It was a dark lit evening with a chance of showers Saturday in Miami, as clouds rolled over Bayfront Park and the fans eagerly awaited Franklin, Tennessee band Paramore to take the stage. Yet, a few raindrops didn’t stop the mostly female crowd – some even dressed in the style of lead singer Hayley Williams in tight jeans, tank tops and a mop of choppy red hair – who donned rain ponchos and popped open umbrellas, strongly securing their spot to witness an evening filled with guitar crunching rock and roll.
For some fans, even just having a chance to catch Paramore from Bayfront Park’s lawn seats was enough to make them sit through energetic sets by Kadawatha, New Found Glory and Teagan and Sara despite the gloomy “on and off” weather.
Amber Izzard, 28, said Paramore’s song “The Only Exception” made an impression.
“It made me want to fall in love again,” she said. “And I love lead singer Hayley William’s style, voice and music. She’s very talented and I’m excited to see her live.”
For her friend Rhona Guilarte, 30, catching them live has become a habit.
“I’ve been following them since they played Vans Warped Tour,” said Guilarte. “They’re talented and you won’t be disappointed by their live set.”
And they weren’t. When Paramore took the stage at 9:28 p.m. and the lights went down and the rain (thankfully) stopped, all one could hear were shrill screams and see an impressive sea of fans. They were young and old, swaying back and forth, some holding posters declaring their love for Hayley and some headbanging to the band’s set which lasted a good 90 minutes.
Never underestimate the power and energy of a firecracker such as lead singer Hayley Williams. Just 21 years old the chatty vocalist spent most of the set jumping up and down on stage, rushing from left to right and interacting with the audience in somewhat of a “between songs” conversation while joined by guitarist Josh Farro, bassist Jeremy Davis, drummer Zac Farro and rhythm guitarist Taylor York.
Hits? What hits? This night was not just about fans waiting for Paramore to play top 40 tunes such as “Misery Business” and the Twilight movie soundtrack’s “Decode”. This was a night dedicated to diehard fans, mostly teenagers, as they commanded the scene at Bayfront Park singing along when the band opened with “Ignorance” and followed it with “Feeling Sorry”, which Hayley Williams interrupted mid-song to excitedly yell “I’m in Miami!”.
But nothing compared to when Paramore cranked up the guitars and banged up the drums for their third song of the evening, “That’s What You Get” from their 2007 Platinum album Riot!. As fans started to scream and sing along, Hayley Williams playfully wagged a finger at the crowd which was already caught in a frenzy and questioned their energy.
“Is this all you got?!,” yelled Williams with a huge smile. The fans responded with more yelling and a sing-along chorus. “That’s more like it, Miami!”
After singing tunes such as “For A Pessimistic, I’m Pretty Optimistic”, “Emergency”, “Playing God” and “Careful”, it was obvious this was a show for these energetic fans. Hayley Williams proved herself to be a chatterbox as she stopped most songs midway to compliment fans in Miami (“You look so good thank you for hanging out!”). And she even thanked the crowd for holding back the rain in Miami. “Every time I’m in Miami there’s a hurricane warning,” said Williams. “Thanks for holding back the rain!” The crowd responded with a series of shrill screams.
A standout track of the evening was definitely “Decode”, which the crowd knew the words to by heart and Paramore definitely fed off that energy. Accompanying the song with imagery behind them of a darkened forest and of their lead singer, the visuals were as strikingly beautiful as the song about a love surrounded by tension.
Mid-set the band went acoustic and included a Loretta Lynn country music cover of “You Ain’t Woman Enough” and the songs “When it Rains” and “Where the Lines Overlap”. Sitting atop a red couch with a lit up lamp next to them, this was the most intimate part of the set which made concertgoers feel like they were at a coffeehouse catching their favorite band.
Once this was over, it was back to Hayley Williams commanding the stage with her presence and barreling through fan favorites such as the fast-paced “crushcrushcrush”.
“Miami I want you to dance with me,” said Williams before the song. “You don’t have to be good at it, just do it. How about that dance, Miami!”
And dance they did as the concert slowly ended for the evening and the rain magically held back from an afternoon filled with showers. Once the beautiful ballad “The Only Exception” came on and streaming fireworks surrounded the band’s stage wrapping it in a golden glow, it was time for them to leave and return for an encore that included their hit single “Misery Business”. By then the crowd was applauding and screaming in excitement, thankful for a night they could spend with their favorite pop rock band.