After gracing the Royal Albert Hall last year, Paramore hit London’s O2 over the weekend as part of their first real UK tour in years. And on Tour Three, ‘After Laughter’ is really clicking into gear.
An extended, dramatic intro into 'Hard Times' set the tone for a vibrant, 'After Laughter'-heavy set, and while a handful of fan favourites (like the unstoppable 'Ignorance', half of which Hayley sings through a megaphone for) arguably draw a bigger reaction from the thousands packed into the arena, it’s on newer material that Paramore really come to life.
Positioned very close together – almost huddled – on the cavernous O2 stage underneath a circular lighting rig, they feel tighter and more intimate than this band have before, especially in huge venues. With Zac pounding away at the drums and Taylor coolly, quietly going about the set alongside Hayley’s vibrant stage antics, it feels maybe less polished than some iterations of Paramore have gone before and some would argue less arena-ready, too. But it feels more human.
That’s partially down to the fact that there’s a lot of ‘After Laughter’-era material present here, with ‘No Friend’ in particular featuring an extended, intense interlude from the excellent mewithoutYou’s Aaron Weiss that feels infinitely more heart-stopping than his guest spot on ‘After Laughter’.
“Its been an honour to grow up in front of you,” says Hayley, and it feels like after a sometimes painful growing period for this band, she really means it.
'Misery Business' comes with a disclaimer that the Paramore that stands onstage aren’t the same people they were 11 years ago, but it doesn’t detract from the chaos that ensues when that chorus kicks in. Elsewhere, ‘Ain’t It Fun’ still feels every inch the pop-rock song of the decade.
‘Grow Up’ is as joyful and jaunty as ever, while a romp through HalfNoise’s ‘French Class’ sees HN main man Zac move to the front of the stage and let loose for three and a half minutes, while ‘Rose-Colored Boy’ delivers the big, bittersweet finale this raw, cathartic show is crying out for.
Sure, you'll see more fan-friendly Paramore performances, you'll have seen more polished Paramore performances, but we've rarely seen this band have such a strong sense of identity and feel as real as it does right now.
And that's why Tour Three feels like a new beginning.
Check out our full gallery of photos from the show RIGHT HERE!