On Friday, October 6th, I went to see Paramore at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, which lays on the outskirts of Philadelphia. Paramore is an American rock band that formed in 2005 with members Hayley Williams, Josh and Zac Farro, and Jeremy Davis. After 12 years, 5 albums, and a countless amount of tour dates, the band has experienced quite a few lineup alterations as well as genre shifts. However, one thing they have never lost is their talent and the undying fire that powers them through their hard times.
I went to go see Paramore during their Paramore tour back in 2013 at the Radio 104.5 Birthday Show in Camden, New Jersey. I can definitely say that the chemistry between the band members and the energy that is omitted on stage were probably even greater this time around, even with the personnel change. In her red jumpsuit ensemble and her signature checkered Vans sneakers, Hayley pranced around stage and honestly just put her heart and soul into the entire show. The energy remained consistent throughout the 2-hour set.
This sold out show was part of Tour Two, the US leg of their After Laughter tour. Best Coast performed as the opener, and Zac Farro’s band Half Noise played a song close to the end of Paramore’s set. The whole concert was a life changing experience, and I am here to tell you all about it.
This was my first time, however, attending a concert at the Tower Theater. It was built in 1927, when it was used for vaudeville shows. Now, it’s a concert hall, with a very vintage, classic feel. The contrast between the aged architecture and the modern, new age music contributed to the eclectic vibe that represented the whole show.
I was seated in the center of the upper balcony. The Tower Theater can seat 3,119 people, and every seat was filled. Even though I was pretty far away from the stage, the sound and energy down in the front was easily translated to where I was located. Of course, the enthusiasm of the crowd was not as high in the balcony because we were farther away, but there were plenty of people having the time of their lives, including myself. The show began at around 7:30 and ended at about 11:00, which is typical of a concert with an opener.
First to come on stage was Best Coast. The indie pop duo was accompanied by three other touring members to fill out the band. Their songs were full of talent and love, and they were rather soothing and pretty relaxed. Their surfer rock sound reminded me of something from the soundtrack from a late 90s, early 2000s teen movie. Lead vocalist Bethany Cosentino’s voice was absolutely stunning. She clearly treats her voice well, and I believe she does the recordings of their music justice. In fact, I think the live versions were even better than the recordings.
Best Coast was a good pick for the openers because they fit into the same genre as Paramore. Being female-fronted and having the mixture of chilled out songs and more electric guitar driven songs made them a good fit for this tour especially.
At about 9:15, Paramore and co sauntered onto the dark stage and the crowd went wild. After some noodling on the guitar, bass, and drums to add excitement and tension, the lights flashed on and they started off the show with “Hard Times,” their hit single off their newest album. There were 19 songs during their set, including their encore. 7 of the songs were from After Laughter, and the other 12 were from Paramore, Riot!, and Brand New Eyes, as well as a “I Caught Myself” from the Twilight soundtrack, a cover of “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac, and “Scooby’s in the Back,” a song by Half Noise.
As excited as the crowd was for the newer songs in Paramore’s repertoire, everyone was clearly more enthused about hearing the hits like, “Brick By Boring Brick,” “That’s What You
Get,” and “Ignorance.” Those are the songs that made Paramore, but that doesn’t take away from what they have been doing lately with their musical careers. People still sang every word of their new music.
When they started “26,” the room went silent. It was just Hayley with her microphone and Taylor with his acoustic guitar sitting on stage. This song is starkly different from the others on their album. While the others are much more upbeat and pop rock, this one is somber and quiet. That atmosphere was recreated flawlessly that night. Just the vocals and guitar were incredibly compelling and moving. The mixture of hurt and hope was thick in the air.
After a short interlude of Hayley speaking about 2007 and how AOL Instant Messenger is being discontinued, the band segued into the ultimate classic, “Misery Business.” Of course, the audience lost their ever-loving minds. We all screamed our lungs out. The band maintained tradition and prolonged the instrumental section right before the bridge to find a person to bring on stage to sing the rest of the song with them. The girl they chose was clearly having the time of her life, and it was really fun to watch them all have so much fun dancing all over the stage.
The last song we thought they were going to play was “Ain’t It Fun,” which would have been a perfect way to end the night with the crowd chanting, “Don’t go cryin’, to your mama.” However, that was not enough for us.
They came back on for an encore after a few minutes of the audience ardently demanding for one. They played “Caught in the Middle” first, and then they played, “Scooby’s in the Back.” Zac got up from behind his drum set and grabbed a mic, and he and Hayley sang the vocals for the song. That was an interesting change of pace, and Half Noise’s sound also blended nicely with the overall vibe of the night.
The last song Paramore played was, “Rose-Colored Boy,” one of their more popular songs from the album. The crowd was dancing and singing and having a great time. The band really put on a party that night.
Overall, Paramore still has as much vivacity, sass, and talent as they always did. Even though their sound is changing, the quintessential essence of their music is still bright, shining, and apparent, and that should never be disregarded or forgotten.