When Paramore debuted in 2005 with All We Know Is Falling, the group was a wide-eyed freshman brimming with teenage potential. They soon found their identity and became one of the coolest kids in school with its sophomore (Riot!) and junior (Brand New Eyes) albums. But there were certainly some growing pains, depressing moments, and lost friends (the group’s original lead guitarist and drummer, Josh and Zach Farro, left the band in 2010) along the way. Now that the remaining trio of singer Hayley Williams, bassist Jeremy Davis, and guitarist Taylor York has completed and released their self-titled fourth album earlier this year, the band has graduated to a new level: arena rock stars.
On Tuesday night, Paramore kicked off their North American tour in style at Seattle’s KeyArena. “This is the biggest show,” said Williams. “This is the biggest heading tour we’ve put on in our entire lives.” The band then launched into the 21-song set with two of their new album’s biggest sounding tracks: “Grow Up” and “Fast in My Car.” Williams’ booming voice and the aggressive instrumentation by Davis and York effortlessly filled out the sometimes unforgiving acoustics of KeyArena.
Nods to the unity of Paramore’s three core members were strewn throughout the show, from the three massive vertical LED screens to the other musicians confined to a platform in the back. Even the stage jutted out into the audience with three distinct points like an onomatopoeic action bubble from the old Batman series. The symbolism may have been a bit heavy, but when Williams talked between songs about the nervous moments when she thought the band would dissolve after the Farro brothers’ departure, it became clear how important the trio’s bond remains. “It’s been a real roller coaster,” said Williams, “so thanks for taking the ride with us.”
Throughout the evening, Williams displayed unending energy and a knack for controlling the crowd. She bounced around stages with an unbridled glee, strutting around stage and constantly busting out spastic high kicks. If she wanted everyone on their feet and dancing along to “Crushcrushcrush,” they instantly obliged. Even when she sat down behind a keyboard for “Daydreaming” and “When It Rains,” the audience remained rapt.
The venue was only about three-fourths full (with the upper level curtained off), but Paramore showed their appreciation when Williams brought a fan named Jordan onto the stage to sing part of the set closer “Misery Business.” While Jordan may not have looked the part with his frantic movements and a sweater tied around his waist, when it came time to belt out the lyrics, he did so with supreme confidence – and the song didn’t miss a beat. Like the rest of the evening, it was pure performer-fan symbiosis.
After returning to the stage to play “Part II” and “Moving On,” Paramore wrapped up the encore with a rousing rendition of its latest hit “Still Into You” as balloons fell from the rafters and confetti that matched Williams’ coif blasted outward onto the crowd. The colorful cascade provided a fitting end to Paramore’s declaration of arena rock arrival.
“Fast in My Car”
“That’s What You Get”
“I’m Not Angry Anymore”
When It Rains
“Brick by Boring Brick”
“Ain’t It Fun”
“The Only Exception”
“In the Mourning/Landslide”
“Still Into You”