Paramore – Live in 2023

Paramore Light Up Madison Square Garden...
Paramore : Live

Paramore Light Up Madison Square Garden

Fresh from headlining Adjacent Fest over Memorial Day weekend, Paramore played their first of two shows at Madison Square Garden (QRO venue review) with Bloc Party and Genesis Owusu in tow on Tuesday, May 30th.

You would think Genesis Owusu was headlining the show with his command of the stage and crowd, slinking and sliding around with his S&M clad flyboys. With his genre-defying sound and theatrical stage show, he might just find himself headlining larger venues soon enough.

Indie heroes Bloc Party were up next, with an efficient, no muss no fuss set spanning their over twenty-year career. Singer Kele Okereke let the crowd know how excited he was for Paramore, and there seemed to be plenty of fan crossover between the two bands. The crowd rocked out to songs like “Banquet” and “Hunting For Witches”.


Taking the stage to thunderous cheers and screams, Paramore kicked off the night with “You First” from their sixth album This Is Why (QRO review), released in February. And they certainly kicked things off in style. Frontwoman Haley Williams danced, wiggled and stomped across the stage as pyrotechnics went off. The band was super tight and full of energy. Paramore immediately made it clear that they were here to have as much fun as the audience.

More pyro went off during the call and response performance of “That’s What You Get”, with the audience screaming all the words. The stage design itself was impressive, with stylized graphics and live video across a massive screen behind the band and a geometric lighting rig that changed configuration throughout the night. Later in the show, the band would play William’s solo track “Crystal Clear” in shadow as a trio on a small stage that elevated from the back riser, making it look as if they were playing in an abstract picture frame. And the pyro, the word of the night was pyro. Pyro rain, pyro cannons, all the pyro.


After the slower tempo of “Liar” and “Crystal Clear”, the band brought the energy back up with “Hard Times” and the Kele Okereke requested “Told You So”. Williams was quick to break up a fight during “Figure 8”, saying, “Yes, I will embarrass the both of you.” The band restarted the song without a hitch before heading into “The Only Exception”, a song which they hadn’t played in a long time, with Williams telling the crowd, “You’re not a liar if you fell in love once and fell out of it.”

Noting that they were running out of time, drummer Zac Farro jumped up to the mic to sing “Baby”, a song by his band HalfNoise. Williams played acoustic guitar and sang backup. During an explosive “Misery Business”, the band brought up an excited fan to sing along, whipping the audience into a frenzy for the set-ending “Ain’t It Fun”.

Hayley Williams

The encore of “I’m Into You” and “This Is Why” had the crowd on their feet (cue pyro cannons), with the former, and several other songs, cementing Williams as arguably the best vocalist in pop-punk. Emo? Alt pop? Throughout the night Williams thanked the crowd of all ages for sticking with the band through all their iterations, telling the crowd, “Thank you for letting us grow up in front of you, alongside you. Thank you for letting us try shit… You have our backs and that is the greatest gift.” With performances like tonight’s, future generations of fans will certainly be there to grow along with Paramore.

-photos: Zachary Gray


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