No, it’s not what you think. I didn’t pass out in that ‘crazed Michael Jackson fan’ way that they used to show on TV. It was a mixture of dehydration, exhaustion and the extreme heat caused by being in the middle of hundreds of sweating, jumping, singing/screaming, crowdsurfing Paramore fans (myself included, minus the crowdsurfing) that caused my ears to start ringing, my vision to go slightly blurry right in the middle of one of my favourite Paramore songs, ‘The Only Exception’. As I tried to mumble “excuse me” approximately 150 times while pushing my way towards the door for water and fresh air, I went down. Oops!
But that’s not what this article is about, really. After all, despite a rather severe headache and a slight case of embarrassment, I left night one of Fueled by Ramen‘s 15th Anniversary show at New York’s Terminal 5 in rather good spirits, completely exhausted from the earlier-mentioned singing, screaming and jumping but absolutely in awe of the sheer talent I’d just witnessed and the energy not only of the band but of the scores of Paramore fans who packed the place, knowing every word of every song. It was, simply put, incredible. And anyway, you know what they say – it’s not rock ‘n’ roll if you don’t lose consciousness.
Wait, do they not say that?
While several other Fueled by Ramen bands played earlier in the night – The Swellers, The Stereo, fun. and This Providence – it was Paramore who were the headliners and who the crowd was so obviously brimming with excitement to see. While I initially expected to be the oldest person there, in fact it was a mixed audience ranging from teenagers (who were rather rude, truth be told) to men and women well into their late 40s, which was refreshing.
Opening with the, er, opening track from their latest LP Brand New Eyes, I was a goner from the first chords of ‘Careful’ – and I wasn’t the only one. Paramore continued with hits spanning their three-album career, playing everything from crowd favourites ‘Emergency’ to ‘Crushcrushcrush’ and ‘That’s What You Get’. Also on the setlist were ‘Decode’ (yes, from Twilight) and newer release ‘Monster’, which appears on the Transformers: Dark of the Moon soundtrack.
But it didn’t stop there. Hayley also took a short break for an acoustic interlude with guitarist Taylor York, during which she performed the lovely ‘In The Mourning’, interlaced with Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Landslide’. (Did someone say “heaven on earth”? Oh, that was me.) ‘My Heart’ also got the low-key treatment and nearly brought me to tears. Shut up, sometimes I have feelings. But only sometimes.
‘Ignorance’, ‘Playing God’, ‘For A Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic’, ‘Here We Go Again’, ‘Pressure’ and ‘Looking Up’ were played along with the loss-of-consciousness-inducing (apparently) ‘The Only Exception’, which has always been a really special song to me as it reminds me of a very special person in my life. (See? Feelings.)
For the encore, the audience was treated to the premiere of a brand new track called ‘Renegades’, which the band had never played live before. Saving the best for last, though, Paramore played what are arguably two of their best songs, ‘Brick by Boring Brick’ and ‘Misery Business’, which is absolutely killer.
I don’t know what else to say about the show or the band, really – Paramore is amazing. While not classically “my type of music” (though I pride myself on listening to a bit of everything), being introduced to them is definitely one of the best musical discoveries I’ve ever had the pleasure of having, thanks to the ‘special person’ referenced above in re: ‘The Only Exception’. What they do is so visceral, so primal and instinctive and it’s amazing to be a part of.
On top of that, Hayley Williams has a killer voice and the ability to command a crowd with the snap of a finger. At one point in the show, she advised the audience to sing and scream so loud that we would not have the ability to speak the next day because if we could, we had done it all wrong. This spurred the crowd into a near frenzy and if they weren’t already yelling every word at the top of their lungs, they sure were after.
For the record, I don’t have a voice today.