the crowd’s fixation with his every move, it is clear that despite My Chemical Romance’s split, he will remain relevant and continue to lead a cult-like following.