This review of The Bamboozle 2007 was conducted by Andrea Hubbell for Driven Far Off.
On Saturday, May 5th, 2007, a plethora of people from all over the East Coast and possibly US gathered at The Meadowlands Sport Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey. However, this particular event wasn’t sports-related. All of these people traveled from however far to see an annual two day New Jersey, rain-or-shine gathering of various bands and performers known as The Bamboozle.
The lines began at 8:30 AM, and the doors opened another three hours later at 11 AM, to the relief of the expectant public. Although at first entering the event, when an attendee would present his ticket for authenticity and then be checked by security, it would seem that the Bamboozle was chaotic-and it was! However, the chaos was controlled by security and induced by the enthusiasm of those attending the event. Diehard fans donned band tees and distributed promotional material. Posters could be found strewn all around the stadium, most notably advertising the upcoming releases of Amber Pacific, Silverstein, Linkin Park, and The Used’s new albums. Band merchandise and other clothing items could be found all throughout the stadium, as could stands selling somewhat overpriced refreshments. Seven stages were set up as to have as many bands, comedy acts, and artists perform as possible. Within a structure deemed “The Bubble”, attendees could enjoy artists being recorded on Bamboozle TV while sitting down. However, many, chose to enjoy the sunshine and remain at an outdoor stage.
The main stage, to no one’s surprise, had attracted the largest audience. By the beginning of Silverstein’s performance, the cramped crowd spanned back yards and yards and yards and surrounded a mosh pit located amidst all of the fans. Drink and food containers and even the odd shoe were thrown throughout the day and crowd-surfing became the trend-many crowd surfers were lifted over the barrier and many more crowd surfers were simply dropped in the mosh pit.
However, those not within the mosh pit and disinterested in tossing random items or crowd-surfing remained relatively calm, those who had the opportunity to listen to Silverstein prior to the event singing along, with the occasionally cluster of fans jumping and head-banging. The most attention-grabbing song the post-hardcore performed seemed to have been “Smile in Your Sleep”, during which the crowd was at its wildest and happiest.
Between each band, there were breaks during which thorough sound checks would be conducted by the hardworking sound and instrument techs. Sometimes the sound checks consumed what, to the audience, seemed like a long span of time. Throughout these breaks, some in the crowd would leave to see another band’s performance or to return with some refreshments. Others, however, continued their habits of tossing items around and shouting at the sound techs for amusement.
Following Silverstein was a more mainstream band by the name of Cartel. Their music was not the type to entail moshing, so the crowd belted out lyrics and danced accordingly instead-and, of course, continued crowd surfing. Fanatics sang all of the pop punk band’s lyrics, whereas those not as interested in Cartel’s music simply sang along to their biggest hit, “Honestly”. The Atlanta, Georgia band generally received a good response from the audience.
Next in the line-up was Say Anything-the least well-known band performing on the main stage. The audience was very responsive to this indie band as well, those unfamiliar with their music seeming to enjoy its generally upbeat sound. The audience especially seemed to appreciate one of their final songs in the set, a somewhat racy number titled, “Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too”. Their keyboard-incorporated music was overall just as enjoyed as that of the more mainstream Cartel by this audience.
After the performance of Say Anything was the pop punk, longtime band New Found Glory. Diehard fans got especially excited throughout this performance as the band performed both some new and old hits; the audience was especially reactive to those songs played off of Sticks and Stones. The band’s somewhat pop sound was appreciated by many, as was their very natural appearance, one of their members appearing without a shirt on. The audience appreciated the way in which lead singer Jordan Pundik moved constantly across the stage, and in doing so, included all of the audience.
As the last band before the headlining act that evening, My Chemical Romance, prepared for their performance, the skies were growing darker and the crowd was growing restless. Many diehard MCR fans had been awaiting the moment in which My Chemical Romance would perform the entire day, remaining in the audience for hours on end. These fans were especially anxious due to the fact that the band had missed their past five shows that week due to many in the band and crew getting sick with Salmonella.
Hellogoodbye’s sound check consumed the longest amount of time that a sound check had so far at the main stage. So when the band finally approached the stage with their instruments, mikes, and a series of flashing, colorful lights that ensued throughout the entirety of their performance, the crowd was ecstatic. The powerpop/synthop band had a very unique style both in music and in clothing. Their music was very modern, upbeat, contained a lot of unexpected keyboard, and was overall unusual in comparison to many of the other bands performing at the festival. Not only this but they were deeply enjoyed and accepted by the audience for their likeable eccentricity. Lead vocalist and guitarist Forrest Kline donned himself in an outfit whose uniqueness nearly trumped that of the music he produced-wearing large glasses, the schoolboy look continued with his tie, sweater, and button-up. Similar to Jordan Pundik, Kline related very well to the audience, receiving a lot of applause and positive attention. He didn’t seem to be in support of moshing or wild performances, which seemed to be fine with the crowd, which seemed to especially enjoy the performance of the songs “Bonnie Taylor Shakedown”, “Shimmy Shimmy Quarter Turn”, and “Here in Your Arms”-three of their most renowned singles.
