Genting Arena in Birmingham last night was turned into a glitter ball full of humans who cried as hard as they danced. The return of the band after a 4-year absence was met with the all-too familiar colourful crowd that we expect to see at Paramore shows. Since then, there have been a few notable changes in the line up. Gone is bassist Jeremy Davis but there has been a return to the drums of Zac Farro (who quit the band along with his brother Josh in 2010).
Before the headliners appeared though we had MeWithoutYou (whose lead singer Aaron Weiss appears on Paramore’s track “No Friend” from After Laughter) and this was the first time I had experienced them live. They were popular with sections of the crowd but in all honesty I couldn’t particularly make out any of the lyrics to the songs.
Paramore exploded onto the stage with hit single “Hard Times”, fronted by the forever energetic Hayley Williams, and continued to blast through a number of hits from last year’s successful album After Laughter with some past tracks thrown in for good measure. Despite the recent change in style of music, it’s quite clear that both the band and crowd still enjoy rocking out as they powered through oldies “Ignorance”, “That’s What You Get”, and “I Caught Myself” before bringing out everyone’s emotional side during “Hate To See Your Heart Break” where many pieces of glitter makeup undoubtedly disappeared.
For this tour they brought “Pool” and “Idle Worship” into the set which proved to be extremely popular as the deafening shouts of “Don’t let me let you down” roared from the mixed crowd amongst a sea of arms in the air. Looking along the first two rows, there were teenagers attending their first show along with twenty-somethings who were into double figures, but tonight complete strangers became friends connected through one love for the same band.
Beside lead singer Hayley, we had Taylor York, the man who this fifteen thousand-strong crowd owe everything to for this band still being in front of them playing music. He electrified the stage with his guitar alongside Zac Farro, sporting his trademark beanie hat, on drums with backing members who all got their appreciation as Hayley introduced each one on stage. The presence, and importance, of each band member confirms what Ms Williams has been telling us for the past decade. Paramore is a band.
It’s a long-held tradition that during hit single “Misery Business” a lucky member of the audience gets picked out to join the band on stage to finish off the song. It takes a cold-hearted human to not feel delighted for the excited person who lives a dream by joining their favourite band onstage. Tonight the look in their eyes and the sheer happiness is enough to make your heart glow on what was a bitterly cold day outside for those who queued up for substantial hours to be close to their idols.
We finished off with “Rose-Coloured Boy” that had a touch of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” thrown in and it perfectly summed up what we’re now accustomed to at a Paramore show. For that hour and a half forget everything and cry hard but make sure you dance harder.