On Oct. 6, Paramore brought its “After Laughter: Tour Two” to The Tower in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, for a night of singing and dancing, along with the depressing pop music belonging to the group’s newest album.
Radio 104.5 (an alt-rock radio station in Philadelphia) sponsored the sold-out event.
Los-Angeles based rock band Best Coast opened for Paramore, offering the crowd its unique sound that is a cross between Paramore circa 2009 and Hey Violet. Although they only played for a half hour, they succeeded in pumping up the crowd for the powerhouse performance yet to come.
Finally, the lights dimmed over the golden arches at The Tower and the bass finally began to beat in our hearts, humming in tune with the rhythm of our anticipation. As a red spotlight coated the stage, Paramore bounced onto center stage while new-wave beats drowned out the crowd.
The band decided to stir up the crowd’s energy by beginning with a familiar song – their Billboard No. 3 hit from earlier this spring – “Hard Times.” As lead singer Hayley Williams jumped around, the technical crew projected spunky and colorful graphics and patterns onto the large, circular light board towering over the band as they performed.
The set-list comprised of 16 songs with a three-song encore included tunes from the band’s albums, excluding their debut. They also played two songs that belong to two other bands; Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere” and “Scooby’s in the Back” by Halfnoise, which is the band’s drummer Zac Farro’s solo project that he began in 2010 after leaving Paramore. Farro rejoined the band earlier this year.
In the middle of the set, Paramore slowed down their exuberant performance in order to address the “crazy world” we live in and play an acoustic song. After shining a single, mellow spotlight, the crowd began to hold up the modern version of lighters, the smartphone flashlight, in order to salute Williams and guitarist Taylor York as they sang the euphonic and sentimental song titled “26.”
At the end of the set, pre-encore, the lead singer sat on the edge of the stage to become more intimate with the crowd. She remarked: “We’ve been a band for a really long time ... The coolest thing is that we got to grow up with many of you, and that’s an honor.”
The group returned on stage for the encore with a depressing tune hidden underneath poppy, new-wave chords, with “Caught in the Middle.” Laughing on stage in a red jumpsuit, Williams exclaimed, “Still got your dancing shoes on? We’re gonna wear them out!” Paramore chose “Rose Colored Boy” as their final song, and Williams truly expelled all of her energy as she head-banged, kicked her legs up in the air and encouraged the crowd to dance their feelings away.
“After Laughter” is a fearless comeback album that features songs that sound happy but disguise negative feelings of depression, loneliness and having no regrets. It’s a record that encourages self-awareness, hope and recovery, something people of all ages can hold onto.
In bringing its “Tour Two” to the Tower, Paramore made sure there was not a single fan in attendance sitting down and clapping along idly; every person was moving, shaking, grooving and waving their arms around as if this were the last concert they’d ever attend. Truly, “After Laughter” is a vibrant album filled with songs to both dance and cry to, which has opened new doors for not only the band but also fans struggling similarly.
By introducing a new sound that has varying textures, beats, tempos and unique instrumental intensities, Paramore has revolutionized the idea of a “depressing” album. Though many of the tracks comprise of negative thoughts and pessimistic feelings, the band encourages those feelings to surface and heal. Paramore has never been a conventional band; their music and image will keep evolving into something bigger, better and without a doubt, bolder. Fans will come and go, but the memories they’ve formed because of this band will remain forever.
Filled with hope for a better tomorrow, excited reverie and already sunken in post-concert-depression, fans funneled through the exits vowing never to forget what brought us all together in the first place during that memorable October evening; a passion for live music, crowd dynamics, and “After Laughter: Tour Two.”