Walking into Radio City Musical Hall comes with all the feelings of excitement and prestige one might expect from entering such a grandiose and historic venue. On October 4th, Tennessee pop/rock band Paramore came prepared to live up to those standards as they brought Tour Two, the North American leg of their tour, in support of their newest album After Laughter, to New York City.
The first thing one would notice when entering the venue was the gigantic circle which illuminated the screen and the three rings of lights set up behind the instruments on stage – and when the concert began, it became clear that the show would be as immersive to the eyes as it was to the ears. The huge circular display burst into color and shifted to the mood of each song, creating one of the most extensive visual displays Paramore has ever produced. Lead singer Hayley Williams added to the flashiness in a sparkling silver baseball cap and romper, with shimmering tears painted onto her face as a nod to the tour’s motto: “Cry hard, dance harder.”
The band started the show with their most recent lead single “Hard Times”; fans sang along loudly as if it had been in Paramore’s repertoire since their early days. In fact, songs from the band’s 2005 debut album All We Know Is Falling were completely absent from the set list, but the audience didn’t seem to mind. After a four-year gap between Paramore’s self-titled 2013 record and 2017’s After Laughter, their fans were visibly overjoyed to finally hear new material like “Told You So” and “Fake Happy” live.
The set list also included old favorites such as “That’s What You Get” and “Brick By Boring Brick”. This resulted in sing-a-longs, that at times, surpassed the volume of the music. Deeper cuts like “I Caught Myself” from the Twilight movie soundtrack were also included, as well as a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere” – which showcased Williams’ powerful and fluid vocals, respectively.
A standout moment of the show was when the songwriting partners of the band, Williams and guitarist Taylor York, sat alone on stage with minimal lighting for a stripped down performance of “26.” The lyrics were written about a difficult year in Williams’ life and her struggle to hold onto hope. The song sounded especially honest, vulnerable, and intimate even when echoing off the walls of such a massive venue. The crowd listened and sang along passionately and respectfully, with tears rolling down many of their cheeks.
Right after that, though, Williams told the crowd to “check crying off your list” – and dancing commenced once more. Before playing their emo breakout hit “Misery Business,” Williams told the crowd to close their eyes and “travel back to 2007;” making jokes about Sidekick cell phones and “pants so tight they cut off your circulation.” But after putting the jokes aside, she thanked the crowd for growing up with the band, who were only in high school when their debut album was released. Looking around at the audience, it was clear to see that the majority of fans were the same age or only a bit younger than the band themselves. During the song, as per “Mis Bis” tradition, two fans were chosen out of the crowd and brought up on stage halfway through to rock out and finish singing with the band.
After going off stage with their danceable Grammy-winning double platinum single “Ain’t It Fun,” the band returned for an encore that included recently-returned drummer Zac Farro taking the mic for a performance of “Scooby’s in the Back,” a funky track from his alt-rock/indie pop side project, HalfNoise. Before their final song of the night, Williams introduced both the official and touring members of the band, which resulted in raucous cheers for each of them. The loudest and longest, though, were for York, who has been credited by Williams multiple times in recent interviews for being the only reason Paramore even stayed together to make another album. York, and the entirety of the band, accepted their praise extremely humbly, and Williams graciously thanked the fans for giving them the opportunity to do what they love for a living and to play at Radio City for the first time.
To lead into the closer (the energetic 80s inspired tune “Rose-Colored Boy”), the band and the fans came together for one more Paramore tradition: the collective shout of “We. Are. Paramore!” It is moments like this at every Paramore show that seem to make everyone there feel more like a family; this may be the reason that despite multiple genre and member changes, the band has remained successful. The engagement with the fans, the honesty with which the band shared their stories on stage, and the love of the music by both fans and band members that night was clear. And while their activity status and lineup has never been the most consistent, it seemed to delight the fans that Paramore would keep dancing and crying for a while longer.
- Hard Times
- Still Into You
- Brick By Boring Brick
- Playing God
- That’s What You Get
- I Caught Myself
- Hate to See Your Heart Break
- Told You So
- Everywhere (Fleetwood Mac Cover)
- Fake Happy
- Misery Business
- Ain’t It Fun
- Caught in the Middle
- Scooby’s in the Back (HalfNoise Cover)
- Rose-Colored Boy