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Oct 7, 2011

REVIEW [excerpt]: Fans go mad for Blink-182, My Chemical Romance in Anaheim

The two bands seemed to resonate with a whole new generation of fans at the first of several local stops on the 10th anniversary of the Honda Civic Tour....

My Chemical Romance, the evening's other headliner (after an opening turn from Matt & Kim), proved its influence and popularity may be just as far-reaching (if not more so) than Blink's.

From the get-go, fire-red-haired vocalist Gerard Way had the audience in a frenzy: more voices rang out for the set's openers, "Na Na Na" and "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" than for the bulk of what followed, while writhing crowd-surfers littered the crowd's top.

"Apparently this is how they do it in California!" Way shrieked, drawing the evening's loudest cheers.

The reason for such a wild fan response may lie in MCR's focus on not just musical trends (they incorporated synth and spacey guitar licks long before Blink) but also current cultural events. The band's inception in 2001 was largely a response to the September 11 World Trade Center attacks, and since then they've delved into concepts surrounding global war and social unrest.

"This song is about nuclear war, love and guns -- only one of those things doesn't kill people," Way proclaimed just before launching into the heavy-hitter "Mama."

When these topics first became prevalent in music in the '60s, it was blues- and pyschedelia-tinged rockers like Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane and the Beatles that spearheaded the conversation. Watching tens of thousands of fans raise their fists and sing wholeheartedly along with the melodic set-closer "Cancer" -- performed soulfully by just Way, backed by a simple keyboard line -- reminded that the voices of change have been imbued in a new group of trendy musicians, with My Chemical Romance among the front ranks.

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