Venue: Zepp@BigBox, Singapore
Date: 21st August 2018
Promoter: LAMC Productions
Review by: Anna F.
Special Thanks: The LAMC Productions team

Paramore last step foot on our sunny island seven years ago, and on exactly the same day they returned too. This time round, the trio – consisting of lead vocalist Hayley Williams, guitarist Taylor York, and drummer Zac Farro – brought along four backing musicians (Justin York on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Joey Howard on bass guitar, Logan MacKenzie on rhythm guitar and keyboards, and Joseph Mullen manning the percussion section). The additions very clearly bolstered the overall depth of their live sound and it was refreshing to hear hints of instruments like the glockenspiel and even bongos in certain songs.

The 21-song setlist consisted of all-time favourites like “Still Into You”, “Crushcrushcrush”, and “Ain’t It Fun”, as well as the newer unrivaled standouts on their latest record such as “Rose-Colored Boy”, “Fake Happy”, and, despite its dark undertones, the surprisingly feel-good “Pool”, with Hayley somehow managing to nail all the vocals while jumping around, doing high kicks, and just being an all-around badass frontwoman.

Addressing the audience for the first time following the performance of back-to-back tunes, the perpetually neon-tinted singer said, “It’s been a long, long time hasn’t it? We’ve done a lot since we saw each other, gone through some things… but guess what? We survived, and here we are.”

What followed was an acoustic segment, which shone a whole new light on the pop-punk titans. It included an esoteric rendition of Drake’s “Passionfruit”, “Misguided Ghosts”, off Brand New Eyes, and, in Williams’ own words, the heart and soul of their fifth studio album, After Laughter, “26”. The three-song-long portion of the show added a whole lot of texture to the set, and it was interesting to see a more introspective side of them in person and understand how the difficult experiences they went through both individually and as a band, shaped the album’s overall production.

“It’s been a little over a year since we put the record out and I’m finally starting to see how worth it, it was to go through some stuff,” Hayley expressed, without going into too much detail. After a brief intermission, it was back to the up-tempo stuff, as Hayley encouraged the audience to wear out their dancing shoes.

Another noteworthy aspect of their live show was the incredibly iridescent and kaleidoscopic visuals as well as the multiple effects on the two screens overseeing the crowd, including a distorted rainbow-esque filter, and even a sketch one, which was trippy, to say the least. The carefully curated colours and hypnotic elements matched the singer’s bubbly personality and fashion sense down to a T.

“Misery Business”, off 2007’s Riot!, saw the vibrant frontwoman handpicking two fans from the audience to sing the last chorus, but they did more jumping around and headbanging in unison with the singer than anything else. Nevertheless, we lapped it up all the same, just watching our wildest dreams come true. You could tell that everyone waited a long time to see the American rock giants by the sheer decibel level of the screams every time Williams so much as acknowledged the crowd.

And with that, Hayley uttered some very familiar last words, “Singapore – we love you. We love you.” And we all shouted back in unison, “And we are Paramore.”

The night was a bittersweet mix of embracing hardships, reminiscing about the good old days, cherishing the journey you happen to be on, and pushing yourself to be better – and even though there were some very obvious staple hits missing from the 90-minute performance, I think it’s safe to say everybody went home so much more than Fake Happy.