review | paramore live in london

The first night of Paramore’s London O2 arena show can only be described as an ode to their legacy. Over the past two decades, the band have built a cult fanbase who front woman Hayley Williams dotingly called “family” throughout the evening, thanking them for supporting the trio through every era. “We’ve got songs to reclaim together. A lot of crying, screaming and dancing to do,” announced Williams at the start of the show.

A lot of anticipation comes with having a hit discography. Paramore successfully delivered a setlist that harmoniously balanced old and new. Fans swayed in unison to The Only Exception and jumped to crowd favourites like Still Into You and Decode. Paramore even played some surprise choices like Caught Myself which Williams said the band hadn’t played in a while.

Due to popular demand, they played their first mega-hit Misery Business which for years was never performed live because lead singer Williams did not want to promote certain lyrics in the song. Namely, “once a whore, you’re nothing more, I’m sorry that’ll never change.” Williams did put her hand over her mouth for that line, but the audience screamed it with passion. 

The band made the most of their two hours on stage, giving 100% energy from the the very first note. From bass to keys, each member delivered magnetic energy. Drummer Zac Farro provided infectious percussion while the shy but wickedly talented guitarist Taylor York played sweet melodies that elevated every track.

Adorned in sparkles, Williams made the O2 her altar with her signature funky dance style and impeccable vocals that never once faltered. She is not only a skilled vocalist but has a charismatic presence that had crowds roaring every lyric. Moments of calm came from Williams performing one of her solo singles on a smoke filled stage. Percussionist Farro also performed an unreleased track, Baby, under his solo alias HalfNoise.  

When it comes to set design, the visuals were simple and minimal, but tonal lighting and the intrinsic magic of the band made the night memorable for die hard fans and new ones. As the night came to a close, the band invited three fans on stage to perform the final verse of Misery Business to a packed arena. The gesture is a testament to Paramore’s pure appreciation for their audience. Williams thanked fans for inspiring their latest album This Is Why and closed with the title track of the album to a sea of confetti. It felt like a very fitting finale to a show that was a time capsule of their journey.

photography. Zachary Gray
words. Shama Nasinde

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