Live Recap: A Night of Nostalgia and New Memories at Paramore's After Laughter Tour 5
"It's cool what music does when you share it with people. It helps," Paramore's Hayley Williams addressed the completely full Huntington Bank Pavilion on Chicago's Northerly Island, which boasts views of the city's skyline as well as lake views. Despite the venue's stunning backdrop of city sights, prior to Williams' proclamation (and after it), the diverse crowd remained completely enamored by Paramore's positive and vibrant performance. With over a decade of experience playing live music and five studio albums under their belt, Williams and bandmates Zac Farro and Taylor York have come a long way since the early days. The personal growth that Williams has gone through over the years shines through in her songwriting, and she's not shy about addressing it when introducing certain songs, especially those on the latest album After Laughter. "There's a lot of pain on this album," Williams said before playing "26" from the 2017 record. That sort of vulnerability, especially in front of the massive crowds that Paramore always plays to nowadays, just further amplifies the raw authenticity that Paramore has always displayed.
Throughout the night, a strong sense of chemistry also radiated between the band members, along with Williams' effervescent and fiery energy onstage that never wavered as she danced through most of the set; Even her vocals stayed in tip top shape despite the constant movement. Perhaps one of the most magical aspects of the evening though was the overwhelming sense of unity you could feel amongst the crowd; a bond that brought strangers of all different backgrounds and ages together, turning them into a huge extended family, even if just for the duration of the show. For a lot of people, Monday's show had been their first ever Paramore show, while some people had just seen them at last year's Riot Fest...and others had been there from day one in 2005. Williams reminisced on Paramore's early days, giving Chicago props for always showing up and selling out their show at the Beat Kitchen on their first ever tour. As the set began to wind down, following a mix of Paramore's discography of a decade plus, Williams kept the nostalgia and reminiscing going by teasing their hit "Misery Business" with a string of toasts ("This is to 2007"..."This is to every bad decision we ever made that got us here. But mostly this is to misery.") Although the popular track is more than ten years old, the group found a way to keep the performance of the song enticing, while also giving a lucky fan the night of their life. On this tour, an audience member is selected each night to give Williams a hand on a prolonged version of "Misery Business," coming up on stage to take over during the bridge of the explosive track. The addition of that special moment not only gives the selected fan a memory that'll last forever, but I think everyone collectively got goosebumps watching someone live out their dream like that.
After such a soaring moment, the show continued on a high note, with the band closing with "Ain't It Fun" before returning for an encore. The show ultimately wrapped up with "Hard Times," but not before the audience got treated to one last surprise; a performance of Zac Farro's project HalfNoise's "All That Love Is." At one point earlier in the night, Williams asked the crowd "You ever try crying and dancing at the same time?" and that perfectly sums up a night on the After Laughter Tour 5; you'll dance, you'll smile, and you might even cry at some point, but you'll do it with a family that has been brought together by the healing power of music.
If you missed out on the show, check out our gallery of Foster The People and Paramore to relive some of the concert's magic.