Paramore Storms Madison Square Garden, Hayley Williams Nearly Cries: Live Review


photo by Pamela Littky

On a particularly frigid night in Manhattan, Paramore's Hayley Williams paused her loose-limbed thrashing and got warm and fuzzy. An hour after snarling, "As long as my fist stays in the air, your mouth stays opens" to the crowd at New York's Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night (Nov. 13), Williams was covering Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" and advising the audience to look past "the fog" that can obscure priorities. She also threatened to break down in tears, and later tweeted, "I cried 4 different times!!!" Is Paramore going soft in their old age (as in, their mid-twenties)?

Hardly. Paramore's New York stop on their 'Self-Titled Tour' was enjoyably intense, with Williams, Jeremy Davis and Taylor York standing in between an arena full of pop-punk diehards and three pillars of fluorescent light that highlighted the stage setup. "Now," "That's What You Get," "CrushCrushCrush" and many other songs properly melted faces, but the once-embattled trio became understandably preoccupied with soaking in the moment as the show rattled onward. After all, this moment should never have existed -- the departure of band members Josh and Zac Farro in late 2010, coupled with the long wait in between 2009's "Brand New Eyes" and this year's "Paramore," could have spelled disaster for the group's arena aspirations. Instead, "Paramore" debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, received (deserving) acclaim from critics, and even spawned another radio hit, the show-capping "Still Into You," for Williams and co.

So the Madison Square Garden show was a victory lap of sorts for the group, who welcomed the Fordham School of the Arts choir onstage to add an exclamation point to the gospel-influenced "Ain't It Fun." Davis gleefully swiveled his bass in time with the choir's choreography, while Williams kept conjuring the refrain, appearing as if she never wanted the moment to end. Could you really blame her?

Check out the set list for Paramore's Nov. 13 show at Madison Square Garden:

Grow Up
Fast In My Car
That's What You Get
Interlude: I'm Not Angry Anymore
When It Rains
Last Hope
Brick By Boring Brick
Interlude: Holiday
Ain't It Fun
The Only Exception
In The Mourning/Landslide cover
Misery Business


Part II
Interlude: Moving On
Still Into You

More Paramore: Bringing 'Larger Than Life Show' to Self-Titled Tour