This weekend My Chemical Romance kicked off their huge worldwide tour in the U.K., starting at Cornwall, England’s Eden Project. Ahead of the band’s first performance at Milton Keynes Stadium, where they’ll be residing for four nights in a row starting Thursday May 18, Alternative Press caught up with fans camping out from the crack of dawn, despite weather warnings and the brisk British spring breeze.
“The duvets are here, the snacks are here… we’re just gonna sleep on the floor,” says 19-year-old Harry, who arrived on Wednesday. He is number five in the General Admission Standing queue and will be camping all the way until MCR’s last Milton Keynes date on Sunday. Younger fans will know the struggle Harry found himself in, finding MCR just after their breakup and having to wait almost a decade to finally hear his favorite songs live. When asked what the band mean to him — enough for him and his friends to camp for four nights straight — Harry says it’s about the “big community. ‘Mama’ is one of my favorite songs. I really want to hear everyone scream those lyrics.”
Tee and Ash are two friends who’ve traveled near and far just to be here. Ash has trekked across the country from Sheffield, while Tee has flown in from Sweden, all for the weekend shows. “We’re getting merch first so we don’t have to worry about that; we just want to get straight in and as close as possible,” Ash says. The pair, now 21 and 20, were aged around 9 when they came across My Chemical Romance. Tee cites “Cemetery Drive” as her gateway song to the band, while Ash reminisces on how “Desert Song” introduced her to the band and was the song she had on repeat when they announced their split in 2013. “I cried so much my school thought someone in my school had died so they let me go home early,” she says. “I just played that on repeat in my room.”
Jaguar isn’t hard to spot in the heaps of queueing fans, their “DEVOTION” flag draped across the barriers catching eyes from a mile off. The flag is made entirely of old MCR merch collected by them and their wife over their years of seeing My Chem. “We went to loads of MCR shows, and these are the shirts that don’t fit us anymore,” they say. “Instead of throwing them away, we decided to sew them together and bring them out on tour. This is our first MCR tour since being married.” They’ve been dedicated members of the MCRmy since 2005, and heard the news of MCR’s return the day before their wedding. “We were mega stressed already, in the car on the way back from picking up stuff. We were like, ‘Holy shit, it’s happening,’ but we were with our family, so we had to lowkey react.”
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Aynsley, 23, flew out all the way from the United States for this show and is the first in line for VIP entry. “I have wanted to see MCR for more than 10 years. I knew that if I’m coming all the way here — and I’ve never been to the U.K. before — I was gonna queue and get VIP.” They came across MCR in middle school, and the 2019 reunion announcement caused a marathon of their songs — or, as they put it, “the best Halloween ever.”
As fans settle in for a long night ahead, raindrops slowly painting the pavements and sign postings, Aynsley sheds light on how this band have created such a unique and interpersonal relationship with their fanbase over the decades; one which would lead people to huddle in sleeping bags days before a show. “I feel like you reach a point in your life when you decide the things you’re supposed to do, or if you’re gonna be yourself. It’s probably true for a lot of us here: You find MCR, and then you’re like, ‘OK, I can do and be what I want to do.’ They make you believe in art and yourself. MCR have saved so many lives. It’s incredible.”
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