That time Queen's Brian May got his emo on to play with My Chemical Romance

My Chemical Romance and Brian May
(Image credit: YouTube)

In 2022, we witnessed My Chemical Romance's highly-anticipated, much-postponed reunion tour as it sprung to action in the UK, and it had us dizzying with excitement. So much so, that we decided to look back at old performance footage of our skeleton-suited heroes, prior to their disbandment in 2013. 

One gig in particular captured our attention, namely the emo kings' headline performance at Reading Festival in 2011. On top of playing an incredible show full of A-list MCR bangers including I'm Not Okay, Na Na Na and Famous Last Words, one totally unexpected moment occurred when the New Jersey rockers brought out Queen's Brian May to play alongside them for the set's encore.

Taking place on the Friday of the festival weekender, on August 26, the iconic collaboration saw May arrive on stage to perform Queen's We Will Rock You and MCR's Welcome To The Black Parade.

During the latter performance, May seems absolutely delighted to be covering the MCR classic, and looks like he's having the time of his life when the song fully kicks in. Seeing Queen's legendary guitarist in any capacity is always a treat, but witnessing May collaborate with My Chemical Romance is honestly our own multiverse of madness. What a crossover!

Although it's traditional for Reading/Leeds Festival headliners to bring out a guest for one or two songs, we can't imagine many people envisioned that MCR would be accompanied by such a legend, although we assume it had something to do with the fact that the guitar on Welcome To The Black Parade sounds largely inspired by May.

Speaking of learning the song prior to the performance, May said at the time: "It’s one thing to play along with a track at home and roughly 'get' it. It’s quite another to be well-enough prepared to get up and do it in front of 120,000 people at a festival of mud!"

Of his love for My Chemical Romance, he added: "The Chem boys [are] the nicest bunch of guys you could possibly meet. Dedicated, inspired, modest, appreciative, considerate, and with all the crackling electricity of a touring unit just reaching a peak of perfection."

Check out the performance below:

The band launch their UK tour in Cornwall tonight, May 16. 

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.