I love Paramore. Judge me if you must. (Gimme a break I just saw Sigur Ros) I’ve loved them since the first time I heard “Pressure” back in 2005. I’ve followed them ever since and some 8 years later I had never gotten to see them live. So at 31, I found myself in a sea of tweens. Due to my age and chronic “concert back” we got seats near the floor so I had the option to stand and thrash, or sit and tap my foot. I did choose to stand most of the concert, every now and then taking a breather by sitting on the stop of my unfolded chair to give the old spine a break. I was exhausted just watching Hayley dance around that stage like a maniac and her voice never wavered. Let’s get one thing straight, home girl can sing. If you want to crack on them because they are pop, or because the majority of their fan following is young girls that is fine, but when you hear her sing live while running around the stage you have to give the girl credit. She has pipes. She’s not a manufactured pop artist. She has actual talent.
She was very good with the crowd, she talked just enough to make you feel at home with her, reminiscing about Orlando and how they recorded their first album here and she fondly remembered their trips to Winter Park. Many of the songs she didn’t even have to sing. The thousands of people sang every word for her, and I think at some points it struck her, even on a rarer track, that Orlando was filled with true fans. At one point, sitting at her piano the arena belted so loudly that she just said “bless you Orlando” and raised her hands for 30 seconds as if to bask in the glow of how it feels when people really do love your music.
My favorite part of the show was during Misery Business, when at the climatic breakdown she stopped just short of everyone that was about to slam dance as hard as they possibly could, and joked that she wasn’t gonna let the song go any further without getting someone on stage. She picked a girl out of the crowd who ran on stage and hugged her so tightly. She wanted her to sing the bridge that led up to the part where everyone goes wild and I was honestly thinking, please let the crowd be nice to this girl that didn’t look more than 17. Rachel, looked at ease on stage, took the mic and once Hayely counted her in she took over and killed it. In all the shows I’ve been to, I have never seen anyone get pulled up on stage to sing one of the bands most popular songs, let alone own the stage! Rachel was a star, and it was a pretty adorable thing to see.
I was a little disappointed that during "Ain't it Fun", I didn't get the gospel choir experience I was expecting from the track on the album. This is a great, fun song, with almost a old R& B feel that has been modernized, and Hayley gets backed up with a soulful choir. I saw people in robes waiting in the wings, and I ready. In a sea of whiteys I was ready for some soul! I shouldn't have been shocked that Paramore doesn't tour with a soulful gospel choir. She had a bunch of pimply faced teens from a local glee club backing her up. Very lacking in ethnicity. Oh well. Another soulless evening in white musical supremacy. Justin Timberlake will rectify that in December, I am sure of it.
Sadly, I did feel older at this show than most I attend, perhaps because the average age was 17. Even as a boy in my section proposed to his girlfriend during “Only Exception” and the crowd around them roared and they held each other and sucked face, the old lady cynic in me was thinking “way to propose in a place that you literally don’t have to say anything, you just shove the ring in her face”. Horrible! As I looked around and saw teen girls unabashedly screaming with glee and bopping to every beat, I totally did the old person sway back and forth. As the kids excitedly took a picture of every song to capture the different lights or images, I turned to my old man and joked “Trent would think this is really cute”. The true testament to being old at a show is when you leave before the very last song to get your car out of the parking garage and pick up your kiddies so we don’t have to wait in line. Sorry, but momma don't play waiting in a parking garage for 45 minutes while kids are in their cars beeping their horns to their jams!
Overall, Paramore played a healthy mix of songs from their new album and quite a few “classics”. With this crowd, it didn’t seem to matter what she played, they knew it all. Overall, it wasn’t close to a top 10 show, but with the acts I’ve been seeing lately, that is a extremely hard barrier to break. It was well worth the money, and these days that’s really all you can ask for.