Review: Paramore @ Rod Laver Arena (Melbourne)

Paramore played Rod Laver Arena (Melbourne) 27 November, 2023 - image © Zachary Gray
Melbourne/ Naarm-based entertainment writer, unravelling the city's cultural kaleidoscope through words. Weaving tales of creativity, events, and personalities that make Naarm shine.

On an evening draped in grey, the sun's final rays pierced through the clouds and an electric sense of anticipation permeated the air at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena.

Returning for their first Australian tour in five years, Paramore casted a spellbinding air over the packed crowd (27 November).

The stage – adorned with an illuminated four-piece truncated triangle – set the mood for the evening. Like a futuristic mood ring, it pulsated with colour, shaping the atmosphere in perfect harmony with the band's every note.

The dynamics of the set piece oscillated throughout the night, at times ascending to create a grand spectacle and at others descending to forge an intimate connection with the audience.

The night began with a spoken-word introduction by the enigmatic Hayley Williams, leading into the opening chords of 'You First'. Williams, a vision in black with her signature fiery orange hair, took command of the stage bathed in red light, setting the tone for the evening.

Paramore - image © Zachary Gray

The set list navigated seamlessly through Paramore's discography, from the recent release 'The News' to throwbacks like 'That's What You Get' and 'Playing God'.

The magic reached its zenith when Williams declared: "We have two hours to forget everything outside these walls exist." The ceiling descended, cocooning the arena as 'Caught In The Middle' filled the space.

Pink lights bathed the crowd during 'Rose-Coloured Boy', accompanied by snippets of Whitney Houston's 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody' and Tom Tom Club's 'Genius Of Love', creating a euphoric sing-along moment.

Paramore didn't just perform; they orchestrated an emotional roller coaster. 'Running Out of Time' paid homage to their Australian fans who catapulted it to #1, while 'Decode' from the 'Twilight' era sent the crowd into a frenzy of nostalgic fervour, and 'Last Hope' and 'Big Man, Little Dignity' showcased the band's versatility.

Paramore - image © Zachary Gray

As the final notes reverberated through the arena, Williams reflected on Paramore's journey since 2007. The emotional connection with the fans reached its zenith during 'Misery Business,' as two fortunate fans, visibly moved by the experience, were invited to join the band onstage.

'Ain't It Fun' followed, and the atmosphere transformed into an electric surge of emotion, turning the arena into a collective explosion of joy. Yet, Paramore had more in-store.

The stage plunged into darkness, whispers of an encore filling the air. An iPhone montage for 'This Is Why' illuminated an empty stage, and the band reemerged, reintroducing themselves to the crowd as family.

'Still Into You' and 'This Is Why' served as the poignant finale, confetti raining down, cementing the experience as more than a concert – it was a shared journey through time, emotion, and the unbreakable bond between Paramore and their devoted fans.

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