Saturday 28 September 2013

Paramore @ Wembley Arena

"We've got a lot of time to make up for", said frontwoman Hayley Williams apologetically.  "I don't know what we were thinking".

The band's hiatus following the departure of Zac and Josh Farro not only had an impact on the band ("we admit, sometimes we're dysfunctional"), but has left fans wanting.  It's been a long time since Paramore have performed in the UK - as such this gig was just as much about fan service as it was the band re-asserting themselves.

As with their recent self-titled album, they began with Fast In My Car - a song that acknowledges the band's progression since their previous material ("we aren’t looking backward, we won’t try raising the dead”).  And although the band have moved on ("I don't want to get too emo" admitted Williams), they weren't afraid to acknowledge the past by performing some fan favourites like That's What You Get, Misery Business and Brick By Boring Brick.  These songs are certainly heavier than their new material and had much of the audience jumping and moshing, whilst The Only Exception became a mass sing-along as the crowd swayed in a sea of mobile phone fireflies.

It's clear, though, that Paramore are becoming more of a pop band than a rock band, with a setlist as varied as their fanbase.  The gig was broken up by the same ukelele interludes featured on the album and ended with the sweet love song Still Into You, the crowd showered in ticker tape.  Ain't It Fun also stood out for its pop hooks - it may have lacked the gospel choir of the recording, but who needs a choir when you have an arena of passionate fans singing back to you?

Williams really is the ideal frontwoman.  Not only does she look and sound amazing, she knows how to work a crowd.  The legions of devoted fans probably sang just as much as she did, calling back every lyric as she demanded they sing and dance along with her.  This culminated in one lucky and ecstatic girl being invited on stage to join the band.  As she hugged them and squealed with glee, she reflected the utter joy of every person in the arena.  Paramore are back, with more support than ever, ready to take on the world.