Paramore “Self Titled Tour”

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“Hey, San Diego, just to make this very clear… WE. ARE. PARAMORE!”

Paramore was back, alive and well after their three year break. Hayley Williams, Jeremy Davis, and Taylor York are at the top of their game, and appear to have no intention of stopping any time soon – that was evident enough in their energetic performance on Oct. 23 at the Viejas Arena. Singing, dancing, and plain old rocking out carried on all night long and well into their encore song from their new self-titled album.

After Williams quickly polled the audience to find out the newcomers – all of whom screamed and cheered when she asked if it was their first Paramore concert – she welcomed them to the family. “This was your hazing,” she told the audience. “See, it wasn’t so bad. A little sweaty, but not too bad.”

There was never a dull moment. The band’s energy infected the audience, who never stopped dancing, head-banging, or raising their phones with the flashlight-app on to wave along to the slow-songs. The college student next to me was “octopus dancing” – arms flailing, jumping in place, and singing along to all of the songs at the top of his lungs. That more than anything made me smile, even as I backed away to keep a safe distance from his gesticulating arms. He summed up the whole night: wild, almost childish excitement that would make it hard to fall asleep a few hours later.

For their song “Ain’t It Fun,” Paramore brought on members of a local high school choir to sing the bridge – although most couldn’t hear them above the sound of the rest of the audience singing along at the top of their lungs. The audience, in fact, sang along to almost every single song that Paramore played, including the older favorites as well as more recent additions to their repertoire. When they started singing along to “Misery Business,” Williams even asked the audience if they practiced it before they came.

At one point, near the end of their set, Williams sat down at her electric piano and told the audience all about the band’s journey since the last time they played in San Diego, back in 2010. That same year, the Farro brothers left the band, leaving Paramore without a guitarist and a drummer. Much drama ensued, many old wounds re-opened on the Internet, and the trio struggled to move past the break. As Williams admitted, they “never thought [Paramore] would ever play at San Diego again.”

But, she continued, the best part of any story is the time when the situation simply couldn’t get any worse. “It’s like you’re trapped in this haze,” explained Williams. You live for the moment when “the light pokes through” and you realize that you survived. She played a song that the trio had written during the first year after the break up, the song that she explained would keep them going and keep them  writing more songs: “In the Mourning.” Although the song is not featured on any of their albums, it is a beautiful tribute to moving on and burying the hatchet.

There was no sadness at any moment that night, however. Paramore has come so far since the Honda Civic Tour in 2010 – they appear more comfortable in their positions as rock artists and as performers. Williams interacted fluidly with the audience. When looking for a member of the audience to come onto the stage and sing the bridge of their trademark song “Misery Business,” she reminded the audience that, “you don’t have to sing with a thousand eyes staring at you every night. I do. Because I’m a pro.”

As I left the arena, ears ringing and throat sore, I thought back to the preview I wrote for the concert. I set high expectations for this concert, and let me assure you, it went above and beyond. Honestly, I actually ended up staying up until midnight, waiting for the ringing in my ears to die down enough so that I could sleep. It was an amazing night, and I can’t wait to see what Paramore does next. They are far from finished – they have only just begun.