Movistar Arena (Santiago, Chile)
– Words and Photos by James Villa –
“Paramore Does it BIG in South America”
This was my first trip to South America and as we made our way through the crowded Chilean streets to the Movistar Arena I could feel the revival of some dormant energy wafting through the air. Hundreds of teens lined the temporary partitions for what looked to be one of the most anticipated events of the year.
It had been over 2 years since Paramore had last played in Chile and the boulevards had an air of a festival. Frenetic motorways clogged with vendors, selling varied Paramore memorabilia; beanies, wristbands, posters, and even homemade swag; you name it, you could own it.
Upon entering the arena it was clearly visible that the significance of the opening band would soon be diminished as the throngs of Paramore disciples incessantly screamed and cried out for their pop-rock heroes. Giving credit where credit is due, Polar played their heart out with a mixed crowd reaction, which was odd given the band’s professional demeanor and commanding stage presence.
At the opening notes of “Moving On” the near capacity crowd erupted in a fashion reminiscent of Beatlemania. Suddenly front-woman Hayley Williams appeared, enticing the heaving crowd with only flashing cameras and a solitary stage light filling the massive, darkened room. Abruptly the stage went completely dark as “Misery Business” sent fans lurching into yet another frenzy, singing vicariously along word-for-word, tears running down their pubescent faces.
It wasn’t until shortly after “For Persistent, I’m Pretty Optimistic” that Williams addressed the audience. “You look beautiful tonight…” she said, “It’s been five years, are you ready to make up for lost time tonight?”
The pace slowed briefly as the band played their 2008 Twilight hit “Decode”, but their next track “Now” quickly picked up the pace again. Being the band’s debut single from the new self-titled album, the song’s upbeat tempo and driving message set the pace for the rest of the evening.
“Renegade” and “Pressure” led into another new album selection “Ain’t It Fun”, but not before bassist Jeremy Davis performed his signature acrobatic flip, leaping over guitarist Taylor York without missing a note. “The Only Exception”, “Let the Flames Begin”, and “Fast in My Car” kept the fanatics shouting, yet wondering if the evening would soon come to a close.
Judging from band’s unbounded energy levels this performance was far from over. Williams addressed the crowd again before dedicating “Ignorance” to the people of Santiago. “Looking Up” reignited the crowd’s stamina, followed by “Whoa” which was the collaboration highlight of the show. Word-by-screaming-word Hayley challenged the audience to “lose your voice“; which they did in spades.
“Anklebiters” took an even more engaging appeal as the band selected ten audience members to participate on-stage. Williams’ interaction with the chosen few felt genuine and profound as she danced and sang spiritedly, letting them move freely about the stage, even posing for a couple of photos.
Rounding out the set was “That’s What You Get” and “Still Into You”, with the band quickly exiting under the dimming light unceremoniously. The chants of “Encore! Encore!” began almost immediately.
The two song reprise included “Proof” and barn-burner “Brick by Boring Brick”, yet after an hour and a half of hoping, sweating, and screaming at the top of their lungs the crowd’s vigor never receded.
Paramore took their bows, and thanked the fans with earnest waves and genuine smiles as the lights slowly signaled the end. Confetti canons fired off from every angle as the teens clamored excitedly from the arena floor, bursting onto the hushed streets, ruminating loudly until their voices trailed off into the still, young night.