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My Chemical Romance welcomes "The Black Parade" in concert

Verizon Wireless Arena, Manchester, N.H., February 22, 2007

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Other recent concert reviews
In case anyone wasn't aware, My Chemical Romance clearly believes in "The Black Parade," its very very fine, meaty disc released last fall. After all, if that were not the case, why else would the punky pop band put almost all of its focus on the new disc during the opening night of its 2007 tour"
In fact, My Chemical Romance played all 14 songs from its concept album in order during the regular set. Fortunately, the disc with well-written songs about death and relationships has been out long enough for fans to know the songs and in the case of the concert, the words as well.

Lead singer Gerard Way started off lying on a hospital bed ("The Patient" from the album) before quickly getting up to start with "The End" and "Dead." Theatrics were pared down save for the band-like uniforms the quintet wore, bursts of light, which were toned down as the evening wore on, a bit of confetti, flashing pots of fire in several songs (once would have sufficed) and two large black and white balloons.

My Chemical Romance concentrated on the music, which they should have, instead of using diversions.

The nature of the disc is that the music changes from heart-felt ballads, like "Cancer" to more uptempo Queen-like songs, such as the fun "Teenagers" and the closing, very catchy "Famous Last Words" and harder edged songs like "This is How I Disappear."

The focal point clearly is on Way. He generally does a very good job of delivering the songs and his voice - while not being a truly great singer - is well suited to the material at hand. Way's vocals were at times mixed a bit too low. He has something to say - let him be heard. His stage comments could use a bit more development and a few less comments about "mother fuckers" would have been advisable as well. And he also should have trusted the fans more, instead of feeling the need to encourage them to sing or wave their arms. He already was preaching to the converted overwhelmingly teenage crowd.

Drummer Bob Bryar was real strong behind the skins. He set a good martial beat in "Welcome to the Black Parade" and elsewhere and propelled the music. He didn't need to fill the songs with cluttered drum beats and fortunately operated under the less is more school.

The regular set was limited to "The Black Parade." Egregious was the set's length - approximately 55-minutes. That is simply not right to be an arena act and not even put in an hour's worth of music.

Perhaps MCR would argue that they took the break to separate the music of "The Black Parade," but it still did not feel right.

MCR hit upon their "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge" CD during the 20-minute plus encore, book ending it with "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" and a good version of "Helena." One got the sense, however, that the energy waned a bit during the encore with the songs lacking the sufficient variety ably demonstrated during "The Black Parade segment. Maybe songs from the latter simply possess more weight.

This was the first night of the tour, so slack must be given. My Chemical Romance need not make any apologies whatsoever about the depth and breadth and huge musical step forward provided by "The Black Parade."

Chicago-based group Rise Against opened with a loud, 40-minute set that tended to show little variation in musical balance until the final 2 songs. Lead singer Tim McIlrath also likes to get screechy with his vocals, not making for the most listenable set going.