It was an electrifying night at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans Thursday night as Paramore took the stage. As I stood amidst the sea of eager fans, I couldn’t help but reflect on memories of the first time I witnessed the band perform live at the somewhat smaller UNO Lakefront Arena back in 2010. Even then, the smaller venue was packed with fans of all ages.  Fast forward to the present, and it’s truly incredible to see how far this dynamic band has come. Now, standing in the midst of this massive venue, it was evident that Paramore had transcended mere success and achieved something truly remarkable—an evolution that had propelled them from intimate venues to commanding the grand stages of arenas like the Smoothie King Center. This musical odyssey, borne out of their relentless passion and undeniable talent, marked an unforgettable moment for both the band and their devoted fans.

Paramore took to the stage as the crowd erupted in screams of excitement. The haunting see-saw guitar riff of “You First” echoed through the arena. As the spotlight lit up Hayley Williams you could see a hint of purple highlights in her hair. Renowned for her bold self-expression through hair, Williams, along with her company Good Dye Young, has become synonymous with ever-changing styles. However, on this momentous occasion, the deliberate choice of those purple highlights bore a deeper significance. It was the eve of July 7th—a date of great importance in the music world. At midnight, Taylor Swift was set to release her highly anticipated re-recording of Speak Now, featuring a previously unreleased song with Hayley. The album is known for its purple color scheme, therefore, Hayley’s purple highlights appeared to be a heartfelt homage and nod to Taylor’s momentous night.

For over two hours, Paramore played hit after hit spanning the length of their full discography. Some of my favorites included “The News” and “Running Out of Time” off their most recent album, This is Why, “Crystal Clear” a song off Hayley William’s solo record Petals For Armor, and “Decode” from the Twilight movie soundtrack. The night was filled with unforgettable memories like when Hayley dropped the microphone in the pit below her during the song “The Only Exception”. In a seamless display of unity, the crowd instinctively carried the lyrics until Hayley had the microphone back in her hand and was able to finish the song.

Of course, no Paramore show would be complete without the 2000s anthem “Misery Business” and the tradition of bringing up a fan on stage to sing along. On this special night in New Orleans, the lucky fan was a young gentleman named Javier who had displayed a handwritten sign that stated that he had tried 16 times and failed to be selected for this very important role. This got William’s attention for sure, but she also acknowledged Javier’s shirt which was an image of both her and Taylor Swift. With a playful chuckle, Hayley humorously remarked, “You knew what you were doing” acknowledging the clever choice of attire. The sheer joy radiating from Javier’s face when he graced the stage, illuminated the entire arena. After he had his special moment, the crowd erupted into chants of his name. This heartwarming moment epitomized the close-knit and accepting Paramore family, a community that embraces diversity and inclusion—values that the band consistently advocates for. It is this unwavering spirit that fills me with pride as a devoted Paramore fan. As the night drew to a close, the band unleashed the title track of their album This is Why, accompanied by a cascade of confetti that enveloped the arena. Whether it’s your first Paramore show or your 16th, like Javier’s, just know that you will have an unforgettable and memorable experience.