Paramore @ the Royal Albert Hall

Paramore took to the Royal Albert Hall with an infectious energetic extravaganza of awesomeness, marking a triumphant return to the UK capital.

Legions of fans were packed into the iconic old venue on Monday night, which was sweltering from start to finish – the heat alleviated by an impressive 80-minute set featuring songs both past and present, plus one or two surprises, delighting fans of new and old.

Even as a long time listener of the band, I hadn’t quite realised the variation across Paramore’s five records. The old had the upper echelons of the Royal Albert Hall shaking as the masses bounced to That’s What You Get. The phones came out for a powerful rendition of Hate To See Your Heart Break. Meanwhile, the new tracks from the excellent After Laughter were an explosion of brilliant energy and, arguably, rockier live than they sound on the record.

At times, the whole thing was comparable to a family reunion with a notable togetherness spread across the venue. Hayley Williams drew on how it had been a while since Paramore graced these shores, touching jokingly on “separation anxiety” while also noting how everyone found themselves at the Royal Albert Hall that night because of a song.

It was quite a poignant sentiment, especially with all the bad we’ve seen of late in Manchester and London. With those in mind, it was pretty brilliant to see masses of people with different stories and different backgrounds come together over a common bond to just enjoy themselves and have a damn good time.

As performers, they take some beating.

Williams is a fantastic front woman. Whether it’s high fiving fans, sharing opinions on who smells good, or dancing with a bra on her head, she owns the stage, belting out vocals of which there aren’t quite enough superlatives to describe.

Taylor York, who battled on with Williams after Jeremy Davis opted to leave, brings bags of enthusiasm on stage.

Meanwhile Zac Farro – making a triumphant return of his own after quitting with brother Josh, several years ago – stepped away from the drums to share a song of his own, which, must be said, was pretty damn good itself.

It’s infectious to watch a group of people who clearly love their music blasting it out to thousands of adoring fans who just can’t get enough. The curtain was brought down with a rousing rendition of Hard Times to cap a memorable night, concluding a performance both befitting of the grand old arena and one that belonged there.

Despite the dramas and despite the challenges, Paramore are still here and truth be told, they look stronger than ever.

Not only are Paramore fantastic performers, they’re inherently likeable, humble and a pleasure to spend time with – not just listen to.

Here’s hoping they’re not away so long, this time.

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