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Concert Reviews:
My Chemical Romance returns to its roots at the Fillmore Detroit
 

By GARY GRAFF
of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK



DETROIT -- My Chemical Romance's show Friday night (Dec. 17) at the Fillmore Detroit was a return on a couple of different levels.

It brought the group back to The Night 89X Stole Christmas concert, which MCR also headlined in 2006 at Cobo Arena. And it brought the sextet -- four core members and a touring drummer and keyboardist -- back to being a more traditional rock group.

The last time through town, in 2007 at Joe Louis Arena, MCR was The Black Parade, an alter ego group from the Grammy Award-winning album of the same name. It was high-concept theatricality, well-considered and well-executed. But it was still fun on Friday to see MCR strip things back down and just be a band again, pounding out a 15-song set that seemed a little random and a bit rusty (lyric sheets for some of the new songs were on stage, just in case) but was ultimately carried by its brimming energy.

With a modest scrim -- MCR's spider logo superimposed over an American flag -- as the only stage decoration, the group tore through 70-minutes of career-spanning repertoire, pumping its new album "Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys" but, with six tracks played, balancing it with the rest of its repertoire. The good news for the band was that the sold-out Fillmore crowd was decidedly engaged in the new material, singing along not only to the first single and opening song, "Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)," but also to deeper cuts such as the glammy "Vampire Money," the anthemic "Sing" and the four-on-the-floor electro of "Planetary (Go!)."

"The Black Parade" was still well-represented with five songs, including the vampy "Mama" and charged versions of "House of Wolves" and "Teenagers," while the show's most effective musical sequence came during a three-song mini-set in which "Danger Days' "The Only Hope For Me is You" flowed into MCR's 2005 hits "Helena" and "The Ghost of You." And the inclusion of MCR's punky cover of Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row" from the "Watchmen" film soundtrack was a nice surprise.

Frontman Gerard Way promised that MCR will be back this way "in the spring," most likely with a more fully realized production that may even focus on "Danger Days'..." own concept a bit more. But on this one night, the group reminded us that the music is still its primary calling card.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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