Now the crowd was in high anticipation of the highlight of the evening-the performance of the highly renowned and high fan-base band My Chemical Romance, branded post hardcore, punk pop, and alternative by various sources. The security tightened, seeking out troublemakers and those in trouble. At various times, a few water bottles were distributed to those in the first few rows, to the happiness of those that had waited long enough to reach this highly sought out area within the crowd.
When My Chemical Romance finally approached the stage, the crowd was incredibly ecstatic, enthusiastic, and rambunctious. The band did not enter in their usual unique manner of having the lead vocalist Gerard Way wheeled out on a hospital bed to represent the character “The Patient” most recent October 2006-released album, a concept album titled “The Black Parade”. This was probably due to the complete dearth of space. For whatever reason, the band simply walked onstage-although simply probably cannot describe the reaction of the crowd as the headlining act approached the stage, donned in black marching band uniforms and with layers of white makeup caked on their faces.
“Come one, come all to this tragic affair…” With the beginning of the renowned line of the song “The End” of “The Black Parade”, a completely new reaction overcame the audience. Diehard fans belted out the words along with the distinct, sweet, and strong voice of Gerard Way’s. Gerard Way proved not only to be a nonpareil singer but also to have excessive stage presence. As he spoke between songs, the audience listened to and absorbed his every charismatic word, detailing difficult subjects such as youth violence, suicide, and cancer and including deeply appreciated jokes involving the band members themselves. His eyes seemed to sweep over every audience member as he, like Pundik, moved all about the stage so to include the entirety of the massive audience. His most significant statement of the evening seemed to be the one detailing the bands sickness, claiming that they [the band] could be harmed in any way or even “poisoned”, as he said in response to their recent food poisoning incident, but that they would not be beat down. He sent a message through this and various lyrics (ex: “I am not afraid to keep on living” or “We’ll carry on”) that those in the audience should never take the easy way out and should continue on despite hardships.
Amazingly enough, lead guitarist and back-up vocalist Ray Toro, drummer Bob Bryar, and replacement bassist for Mikey Way, Matt Cortez all performed at the show despite their continuing sickness as an aftermath of their salmonella poisoning. (Mikey Way, younger brother of Gerard Way, recently left the tour for his honeymoon with bassist and new wife Alicia Simmons.) Ray Toro, who is usually very lively at shows, certainly seemed more subdued than typically, as did the other two, although all of the members didn’t fail to perform exceptionally even exempting their sickness. However, rhythm guitarist and back-up vocalist Frank Iero made up for any understandable and excusable lack of energy from these three clearly tolerant performers.
Throughout the performance, he seemed to be constantly moving about the cramped stage, and a smile seemed to be consistently on his face as he did so. He seemed especially responsive to the audience, specifically when fans decided to shout at him or throw various tokens of their affection at him (which seemed to be rather often). He approached the front of the stage several times, laughing when a necklace was thrown at him and placing a hat on his head when that too was tossed toward him. Iero even threw water bottles to the audience at various points.
Other than Iero forgetting to leave the stage during the ballad “Cancer”, the live performance of “The Black Parade” ran smoothly. Although confetti was not released to the audience throughout the song “Welcome to the Black Parade” as it usually is throughout the performance of this song, the audience did receive another equally anticipated part of the performance. Throughout the song “Mama” flames shot up from the stage, and the crowd became, if possible, more enthusiastic.
Then the band left the stage for a brief time, while a recording of “Blood” was played and fans sung happily along. When they appeared back onstage for an encore, including songs from their second album, “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge”, they were donned in different, more simple but equally dark outfits and the backdrop had changed to a series of guns circling the initials “MCR”. When the band approached the song for the second time, they performed their hyperactive, lyrically vengeful but instrumentally upbeat single, “I’m Not Okay”. This happily received hit was followed by performances of the songs “Cemetery Drive”, “You Know What They Do to Guys Like Us in Prison”, “Give Ã¢â‚¬ËœEm Hell, Kid”, and, finally, “Helena.” “Helena”, a lyrically mournful and musically breathtaking song was also well-received with the audience. Despite the audience’s satisfaction with the song, pleasant feelings mingled with disappointed ones that the band was leaving the stage. In regards to their disappointment, fans need not fret; My Chemical Romance will be returning to new Jersey for Link Park’s Projekt Revolution tour this summer, when an equally promising performance will hopefully occur.
That would be my article:)