Depression, drinking, alienation and revenge? Well it must be another release from the dark pop-punkers, My Chemical Romance. Now I have grown up a lot since I did my review for Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge
, and admittingly I was naive and impressionable very quickly within the pop-punk scene then. But I firmly believe this is one of the best DVD packages brought out by a band in the past few years. Made up of 1 CD and 2 DVDs all in one very nice looking packaging (With real-life shots of Gerard Way's fantastic artwork). The DVDs together stretch a total of 4 hours, with both reaching around 2 hours each. I'd have been happy with the video diary and the CD to be honest, but the fact that they throw in all this extra material proves how much they care about their fans. The CD includes live performances, 2 demos and a previously unreleased song by the name of "Desert Song".
The video diary starts off a little slow to be honest, but picks up nicely. There's some great cutting of videos, live performances, and talking with the band, and the topics they talk about are great too. I like seeing exclusive material in DVD sets, so it was fun to see Gerard's old room and some of his art from high school. You see, the thing about My Chemical Romance is that they are insanely huge, but for the most part, no one knows who they are, where they come from, their influences and childhood. This DVD answers that call very respectively, and features some very funny moments as well (I'm certain even the MCR haters will enjoy Gerard Way getting kicked in the balls on stage by guitarist Frank Iero). It documents the rise of My Chem, from the making of the first album with details on some songs, to touring that album and then more on their major label debut. There's also some talk on the darker nature of the band's image, and how the band helped the members through some tough times. This is honestly all I really wanted the 3-disc set for, and I am so pleased with the outcome. You can tell that from all the footage they filmed that they put the time and effort into making this credible and give fans of the band an extra insight into My Chemical Romance. Questions are answered, including those you never asked before, and it never feels like it drags out because of it's length.
The next DVD features live performances. Now, I will be the first to say that MCR do tend to be very hit or miss live. The only time I saw them was supporting Taking Back Sunday in a small club, and they played amazingly with lots of energy and a great mix in the setlist. This DVD includes songs from the MTV $2 Bill tour, AOL Sessions, Starland Ballroom and TV appearances, as well as videos for all their songs off Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge
and the making of each one. I'm shocked they included the rare first video for "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)", a montage of tour footage against the catchy single, which is just further proof they care about the fans. The performances themselves are exactly what I said; hit or miss. Gerard's voice is sometimes very bad, yet sometimes it fits the song perfectly, whereas the guitar on occasion sounds very bad and weak, and in others sounds clean and polished. It's obviously supposed to be an extra, but it's really fun to watch them. The "Making Of" of each of the 3 videos are interesting to watch as well, with some funnier moments and some more serious and dull ones. These are all things that are extras in my mind, and will probably never be watched by me again unless I am in the mood. The inclusion of them though makes it seem more packed, and fans of live music from the band will certainly enjoy this DVD.
I never saw the appeal nor the point of including a CD made up of live tracks when you have a DVD of live performances as well. It DOES seem like filler and put in purely to make it look bigger, but they sound good. A few songs from Bullets
, as well as the 3 bonus songs make it a decent addition to the pack. The 2 demos are great to listen to, especially "Bury Me In Black" which I had previously heard, but believe it should've been included in one of the band's albums. "Desert Song" is the only real new material, and is beautiful to listen to, and aside from the controversy this is not a cover of Def Leppard's song of the same title. It's another demo from the Three Cheers
sessions, and you can tell from the roughness of Gerard's voice, but it still sounds great with the theme of the lyrics. Like I said, I'm not a fan of live CDs, so these three addition were all that got me interested, but they are worth a listen anyway.
I know many people consider My Chemical Romance as talentless pop stars who are riding on the popularity of "emo", and I agree to an extent. They have been formed for about 4 years and have achieved worldwide cult status. But I also think there's more to it than that, and you can tell from this 3-disc set that they do care deeply about what they do. The documentry is very interesting to watch, and the live performances are worth a spin as well. With over 4 hours of MCR in a cardboard box, it's now a lot harder to say they are doing it purely for the fame and fortune. Yes, this is just another promotional product, but they put it together so well it makes me want to dig out their albums again and sing along. They clearly care about the music they create and play to fans, and this pack proves it. While they were the subject of overhype and rebelling from pop-punk fans, I never lost interest in this band. To me, they always played great music that was both fun to listen to and pick apart. I could throw on either of their albums and listen to it without getting bored, and to me that makes a band shine well. So enjoy this for what it is; a video diary, live performances and a live CD. It's well worth the money if you like this band, and gives you a reason to look forward to their third album.