"Our band has been a little bit of a soap opera since day one," Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams told the crowd at Pomona's Fox Theater Tuesday night. "So I think that's why I'm more grateful than ever to be standing on a stage in front of people."
Williams could have been referring to any number of incidents in the Franklin, TN group's eight-year history, including the departure of formative members Zac and Josh Farro in early 2011. But Williams' anchor for this statement was the group's rousing performance of "Ignorance," a track off the band's last album, 2009's "Brand New Eyes," which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200. "Let's let this song be a reminder of how it's never going to be again," Williams added before her, bassist Jeremy Davis, guitarist Taylor York and a selection of touring musicians launched into the track.
If this statement means Paramore is opening a new chapter, last night's performance to a sold out crowd of 2,000 screaming fans (and the band's first in nearly a year) was its starting point. Although Williams referenced the band's upcoming fourth album, which is expected out in 2013, the lengthy setlist circled the group's past three discs and concluded on single "Misery Business," off Paramore's 2007 album Riot!. "We're so happy to be in this band," Williams told the fans before drawing the setlist to its finale. "Paramore is our pride and his joy." She added, "Hopefully the next time we play for you we will have a new album."
While the promise of the new disc - which was produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen this round rather than the band's usual go-to of Rob Cavallo - is likely enticing to Paramore fans, those in attendance were content with the existing roster of hits. Although many knew the words to all 18 tunes the band performed, the majority of the crowd leaned heavily on the group's newer material, singing particularly loudly to "The Only Exception" and "Decode," the track Paramore penned for the "Twilight" film, suggesting that "Brand New Eyes" may have been the mainstream turning point for the band. Rocker "Hello Cold World" and acoustic ballad "In The Morning," newer numbers released as part of the band's Singles Club over the holidays last year, were received with a greater dose of enthusiasm than cuts from Paramore's 2005 debut "All We Know Is Falling."
To Williams' credit, though, she seems aware of what songs have propelled Paramore from Warped Tour mainstay to headliner of the 2010 Honda Civic Tour. The energized singer, clad in bright red hair and black clothes, herself has transformed from teenage punk rocker to pop band frontwoman, taking her cues from performers like Gwen Stefani (with whom Paramore toured in 2009) and P!nk. Before Paramore exited the stage for the first time, Williams mentioned that she'd gone out and purchased "All We Know Is Falling" because she didn't remember the lyrics to her own songs. She then urged the crowd to sing along to "Whoa," a track off "Falling," by noting, "I'm going to get these lyrics right. I'm going to promise you that it's the easiest Paramore song that's ever been written so you will know it by the end." And, three minutes later, she was right.
It was unfortunate that Paramore didn't use this undersell performance, which is a launching point for the group's upcoming U.K. tour with The Cure, as an opportunity to debut new material. In the end, though, the show functioned more like a launching point, the entry into several years of supporting this new album. This the crowd seemed to know and when Williams wailed "We're just getting started" on "Brand New Eyes" cut "Looking Up," there was a resonating sense of truth surging through the Fox Theater.
Paramore at the Fox Theater, Setlist:
Brick By Boring Brick
Born for This
That's What You Get
In the Mourning
The Only Exception
Hello Cold World