"There’re two things you’ll need to get through tonight — besides your tears," Hayley Williams told the sold-out audience at the Fillmore Miami Beach. "Your dancing shoes. You got two of them?”
The crowd, ignoring the mess of Art Basel patrons outside, dances in confirmation.
"All right, good. We’re Paramore. Let’s dance."
If you were were 13 to 16 years old in 2007, there's a chance Paramore was then the most important band in the world to you. Maybe you read articles on WikiHow such as "How to Be a Scene Kid" and scribbled on your Chucks with a Sharpie. Maybe you even took a certain photo of Williams to the Regis salon at Dadeland Mall and told the stylist, "I want this haircut," and regretted it for years.
If you did all of this, seeing Paramore live at the Fillmore ten years later in 2017 was a shock. Williams looks very different. Her glittery eye makeup, platinum hair, and hot-pink blazer were visible from the back of the room. The band jumped right into "Hard Times," the '80s-funk-infused hit from its most recent album, this year's After Laughter, a full genre departure toward the pop side of pop-punk hinted at on a 2013 self-titled album.
It's the last show of the band's Tour Two, and it's been a long time coming; the show had to be postponed because of Hurricane Irma. "It took a very long time," Williams grinned. "But we saved the best for last."
The set list was a seamless blend of hits from the band's 12-year oeuvre. The 2013 radio hit "Still Into You" didn't rely on imitation of old hits to be a catchy pop song of substance, but it prioritized Hayley's soaring vocalization, which made "That's What You Get" a joyfully self-defeating pop-punk heartache song. After all this time, you're still into them.
Did anyone, even Paramore, think they'd still be selling out major venues 12 years after releasing All We Know Is Falling? What makes Paramore different from other Vans Warped Tour veterans such as All Time Low and Panic! at the Disco is emotional valence and Williams' pin-sharp articulation of it through her lyrics and voice. When the rest of the bandmates disappeared during an acoustic performance of "26," a song the 28-year-old Williams has called a letter to herself ten years earlier, she drew in the rest of the crowd. "I don’t know what any of you might be going through... but if wherever you’re going home from here makes you feel less alive, create something, at the end of the day, just make something,” she said. "This is something that we made.”
"26" is a musically elegant and mature transmutation of that memory. "Hold onto hope if you've got it," she sang. "Don't let it go for nobody/They say that dreaming is free/But I wouldn't care what it cost me."
Fans who stick with a band long enough will live to see kids half their age replace them with their wonder, tears, and weird dance. They will introduce themselves in ripped shirts and skinny jeans from the next seat to tell you Hayley sometimes invites fans onstage.
"Here we are at the tail end of 2017," Williams said from the stage after a real-happy performance of "Fake Happy." Before After Laughter was released following a four-year album gap, Williams was honest about her anxieties about the band being over. "Looks like we survived it," she laughed.
"[Ten years ago,] in 2007, we put out Riot!, and we were all — most of you too — high-school students," she continued, a reminder that the oft-ridiculed pop-punk songs of our childhood were made for and by the young and the vulnerable — inelegant music for inelegant growth.
"A lot of us have gotten the chance to grow up together. Thank you for giving us the chance," she said with the sincerity of an elementary school friend fallen out of touch.
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"If you wouldn’t mind raising your imaginary glass, I’m gonna toast to the colors orange and yellow and red," she smiled, playing the role of a silver-haired millennial sage. "We’re gonna toast to black-and-white scribbles everywhere... and toast to misery.”
This is enough to know even before the song begins that "Misery Business" will feel just as triumphant as it did at 13, Chucks and all.
- "Hard Times"
- "Still Into You"
- "Brick by Boring Brick"
- "Playing God"
- "That's What You Get"
- "I Caught Myself"
- "Hate to See Your Heart Break"
- "Told You So"
- "Everywhere" (Fleetwood Mac cover)
- "Fake Happy"
- "Misery Business"
- "Ain't It Fun"
- "Caught in the Middle"
- "Scooby's in the Back" (HalfNoise cover)
- "Rose-Colored Boy"