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Concert Reviews:
My Chemical Romance Gives Fans Twice The Fun
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

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The tickets and marquee said My Chemical Romance, but the New Jersey modern rockers had something more for its fans.

MCR, in fact, is playing a kind of special guest in the shows on its current tour. The bulk of the 90-minute concert Wednesday (Feb. 28) at Joe Louis Arena was performed by the Black Parade, the alter ego MCR created as part of the package for its platinum third album of the same name. It's a risky and perhaps stilted masquerade, but the group not only pulled it off but seemed to thrive from the opportunity to be two bands in one night.

It worked because MCR succeeded in creating two distinct entities during the show. The Black Parade started the night -- in whiteface, marching band-style costumes and playing the angst-drenched "The Black Parade" in its entirety, with a force and energy that surpassed the studio version and had fans bouncing to the epic "Welcome to the Black Parade," the kitschy "Mama," and blazing rockers such as "Dead!," "This is How I Disappear," "House of Wolves" and "Sleep," and waving their cell phones during the power ballad "Cancer."

The Black Parade also proved to be a more genteel crew (unlike MCR, They don't spit on stage) and more theatrically minded; frontman Gerard Way, as The Patient, sang "The End" from a hospital gurney and donned a red boa for "Mama," while the group employed pyrotechnics, inflatable blimps on either side of the stage and a gothic-styled rear-stage backdrop to give the "Parade" a bit of visual pizzazz without going completely over the top.

Following "Famous Last Words," MCR -- [i]as[/i] MCR -- emerged after a complete changeover accomplished in an impressive four minutes. The stage set, including the backdrops and Bob Bryar's bass drum head, was stripped down, the group's faces were washed and clothes changed (though still all black), and the demeanor returned to MCR's flailing, in-your-face energy -- spitting included. The group also spit fire through a 35-minute explosion of favorites, slowing only for "The Ghost of You" while slamming through renditions of "I'm Not OK," "It's Not a Fashion Statement, It's a Deathwish," a particularly metallic "Thank You For the Venom" and the show-closing "Helena."

Way, who was in otherwise fine spirits, did take a moment to slam press reports that MCR and its fans comprised an "emo death cult." "We have never encouraged you to do anything but be yourself," Way told the crowd -- although being another band is clearly working to MCR's benefit these days.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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