Friday 19th January
“IT’S been a honour to grow up in front of you.”
That’s the phrase platinum blonde singer, Hayley Williams relays to Manchester Arena’s packed audience, and grow she has.
As the only member of the Tennessee band to remain a constant presence since 2004, the trio have gone from angst-emo pop rock with power chords to a pristine electronic new wave sound courtesy of last year’s album After Laughter, which the majority of the set takes from, save for a early outing of Ignorance.
Arenas have long been a regular fixture for Paramore, though this tour sees a stripped back production, apart from arty projections on a circular backdrop.
This leaves Hayley, star of the show, high kicking and commanding the stage, standing out, quite literally, from the touring members all dressed in white.
The crowd is filled up with those who have grown up with the band and those newer to the frontwoman’s fierce honesty and independent spirit.
Either way, they’re here to have fun. Even returning member, drummer Zac Farro, gets a chance to play one of this own tracks during the encore.
The set is energetic throughout, aside from the ninth song of the night, when the arena falls completely silent during an unplanned break in the acoustic track 26.
On the lip of the stage, Hayley and guitarist Taylor York are lit by hundreds of phone lights.
For many in the crowd, it was their first time returning to the venue since May’s terror attack and Hayley was keen to emphasise how their shows are supposed to be safe places, where people can be themselves.
But through very public spats with ex-members, at times mirroring a revolving door more than a band, Paramore’s greatest achievement must be how the band have cultivated a real emotional connection with their fans and by bringing onto the stage three of them to sing the bridge to their most iconic track Misery Business.
They are left with memories that will last a life time. After all, isn’t that what music is all about?