Some albums deserve to played live. You hear them, and you fantasize how great it would be to hear them in concert, start to finish, all the way through. Every bit of brilliance would shine as brightly as it does on the studio record, but it would be combined with the spontaneity and excitement than only a live show can provide. Unfortunately, as live performances of albums like The Wall and Operation: Mindcrime have shown, some live albums are much better left to fantasy.
(Yeah, the studio version of Operation: Mindcrime might've been better left to fantasy as well, but I'm trying to make a point here.)
Frankly, The Black Parade Is Dead! is a lot better than a live rendition of a concept album has any right to be. The band sounds great, the recording quality is excellent, and there's a ton of energy from both the stage and the audience. I just don't really hear any reason why it needed to be released. Does it add anything to The Black Parade? Not really, other than some chanting from the crowd and an occasional breathless moment from vocalist Gerard Way. And that gets to the core problem with live versions of concept records: the originals are so carefully crafted and created and recorded that there is no room for spontaneity, which just might be the greatest part of live shows.
Don't get me wrong: this is a very good live record. I just don't hear anything that makes this as good as The Black Parade, or even a necessary companion for anyone but the most devoted fans.
The package is perfectly fine for a live record, and it probably deserves higher than a 2.5. There are some good photos, and even a few great ones. The cover is a bit cheesy, but once you look at it for a while, it's actually kind of cool.
The problem is, the package for the original album is one of the best I've ever seen. The regular version of the CD is stellar, yet it's nothing compared to the limited edition vinyl release. The packaging for the limited edition record is, hands down, the best I've seen in nearly 30 years of loving rock music.
This just doesn't compare to that. My 2.5 library card ranking may be unfair, but go pick up the vinyl of The Black Parade and you'll understand where I'm coming from.
Listen if you like: My Chemical Romance
If it were food, it'd be: A frozen gourmet dinner. It's good, but it just doesn't compare to the real thing.