Paramore – Spark Arena: November 18, 2023

This is the third time we’ve covered Paramore at Spark Arena, the first time, way back in 2013. Here’s what our man Koen Aldershof though of last night’s show…

Last night, Paramore invited a fan on stage to sing the highlight of their first New Zealand show in five years.

Last night may have been the best musical night of my life, and I am sure the rest of the audience, adorned with elaborate make-up, fish nets, and a lot of dyed hair, would agree. Especially Amy.

An increasingly musky Spark Arena filled up with fans damp from the typical Auckland downpours while Kiwi support act And That performed their set. Well, in fact, I missed their set completely and arrived to a very dank arena with a monstrous crowd bopping along to my favourite Remi Wolf tune, Disco Man.

While I missed their set, I will say And That is my favourite new find after browsing their tunes on the way to the concert. If you’re on the lookout for some more mellow kiwi music, start with And That. Remi Wolf is a surprisingly good fit to support Paramore, a Punk band in nature who are experimentally pushing into Pop and Electronic music territories with their latest few releases.

Remi’s music is more modern-Funk-meets-Pop than any other genre, and it sets the headline act up nicely to introduce their new material. She confidently bounced across the stage in her baggy plaid pants and oversized tie-dye t-shirt which reads “I’m literally so cute btw”, speaking volumes to a clearly expressive crowd, while screaming her lyrics at the top of her lungs.

ParamoreTo paraphrase the mostly millennial and Gen Z audience, Paramore’s set was “slay”. The seven-piece Paramore touring band ran onto the stage to ear-piercing screams, performing their hearts out with streamers, strobes, and sparks all through the night. From the first song until the very last, the audience screamed along to every lyric from the incredibly expressive lead singer, Hayley Williams

After a newer tune and two Punk classics, the band took a moment to breathe and connect with the crowd. Hayley mentioned, “It’s been what, 5 years? We have some lost time to make up for, some songs to sing. And some new ones to share”. She goes on to ask the audience, “Do you need an escape? It’s our job to give you a place to put all your shit, so if you need to cry, if you need to scream, if you just need to get energy out of your body and move, this, my friends, is the place to be. And there’s no such thing as bad dancing at a Paramore show so please don’t feel self-conscious. Are you ready to proceed?

There are a few reasons this was probably the best night of live music I’ve ever experienced. Everyone in the band, every single musician who play back-to-back shows on these tours, was running, dancing, and jumping for every high-energy punk-rock Paramore song. The show perfectly provided unscripted banter, some seriously silly dance moves including a moonwalk, a running man, and smooth choreographed side-to-side moves between Hayley and rhythm guitarist and vocalist Brian Robert Jones as well as some top-tier musical moments accompanied by phenomenal lighting cues.


The music itself was a beautiful balance between genre-blending tunes of their new album like Running Out of Time and Ain’t It Fun, slowdown, sing-along, sway-along acoustic tunes like Only Exception which the band has been “avoiding playing for many years”, and earlier Paramore classics like Decode, Still Into You, and so many more.

While I hadn’t seen Paramore perform live before, this was a particularly nostalgic gig for me. When I was much younger I used to sneak onto my brother’s computer to play video games while putting the band’s third studio album Brand New Eyes into the CD player. Just before Paramore played the last few songs of their set Hayley asked everyone “Who would like to take a little trip down memory lane”. I am pretty certain there was no one in the crowd who wasn’t ready to feel nostalgic.

ParamoreThis is where the show peaked. Not only is Misery Business a common favourite amongst Paramore fans but the band suddenly and unexpectedly extends and downplays the otherwise explosive bridge of the song. Hayley takes her time to explain that while everyone probably knows the words to this next part she needs someone to come on stage and sing the famous next few words with her. Everyone wants to be that person. 

Hayley eventually picks someone from the front of the mosh pit to jump on stage with her and after a few hugs and tears, Hayley and Amy sing the highlight of the show in front of a sold-out Spark Arena and in front of Amy’s phone on the selfie camera. For Amy’s sake, I hope they upload that video somewhere because it would be a shame not to have it backed up and relived at least once a week. 

If you haven’t listened to Paramore in a while it’s way past time to take another deep dive into their discography, there truly is something there for everyone.

It’s especially cool to see the original 3 members of Paramore back together again.

Bonus quote from Hayley, “As much as we can, let’s keep going to shows because it might be one of the only happy places left.”

Paramore, as introduced by Hayley, is:

Brian Robert Jones on rhythm guitar.

“Our resident Kiwi”, Logan MacKenzie on keyboards and rhythm guitar.

Joey Mullen on percussion.

Joey Howard on Bass.

“Mine and Taylor’s best friend since the 6th or 7th grade” Zac Farro

“Mine and Zac’s best friend since the 6th or 7th grade” Taylor York
“And I’m Hayley, Ms Williams if you’re nasty”

Koen Aldershof

Click on any image to view a photo gallery courtesy Zachary Gray:

Paramore setlist:
  1. You First
  2. The News
  3. That’s What You Get
  4. Playing God
  5. Caught In The Middle
  6. Rose-Colored Boy
  7. Running Out Of Time
  8. Decode
  9. Last Hope
  10. Thick Skull
  11. Crystal Clear
  12. Hard Times
  13. Figure 8
  14. The Only Exception
  15. Crave
  16. Baby
  17. Misery Business
  18. Ain’t It Fun
  19. Still Into You
  20. This Is Why