Paramore // The O2 Arena, London // 12.1.2018
Paramore have held an enduring spot in my top most listened to bands, so expectations were high as we descended upon London to hear the pop rock icons in the flesh, on their first headline UK tour since 2013. With 14 years’ experience as a band, Hayley Williams has led the established rock legends from her early teens through an impressive, 5 LP strong discography. From their emo-punk debut All We Know Is Falling maturing steadily into their most recent release, After Laughter, an album experimenting with fizzy, 80’s inspired rock whilst still incorporating the familiar melancholy lyrical themes Paramore have come to be to known for.
They kicked off the show with the distinct xylophone chimes of ‘Hard Times’, the first single released from the new album, introducing the bouncy atmosphere which infused the whole evening. The bubbly sound was accompanied by effervescent stage decoration, with a giant circular screen displaying vivid graphics and interesting rainbow lighting, expanding the bold 80’s aesthetic that embodies the style of their new album. Although, the real star of the stage was Williams’ captivating presence; despite her petite size, she effortlessly filled the enormous stage with a seemingly boundless amount of energy from start to finish. Her high energy did not sacrifice the quality of her live vocals, their unique rock sound easily filled the arena and incorporated some enjoyable vocal adlibbing, which gave a personal feel to the songs.
The setlist was dominated by their most recent release, making up half of the performance, although this was unsurprising as it was part of ‘Tour Three’ to promote After Laughter. The 18 song set flew by, with older classics interweaving throughout their new pop-inspired tracks. The additions of the 2007 single ‘That’s What You Get’ and 2008 ‘I Caught Myself’ was obviously appreciated by the pockets of long standing fans throughout the crowd, a nostalgic nod to their emo origins. There wasn’t a single moment in the evening that fell flat, every song hit the perfect note at the right point, especially during a slower but particularly intimate rendition of ‘Hate To See Your Heart Break’; accompanied by a swaying crowd and lights twinkling around the arena from phones. The encore rounded off the evening on a high, a nice touch was playing ‘French Class’, the solo venture of recently re-joined member, Zac Farro; giving him the opportunity to step out from behind the drumkit and perform centre stage. ‘Rose-Colored Boy’ interjected with snippets from Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ drew the performance to an elating end, leaving the crowd with high spirits and with fond memories.