Live Review: Paramore @ Rod Laver Arena

28 Nov | Michael Prebeg

Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas plays over the speakers to welcome Remi Wolf to the stage filled with inflatable Christmas decorations. She begins with Liquor Store to kick off her fun and energetic performance to warm up the crowd with top marks. “I’ve come here from California to open up for Paramore, your favourite band,” she says, repping some of their merch.

“My job is to make everyone have a good time for the next forty-five-minutes. So we’re going to do some exercises together,” she says. We follow her lead by putting our hands up in the air and start wiggling our fingers and moving our hips. We then warm up vocal cords by screaming at the top our lungs and explore a full range of human emotions together. Finally, we reach into our heart and soul to shake out our innards and let go of everything negative that we came in the room with tonight. “You are going to be giving yourself the permission tonight to have the best night of your best fucking life,” she screams.

Wolf is ready to keep going with a song called Michael and she unleashes her huge vocals as she continues to belt out choruses on her funky bedroom indie-pop tracks. She’s got a tremendous stage presence and moves around with playful expression. A song called Sexy Villain is one she tells us that she wrote about the duality of being, thinking you’re hot but then thinking you’re a piece of shit the next minute.

She keeps our energy levels at a high right through to the end of her set and shares a catchy new song called Soup. “It’s about being in a relationship when you’re trying hard but just keep fucking up and you’re always mad but don’t have the tools to deal with that yet so instead you go to the top of a roof and do a bunch of drugs or eat lots of pizza and soup,” she speaks candidly.

A spoken word intro by Hayley Williams with accompanying visuals, plays before Paramore hit the stage with You First and The News from their latest sixth album released earlier this year. It’s their second night in Melbourne and the crowd is even more excited than the first. “Excuse me, are we in Melbourne? I was confused because I thought we were in Melbourne last night but you guys seem a little louder than that Melbourne. Are you sure this is the same place?” Williams asks as the audience screams in response.

They continue with a track each from their second, third and fifth albums, That’s What You Get, Playing God and Caught In The Middle.

“I’m gonna tell you like I told the Melbourne of last night, this is your space inside these walls, this is your night and we’ve got two-hours together. This space is for whatever you need it to be. There’s a lot going on outside these walls, a lot of it is heartbreaking and maddening and it’s not stopping. This is our place where time can stand still and we can be present together. Let’s give ourselves permission for that. Stand up and scream, dance your ass off and sweat, cry and burst into uncontrollable tears, this is your place to do that. You are safe. As for the dancing, there’s no such thing as bad dancing at a Parmore concert – you don’t have to be any good to be good at it. Let your body do its thing – just feel it and let it go. Trust me you’ll see plenty of bad dance moves on this stage so if we can do it, you can damn sure do it,” Willams reassures us.

We get into it with plenty of animated dancing from the band and the incredible stage production with a trapezium-shaped structure moves up and down from the ceiling, rotating at different angles and illuminating the stage. 

We then do a warmup with Williams and we follow her vocal cues to cover all key ranges until we reach ‘low key no pressure’ part from Rose-Colored Boy including a snippet of Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody for a bit of fun. She puts on some sunglasses and accepts a rose from a fan in the front row as she dances along.

“This is the last city on the last tour of the This Is Why album cycle this year. Thank you for seeing us off like this. Thank you for coming to our shows and supporting our band for almost twenty years. We are so close to the twenty-year mark since our first album came out,” she says sincerely.

One of the songs (Running Out of Time) on the new album that isn’t angry (there’s very few of those, she adds) is not really that deep at all, it’s just about when you can never seem to make it on time to anything in your life. Their Twilight hit Decode is a nostalgic fan favourite that sees Williams grab the microphone stand to reach voices shouting the lyrics in the mosh pit and Last Hope is an emotional delivery that sees the audience holding up their phone touches to illuminate the arena.

All three original band members Taylor York, Zac Farro and Williams, reappear for Liar on an elevated platform on crates that’s symbolic of their early days starting out in middle school playing in their garage with Farro on drums, York on guitar and Williams on lead vocals. Their bond is incredibly tight and unbreakable despite all the years past. They remain in this position as Williams shares her solo track Crystal Clear.

They return to the main stage with their full touring band for Hard Times with a bit of Men At Work’s Down Under mixed in.

“We’ve been doing this a long time and we’ve all known each other since 2002. It’s mostly because we love each other, and we worked out a lot of shit over the years but also because we have people like you who are really into the stuff that we make and you let us experiment and try new shit and become different versions of ourself and grow up. A lot of you have grown up with us. We know that a lot of bands who started as young as we did or in the era that we did, just don’t get to do this the way that we do and to come all the way to Australia to be greeted by all of you like this is a gift,” she says.

They dedicate a love song that goes out to their fans that’s had many different meanings since being written in 2009. “The best one that stays the truest is that you are the love of our life, the longest relationship we’ve ever been in, so here’s to you,” she reveals, before The Only Exception. There are a few proposals in the audience during the final bridge of the love song.

“How are you going at being present? You seem like you’re pretty good at it so thank you. That’s really cool for us. It’s hard to do so if you’re someone who’s had trouble with it tonight, we get it and we wrote a whole song about called Crave,” she shares before launching into the song that brings her to her knees by the end.

Farro shares a song from his other band HalfNoise called Baby as he puts on some cool shades and takes on lead vocals for the catchy feel-good track. Hayley takes the passenger seat on acoustic guitar and backing vocals to change this up.

“Do any of you guys remember 2007? How was that for you? It was pretty rockin’ for us,” she notes. “Well, we have for you tonight, a little ode to 2007. It’s the stuff of Warped Tours, Vans, MySpace profiles, eyeliner, white belts. It was also a time when Paramore did shows with hardcore bands so we did everything in our power to come across as a hardcore band but it didn’t go so well,” she laughs. “This is a song where for us, so much of our career began – it was the year that it started and it’s the year that my dad stopped driving the van that we toured in. To fans delight they play Misery Business and they pick out an excited fansfrom the audience to sing the final chorus centre stage and ask us to internalise misogyny as she sings the controversial lyrics.

It’s been two nights where most of the audience are people are seeing their first Paramore show in Melbourne. They look around the arena and Williams asks, “Where have you been all our life?” We find the energy we have left, and we bust back out our moves for Ain’t It Fun before they take it down for Thick Skull (an addition swapped with Figure 8 from the previous night).

“If we come back to see you, will you come back to see us?” Asks Williams. before dedicating their first encore song (Still Into You) to themselves, Paramore. Their final track This Is Why ends as confetti with the individual words on confetti strips ‘THIS’ ‘IS’ ‘WHY’ explodes over the audience in the general admission area and covers the floor to leave their mark.

Words by Michael Prebeg

Photo by Zachary Gray

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