Published on November 28th, 2023 | by Daniel
Paramore with Special Guest Remi Wolf Review: Rod Laver, Melbourne, Victoria (27/11/23) @paramore
Summary: Paramore and special guest Remi Wolf tore the roof off of Rod Laver arena last night. I was utterly blown away by the experience and cannot wait to see them again!
Last night, the famous Rod Laver arena, in Melbourne was taken back in time to the early 2000s with rock band Paramore touring the country as part of their tour between Australia and New Zealand.
Rod Laver arena, a long standing favourite venue for sporting and entertainment events alike. Having seen many prominent musical artists come and go through its doors. As a result, it’s almost a guarantee that it’ll be packed to the rafters with patrons coming to hear the tunes of their favourite singers and bands. And with Paramore at the helm, this fact was absolutely true.
From our seat in the wing, it was a surprisingly good view. Though my photos will struggle to do them justice. We got in just as Remi Wolf was a song or two deep into her supporting act. It was surprisingly fairly loaded with concert goers already by the time we took our seats. It’s not often that a supporting act is given so much attention, I’ve even been to concerts with arguably more well known supporting acts that didn’t pull this many people for what is essentially, the opening act. But after two more songs, I was tapping my toes away and starting to really get into her music. I’d never heard of her before this, but her music is catchy and she’s got that soulful voice that just oozes that poppy yet almost jazzy or bluesy husk.
And by the end of her performance, I was surprised when I realised that I wouldn’t have minded if her setlist went on for another song or two. This isn’t my first rodeo and it’s not the first time I’ve come away from a major concert having found a new artist to follow and vibe to. Remi had this stage presence too, that I’ve never really seen in a supporting act. In fact, with the confidence she exuded as she performed her hits, one might be surprised if she actually was the main event. She strut around like she owned the stage, interacted with fans like she know them personally. She just had this, confidence, that I rarely see in support acts. A lot of the openers I’ve seen tend to play it a little safe, or they can come across as stiff. Often times not interacting with the audience as much because they know that most of the people coming are there for the main event. Not Remi though, she owned that stage like it was entirely her own. Bouncing around, getting up close with the patrons in the mosh pit and generally looking like she was just having a blast on stage.
But like all opening acts, eventually it came to an end. With a charming goodbye, we welcomed the coming interim to refresh and recharge for the main attraction.
Paramore came out swinging, with an opening montage of footage, with a sort of eerie tonal piece and sound altered spoken word. I’ve always loved it when bands make an entrance like this, similar to how some might include an intro or outro to an album. The music itself is instrumental, it’s just a rising intro, building slowly until you can just barely see the silhouettes of the band members climbing up on stage. The crowd erupting into a roar of applause before they even started playing.
But once they did, all that pent up anticipation erupts in a flow of rock and roll. The played a couple songs back to back, before chatting in between. With every song they played, a roar of thunderous applause and screaming fans erupted without even a second of hesitation. And Hayley Williams just has this insane presence on stage. Like Remi, but on a whole other level. Bouncing, jumping dancing around stage, throwing her hair back, headbanging, even screaming out to her adoring fans, young, older, some veterans, some fresh faced. She had a way to connect with fans even beyond her music, offering the moment, as a means to forget all about the outside world and simply to just rock out and enjoy ourselves. To allow us to scream, shout, cry as loud as we want.
Over the years, their band has been throw a lot. Not a lot of rock bands that formed back in 04 when they made their debut, are even still around these days. Most have broken up, some made other bands and others even went solo. But Paramore not only stuck it out, they grew and got even closer. With additional members popping up at times. What other band could boast a crew of 7 for any one of their shows? Two drummers, 4 guitarists (1 bass and one who was on keyboard duty) and Hayley, the lead singer. It was like every single one of them was having the time of their lives and sharing that with all of us.
For a while, most in the stands were sitting, but you could see them mouthing words to every song. Bopping along, nodding heads and swaying in their seats as the music hit them. But it didn’t take long until songs that were iconic and defined so many people’s love for Paramore finally blast out of the speakers and sent everyone into a roaring standing ovation that basically lasted until the shows’ conclusion. When Misery Business was played, it was like nothing I’d seen it people before, in fact, I hadn’t. In the middle of the song when it normally slows down, Hayley and the band surprised us. Rather than singing the next set of lyrics herself, she would instead get an audience member to sing it instead!
