Still an inspiration for former middle-school emos everywhere, Hayley Williams brought her misery business to the Paramore concert Saturday at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View for “The After Laughter Summer Tour.”
Williams’ stage presence was electric. She threw her iconic, colorful bangs in every direction as she high-kicked and grooved across the stage. No matter how much she moved, her voice stayed steady and strong.
The lead singer stunned, as she typically does, in an all-pink, ‘80s-fit suit. Her menswear look contrasted with the members of her very male bandmates, who took more feminine approaches to their fashion by sporting fitted silhouettes and light colors — bar drummer Zac Farro, whose electric-pink shirt matched Williams’ suit to a T.
For “Rose-Colored Boy,” Williams took off her jacket and channeled her inner Michael Jackson, taking the stage like a 13-year-old dancing alone in a bedroom to her favorite album. The visuals behind her spun as rose-tinted lights washed over the stadium and the word “BOY” fizzed across the screens. Williams ended the song by masterfully mixing lines from Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” into the fade-out, her cover making the moment entirely danceable.
With Williams lying on the ground for “No Friend,” the prerecorded words of Aaron Weiss of mewithoutYou were played as Williams shook her head from side to side. Blinking red lights took over the stage and washed over the instrumentalists, making their movements look digital and lagging, as though they were characters in a stop-motion animation. Williams rose in front of the fuzzy TV-screen pattern, completing the Salvador Dalí painting onstage.
The new album may have been the center of the tour, but the older hits were clearly what everyone really came for. Every millennial let out their inner middle schooler as the start of “That’s What You Get” flooded the speakers and the intensity of crashing instrumentals shook the chests of excited listeners. The song featured a slightly brighter sound compared to the original recording, subtly matching the new island sound that Paramore is bringing into its newer music.
The tropical vibe of After Laughter expanded past the limits of the album into an acoustic cover of “Passionfruit,” which then transitioned into “Hold On, We’re Going Home” to close out a short Drake medley. The funky sound the band adopted fit these songs ridiculously well, as though the tracks were cut from Paramore’s recent release. The way these songs showcased Williams’ vocal range made them seem as if they were originally written for her — without argument, Williams did Drake better than Drake does Drake.
As Williams sang, “Hold onto hope if you got it” during the similarly stripped-down “26,” the instrumentalists brought beautiful acoustic basslines and soft xylophone twangs in powerful bursts. Ending the song with angelic vocal runs, the group was met by a galaxy of bright phone cameras. The group sat at the front of the stage as if having a conversation with the crowd, making the multithousand-person crowd match the intimacy of a coffee house show.
Throughout the show, Williams proved that a concert is truly better when audience members can feel the energy of the performers. There was never a moment when the band members didn’t seem like they were genuinely having the time of their lives — especially Williams, who held a wide grin on her face throughout the concert. The bright lights faded as the party came to a close. From Williams encouraging the unity of fans in her speeches to the whole band exuding raw emotion in its performance, the band has truly mastered the art of audience connection. After all these years, Paramore is more powerful than ever.
But before she left, Williams asked her fans for a good Yelp review. This may not be Yelp, but Paramore’s enchanting performance definitely gets all five stars.