Tuesday, October 10th

Openers Best Coast brought their sunny Los Angeles pop to the stage in their return to the Bethlehem Sands Event Center from about a year ago when they opened for the Go-Gos. Bethany Cosentino, Bobb Bruno and friends were in fine voice and form (respectively) as their twangy brand of guitar pop filled the arena. “The Only Place” started things off and it was indeed the only place to be at that moment. Purples and bright lights bathed the stage from start to finishing number “Boyfriend.”

Their 11-song set spanned their entire career, including a number off of their excellent ‘California Nights.’ Speaking of that, it has been a few years and we should be about due for another full-length…

Paramore embraced the visual aesthetic put forth with their new album and videos for latest album ‘After Laughter.’ A large screen behind them featured flashing lights and images that often worked in tandem with the song presented (late set number “Fake Happy” especially comes to mind).

As for the band themselves, they were in excellent form with Hayley Williams’ voice as strong as ever, even as deep into the tour as they were. The setlist heavily leaned on the last two albums ‘After Laughter‘ and ‘Paramore‘ which makes sense that with lineup changes, the band has been forced to find a new dynamic. Judging by the crowd’s reaction, guitarist Taylor York and returning drummer Zac Farro are completely embraced by the fans.

Things started off with new single “Hard Times” which got everyone moving followed by “Ignorance” and “Still Into You.” Uptempo newer songs dominated the first third of the set and things mellowed out for a stretch starting with “Hate To See Your Heart Break” and an acoustic number “26”. This past year seems to have been a bit of a rollercoaster for Hayley and the set had an air of not sentimentality… not sadness… perhaps gratitude would be the most appropriate word. The dip in energy was reversed with another new single “Told You So”. This new record’s singles are best described as funky retro pop which translates well into the live setting while also setting a definite vibe. This was followed by a real treat, a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere” which worked even better than I had hoped. The main set built toward “Misery Business” (featuring a young fan hopping on stage and helping out) and concluding with “Aint It Fun”.

The encore began with “Caught In The Middle”, one of those growers/deep cuts on ‘After Laughter‘. It was a little bit of a surprise. A bigger surprise was following this up with a number from Zac Farro’s solo project HalfNoise. It was an odd psychedelic number called “Scooby’s In the Back” with Farro on vocals. The encore concluded with another mid-tempo new song “Rose-Colored Boy”. Since this is in support of ‘After Laughter’, it’s no surprise that they dove heavily into it which is
absolutely fine. At the same time, while the set was stacked with hits, it’s always hard not to think it would have been nice if they would have acknowledged ‘Riot!‘ with a few more songs, especially because it was mentioned from the stage that this is the 10 year anniversary for the album.

Oh well, someone’s always going to be disappointed when a band doesn’t play a few favorites. It’s always a good sign when you have more excellent songs than can fit into a set. At the end of the day, it’s good to see Paramore seemingly in a good place and creating such strong music/giving such strong performances despite their adversity.

FUN FACT: Ben and Brianna from Tigers Jaw were seen in attendance!

Written by: JJ Elis