JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

May 21, 2011
House of Blues - Dallas
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Laura Hill
Photos by Trey Campbell

My Chemical Romance

What a night for entertainment! For the PBS crowd, there was Celtic Woman at the Verizon Wireless Theater. For the ‘normally sane but not tonight’ adults, there was Jimmy Buffett at Pizza Hut Park. For the nostalgic type, there was the Wildflower Music Festival in Richardson. And last but not least, for the ‘tween to teen to just turned 21 set, there was the very entertaining My Chemical Romance at the House of Blues. Tough decision you say. Not at all! I just went with the coolest sounding band name. Turns out it was an excellent choice.

First off, this was no place for anyone under 25. Seriously, this band has been around for ten years, but its audience keeps getting younger, not aging with grace along with the band. Oh there were some token adults spotted in the crowd here and there, but I’m sure there presence was meant to be felt, not seen, by the kids they chaperoned to the show.

When lead singer Gerard Way stepped on stage to thunderous applause and cheers, the first thought I had upon seeing him was “flame on!” This New Jersey native definitely has the hottest head of red hair I’ve ever seen on a performer. With kids in raccoon makeup jumping up and down like pogo sticks, and everyone singing the songs, even Way was taken back by the reception the group received.

Before I get to the show, I want to give kudos to My Chemical Romance for fully embracing technology to push themselves to the heights it has attained over the years. This is definitely a tech generation band, and the youthful crowd cheering their conquering heroes proved that. When you finally release an album four years after your last one, you need to do something to keep yourself in the public eye. This band has done that and them some.

From free downloads on MySpace, benefit songs on iTunes, and skillful use of YouTube to promote new songs, this group knows exactly how to keep their audience up-to-date with MCR. Probably their most brilliant marketing move involved the live album, Life on the Murder Scene, released just two albums into their career. This masterfully conceived recording, released in 2006, incorporated one documentary DVD chronicling the band's history. The second disc contained music videos, the making of their videos and live performances. The third was a live recording of the band itself. With that kind of exposure, it’s easy to see why the crowd roared with every song the band performed.

Both nights My Chemical Romance was in town, they drew heavily from their last three albums. For some reason, the first recording was only represented by “Vampires Will Never Hurt You” along with “Our Lady of Sorrows” the second evening. The set list was pretty much the same both nights with these exceptions. Sunday night “Look Alive Sunshine” and “Kids from Yesterday” replaced “Summertime” and “Sing” from the Danger Days album. “Ghost of You” and “Thank You for the Venom” replaced “Give ‘em Hell” from Three Cheers and “Cancer” from Black Parade. If you went both nights, you obviously were in MCR heaven.

My Chemical Romance has risen to stardom relatively quickly by expanding upon an ever growing fan base with solid albums and smart touring with the likes Linkin Park, Green Day, Avenged Sevenfold and Bon Jovi over the years. This particular evening, the group never had a lull in their set, playing radio hits like "Helena", "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" and "Welcome to the Black Parade", as well as fan favorites like "Mama", "Vampires Will Never Hurt You" and "Bulletproof Heart". By the time MCR launched into “Teenagers,” all the designated drivers (i.e.adults) had gathered in the back of the floor so their young charges could literally scream their heads off.

For those of you wishing your mom’s would have brought you to the MCR show(s), you’re in luck. My Chemical Romance is coming back this fall with Blink-182 to co-headline the Honda Civic Tour along with Rancid, Manchester Orchestra and Matt + Kim. If that doesn’t smell like teen spirit, then you just don’t know what true nirvana is. Your designated driver will be happy to decipher that last line.