It seemed like Hayley had a habit of getting the crowd to sing their most iconic song. It was actually very sweet too, because these two fans had been front row in every live show, wore the same outfit every single time so that it was impossible to forget them. But never got picked, less than 48 hours before the Melbourne show they spontaneously booked tickets and this was going to be the last Misery Business they were going to be able to attend. Perhaps it was some form of fate, that it was they who got picked on their last time out. Everyone in the arena cheered them on as we shared in the joy of the moment, it was just amazing to be a part of it. Nothing outside the arena mattered in those two hours of rockin’ bliss. We were all able to lose ourselves in the moment and be ourselves.
And I can’t forget the moment that everyone got their phones out. Turned their torches on and lit up the entire arena in white light. So many lights glittering around the arena, the gentle sway of arms in the air as everyone just let the music it them. It was like the whole 2 hour setlist was a journey from opening to closing. All of us going through through the history of the band, the hidden meanings behind some of the deep songs, a middle finger to the ones who’ve caused us pain in our lives, love songs to last a lifetime. But not necessarily to the ones we really love, but to our love of music and our shared community too. As they came back on for one final song, clips from their entire history of the band played on the screen behind them. Showing us a more private looks behind the scenes at how much of a family this band is to each other, and by extension what we as fans have meant to them over the years.
Though I may not be the most up to date in their recent compositions, Paramore’s early years defined some of my teenage years way back in the early 2000s. So it was a bit of a nostalgia hit when they played some of the old songs, taking me back through some great and some not so great memories of those years. It was simply baffling to see so many young faces, young fans attending their first ever concert. To a band I basically grew up with, it was simultaneously a great feeling to know that even now their music, new and old is not only relevant. But people still vibe with it, understand it and feel a kinship with it. But it also makes me painfully aware that I’m not as young as I used to be, which is somewhat amusing in its own right. I fully expected a good time when I stepped through those doors, but I was taken on a journey of so much more and I have to say, it was one of the best concert experiences I’ve ever had.
Further to the band, I have to give a massive shout out to the crew and the organisers. Because they did a stellar job setting everything up, from the amazing camera work, angles and recording effects. Which showed the band members at different angles, giving us in the stands a cool viewpoint that we absolutely could not get even if we were down in the moshpit. They were able to get real close up shots and they even overlayed camera effects, it was like we were watching a string of music videos on the screens while we watched them all on stage.
The lighting too, was absolutely insane. There was this staggered, 3 piece light fixture that hung above the stage. The lights and effects alone were awesome, but then it started moving! It would move up and down, side to side, even tilt edge to edge, whilst pumping out different lighting effects. Sometimes, the coloured beams of light made it look like it was raining down onto the stage. Other times it made bright pools of light on the stage, illuminating any band member who stood beneath it with an almost radiant like glow.
I also have to sing extra praise to the maintenance team and the sound guys. At the start of the show, the first song or two, almost overpowered Hayley’s beautiful voice. And this is a problem I see with a lot more amateur set ups, where the music overpowers the lead singer and you can barely hear the lyrics. That problem was quickly sorted out however and her powerful voice harmonised with the music for the rest of the show thereafter. There was a minor hiccup with one of the members guitars mid song, not enough to disturb the song mind you. But the tech team were straight on it, taking a quick few tries to get it working before bringing out a spare guitar so as not to delay or hamper the set any longer. So kudos to those guys who did an amazing job.
I’ve been to quite a few concerts and festivals over the years, Big Day Out, Soundwave, The Killers, Muse, just to name a few. But not many of them can boast the same level of talent, confidence and down right fun, that Paramore brought to Rod Laver last night. I had an absolute blast and so did my partner who was attending her first ever rock concert. Now she can’t wait for the next one, so thank you Hayley, thank you Paramore and thanks to the organisers for a night never to forget!
Thanks to Zachary Gray the amazing shots of Paramore!