Paramore’s latest sell-out show in London felt drenched in the band’s history, its ups, its downs and its decision to reclaim those memories.
Combining both the angsty teen pop-punk that launched Hayley Williams to fame in the mid-2000s and the more mature fare of recent releases, Paramore once again gave fans a night to remember.
Sparkling from head to toe, Williams opened the show with a message to fans: “We’ve got songs to reclaim together. A lot of crying, screaming and dancing to do.”
And the iconic pop-punk trio would deliver, expertly performing songs from their latest record, This Is Why, while also bringing back fan favourites that, for almost a decade, have not featured in live shows.
Simply put, Williams framed this London performance as an act of reclamation.
Lasting two hours, the set flowed from new songs to old hits and back again in a raucous show that managed to make the colossal o2 arena feel intimate in scope.
Two decades into the band’s mainstream success, Williams is no longer just an impressively skilled vocalist.
Full of charisma, the Tennessee native now dominates the stage, interacting with fans during songs and expertly moving from head-banging hits to quiet acoustic numbers.
At no point did Williams give any less than 100%, dancing to every track in her signature style, moving from left to right and involving fans at every possible moment.
Drummer Zac Farro and guitarist Taylor York held their own alongside Williams, tightly hitting every note of the extensive set list.
An interesting detour during the show saw Farro perform an unreleased track off of his solo project.
Visually, Paramore’s first London show was simple but impressive.
Williams stood sparkling in a sequined dress ahead of a mammoth screen that often showed lyrics to the band’s biggest hits, with unique imagery for each song that allowed the band’s performance to remain the central focus.
Throughout the show, it became clear what the Paramore frontwomen meant when she spoke of reclamation.
For years a number of Paramore’s biggest hits have remained unplayed at live shows, seemingly due to the difficult memories that resurface for Williams when they are played.
But no more will the band allow these memories to keep their art from themselves and from fans.
Most notably, the London show saw a return of 2009’s “The Only Exception”, a perhaps too-sweet love song that was released amid one of the band’s many public fallouts.
Fans raised their phones to create a night sky as they joined Williams in belting out the song’s lyrics.
New songs also impressed, the shimmering Crave cemented itself among the band’s best work while This Is Why acted as the ideal closure.
Emilia, who was attending her first Paramore concert, said: “I loved it, Hayley Williams has created a relationship with her fans which I’ve never seen anywhere else, she genuinely cares.”
As anyone who has attended a Paramore show over the years knows, the highlight is more often than not the band’s biggest hit, RIOT’s Misery Business.
While the song disappeared from live shows for several years due to some admittedly outdated lyrics, it was back in London and better than ever.
As is tradition, the band brought three fans on stage to perform the song with them, with the trio fully embracing their moment in the spotlight.
In all, Paramore’s return to London blended the past and present, proving that, despite the band entering its third decade soon, fans have a lot to be excited for.