In the time since Paramore‘s last performance in New York — which took place in 2018 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center as part of the band’s After Laughter tour — there was a major shift. The group has always had a fiercely dedicated group of fans across different races, genders and sexualities, but when the pandemic saw the rebirth of pop punk and alternative music, seen in the rise of stars like Olivia Rodrigo and GAYLE, fans of the genre went back to the basics and flocked back to Paramore. So when the group announced an intimate gig at the historic Beacon Theatre on Sunday, the energy was fierce, fun and as, expected, energetic.
The gig kicked off with Paramore’s newest single, “This Is Why,” which showcased the agility of lead singer Hayley Williams’ vocals as she hit the snappy track’s high notes and funky low notes with ease, all while expertly performing her signature choreography consisting of intricate footwork, larger-than-life arm movements and head bangs (though the latter was in a shorter supply after a warning from Williams’ personal chiropractor, she told the audience during a speaking break).
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The first half of the set saw Paramore catering to OG fans with a series of songs from the band’s first three albums, including Brand New Eyes single “Brick by Boring Brick,” Riot! classic “That’s What You Get,” All We Know Is Falling deep cut and fan favorite “Here We Go Again,” plus intense live versions of “Decode” and “I Caught Myself” for all the Twi-Hards in attendance — all of which the audience members sang verbatim.
If the first half of the set was about appeasing old-school fans, the second half of the set — which commenced after a tear-jerking performance of Brand New Eyes‘ acoustic slow jam “Misguided Ghosts” — was about fans fully committing to dancing as wildly as possible, according to Williams. The latter half of the concert was anchored by hits from After Laughter and the band’s self-titled LP, including the sing-along-inducing “Ain’t It Fun” and “Still Into You,” as well as “Rose-Colored Boy” (with a portion of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”) and “Hard Times” (which included a snippet of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass”), before rolling into the band’s most iconic song to date.
Williams prefaced their signature hit “Misery Business” with a few words to the audience, taking the time before launching into Riot!‘s lead single with a disclaimer.
“The grace that you’ve shown us as we’ve grown up and learned our lessons in front of the world — thank you for that. We’re going to play that TikTok hit not without this disclaimer: Thank you for growing up with us, learning the tough lessons and thank you for being good people. We promise to keep trying to be good people too and to keep learning these lessons.
“This song is about misogyny,” Williams simply said, playing the track that she’s had a complicated lyrical relationship with, even vowing to not perform it live again in previous years.
With nearly 20 years of being in a band, and five of those past years on a break, Paramore’s intimate performance at the Beacon proves what has always been true of the band: God, it just feels so good…to see them live once again.