Thursday, December 27, 2007

3 Cheers For The Black Parade

There is a life changing experience, and then there is a rock concert. To see the good in the world. To see the moral of the story. To see beginnings. To celebrate life and death. The complete circle. That’s what My Chemical Romance’s “The Black Parade” album is all about. I was never impressed with their earlier 2 works, so I waved this one off as another over-hyped record. But then came the news that they were performing. Here. In KL. And I thought, what the heck? Just give it try. 10, 20 years from now when I look back, would I ever wonder ‘what coulda been’? Rock acts are rare here, so I should just go for whatever I get. I got the CD from a friend a week before. 2 days later I bought my ticket for the concert. I had no company, no one that was available, so I went alone. What I got was a lifetime of experiences. Memories. Things we saw. Things we wished we saw. Lives we lived. Lives we wished we lived. So many of them were painful, but isn’t that what makes you feel alive? What is it that you want to see? World peace? Equal rights? Silence? The future? Walk into a stadium. Grab a good spot. Listen to the calm before the storm. Watch all the different faces there tonight. Chinese, Malays, Indians, the French, the British. Strangers. Each his own. Then over the next hour and a half, watch the magic unfurl.

“When I was a young boy,
My father, took me into the city,
To see a marching band,

He said son when , you grow up,
Would you be, the savior of the broken,
The beaten and the damned,

He said will you, defeat them,
Your demons, and all the non-believers,
The plans that they have made,

Because one day, I’ll leave you, a phantom,
To lead you in the summer,
To join the black parade”

I think we all remembered our childhood. Those memories at the Floral Parade, and the Independence Day march past. The marching bands that walked past us holding Daddy’s hand or sitting on his shoulders in those huge parades. Parades of celebration, of joy, in all your favourite colours. But there was sadness in his voice. Almost a whisper of hurt. Draped in black curtains. Dripping in the blood of patriots. To remind you that when that day comes, remember them. Honour their memories by carrying on.

“Do or die, you’ll never make me,
Because the world, will never take my heart,
Go and try, you’ll never break me,
We want it all, we want to play this part,

I won’t explain, or say I’m sorry,
I’m unashamed, I’m gonna show my scar,
Give a cheer, for all the broken,
Listen here, because it’s who we are…”

We would have died for the world that night. We would have sacrificed everything for what was right. We sang every verse of this song. Will the world remember how bravely we fought? How fiercely we loved? How still we stood? It doesn’t matter. None of it does. We don't need our names on a wall of marble. We don't need a star on our chest. We don't need a flag on our coffin. As long as they promise to carry on. Stand where you are. We did. And I will.

“They said all teenagers scare the living shit out of me,
They could care less, as long as someone’ll bleed,
So darken your clothes or strike a violent pose,
Maybe they’ll leave you alone, but not me!”

The encore could have scared society back to the stone age. It shook the foundations of the teenage world. The song we all sang loudest. It was for every time we opened the morning paper and read about a school shooting. Every time we walked into a classroom wearing a nametag and didn’t know what to think. Every time we saw them dressed in leather clothes, dog collars, lip piercing, topping it off with spike hair. Every time we heard songs like ‘Smells like teen spirit’ and ‘Disposable teens’ and ‘Teenage lobotomy’. It came from the heart, and we meant every word. We were tired of being the bad guys. The ones who lived in a corporate world. The ones who sent young men to war. To their deaths. Listen to our cries, and look at the world through someone else’s eyes. Then you’d understand.

“Mama, we’re all full of lies,
Mama, we’re meant for the flies,
And right now they’re building a coffin your size,
Mama, we’re all full of lies”

Ok, so not exactly a song you would dedicate to your Mataji on mother’s day. Point noted. The song was actually written in a mischievous(I wouldn’t say evil) and funny tone, backed by a very carnival-owned-by-the-evil-circus-ring-master soundtrack. Sort of a tribute to classics like ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ and ‘The Corpse Bride’. In other words, films that poke fun at death. Gerard Way is one of the most talismanic front men I have seen in rock. He brought this song to life not just with his vocals, but with his ever changing persona from song to song, getting the crowd into the moment. The song was to Mother War, telling her, that at the end of the day, we will see each other again. She was the heart of the world’s despair. The hooker with a heart of gold, and the creep in the gas mask at the same time. It could be in the garden of Eden, or in the bottomless pit Lucifer calls home. Home. A relative term. One that should never be taken for granted. Appreciate it, and love it always.
“I am not afraid to keep on living,
I am not afraid to walk this world alone,
Honey if you stay I’ll be forgiven,
Nothing you can stay can stop me going home”

It made a lot of us in the audience cry. Or maybe it was just me who was tearing. Trying to disappear in the sea of people. Reminiscing my entire life. The fact that I was only ever living it for everyone around me. The choices I made, the paths I took, the hearts I broke, the life I once led. I knew those moments too well. And here I was, screaming at the top of my voice, complete with hand gestures(only polite ones), telling the world I’m living life my way now. The song was speaking to me. I even showed up at the concert alone, deciding not to cancel my plans just because I had no company. I walked alone. And you know what? It didn’t matter anymore, because I believed in myself. To put myself forward once in while. That’s really all that was asked from me. How could I not tear? My heart caved in from the beauty of the moment. So much had changed in the last 2 years. So much. It was, liberating. I spoke, with words I thought I’d never speak. Awake, and unafraid. Asleep, or dead.

And then the night ended. Or so we thought. Sure, the concert was over. The lights were off. The stadium silent. The streets crawling with cars trying to make their way home after an experience. But to me, that was just the beginning. At the end of all things, begins anew. I just had one of the greatest personal experiences ever. Making my way back to the train station, I knew within me that if I died tomorrow, I would have no regrets. None. I would be peaceful. No doubts or second thoughts. I have loved and been loved. I have gained and have lost. I have suffered and have cried. I put my arms around strangers and chanted to the songs like they were a pledge. I received hugs from those around me, people I have never known my entire life. People I will never know again. There was something behind 10 000 people head banging and bouncing to a band of philosophers. Behind the sweaty bodies and sore throats. And all it took was an hour and a half of silence. Silence to listen to our hearts. We were one voice. A voice that didn’t have a care in the world. A voice that lived the perfect world for one night. We shared everything. We shared our smiles and cries. Some of us came with friends. Some of us came alone. Some of us came as couples. Some of us came as family. And then, we went home a parade.
“We all carry on, When our brothers in arms are gone,
So raise your glass high, For tomorrow we die,
And return from the ashes you call…”
Goodnight Mama.


tarsem said...

One of the girls in my jatha attended the concert too. She wrote a lil something on her page. You might even recognize the person.

A little window to my world said...

I absolutely with depest regret hate to say the next 4 words.....



(now why do i feel no regrets??)

sangeetha said...

haha..tarsem..ure stil checkin her blog out..havoc!!
n hargobind, d concert must have been a blast huh..;)