I requested the day off at work the moment I heard this show was happening and bought a ticket as soon as they became available – so to say the least – I was very excited about this show. I had often thought about how awesome it would be if Metric and Paramore toured together, and I felt as though I was somehow responsible for this taking place since I invested so much emotional energy into the idea of it happening.
Metric’s latest record, Synthetica, is certainly their best yet and has unprecedented re-listen value. Admittedly, I did not enjoy it on first listen, but it has worked it’s way into my top ten records of all time. With this love of their most recent material and a great amount of respect for the overall care with which Synthetica was produced, I held high hopes for their opening set.
Somewhat surprisingly, Metric chose to play a set of their most popular tunes. Although I thoroughly enjoyed it, I had mistakenly hoped for a more recent collection of songs. When I thought about Emily and Jimmy’s vision for Metric when it was formed, however, their song choices began to make sense.
The energy was certainly there, but Emily looked tired for some reason. She also seemed less comfortable than maybe she could have been. Her stage banter and all didn’t seem staged, which was great, but it was rather awkward at times compared to the confident displays I see in most interviews of hers. To their credit, the crowd was bigger than at most shows they’re used to playing and even Paramore’s lead singer Hayley mentioned how big the venue was. Regardless, perhaps it was the lack of facial expressions they made, but something did not seem right. Emily’s head-banging, if you will, seemed rather robotic, and come to think of it, Jimmy’s guitar playing seemed rather stiff as well. Don’t get me wrong, their show was well worth experiencing and the only thing I wish was different about it was the length, it was much too short.
When the curtain dropped and the lights went off and Paramore came out I literally had to take a deep breath and try to remember where I was etc because the entire crowd somehow moved up thirty feet and there were people everywhere screaming. Once we all settled into our uncomfortable positions and people finished complaining about how tall I was, Hayley stepped up to the mic.
For some reason I was feeling particularly disillusioned to the idea of a touring musician loving a certain city on a tour but then Hayley told a story about Papa Smurf watching their van for them outside the Shelter back in the 00’s and I believed her. I wish I’d gone to that show.
“Do you realize how big this place is?” She said, referring to the venue, of course, and then went on about how she missed us and such.
And then they played like 100 minutes of Paramore, including but not limited too their biggest hits. They made sure to include the interludes from their most recent record on Ukelele.
Symbolically, Hayley mistakenly sang the second verse first during “When It Rains.” Paramore has indeed been through a lot and this tiny error served as a reminder that Paramore is much bigger than their past and is stronger than ever, if you couldn’t tell by listening to virtually any of the lyrics in any of their new songs. It should also be noted that it was in fact raining when this song was performed, and that Hayley played it sitting down in front of a keyboard.
She also told us, before playing “Last Hope” that when they were writing that song, she knew that there was still more left for Paramore.
Jeremy Davis delivered high energy stage presence, including his signature back flip roll thing over Taylor, or whomever happens to be next to him, along with an interesting variety of bass guitars and a cool shirt.
I had known from YouTube videos that Hayley had stage presence, but her performance transcended my conscious thought of such a thing and I was truly able to enjoy myself. As far as her outfit is concerned, (an unignorable part of any Paramore show) she sported a cool jacket during Grow Up that read “Grow Up” on the back, and the rest of the show she wore high wasted black denim shorts, an interesting mid-nineties punk-rock black-on-white eyeball patterned shirt, and fishnet leggings with holes in them, revealing her cross tattoo and whatever the other one’s are. Her hair was short, and red.
Her voice sounded older, because it is. And maybe a little bit tired, but that’s because it was. Taylor wore normal people clothes and had longer than usual curly hair.
Aaron Gillespie played drums, and this was a very awesome to experience as an Underoath fan. He brought his own twist – tastefully and unobtrusively – to many of Paramore’s tunes, old and new.
During Ain’t It Fun, some lucky kids from some high school choir got to sing the “don’t go crying to your momma” part. And during Misery Business, a lucky girl with a strap on camera and short hair got to sing the bridge. I’m pretty sure they muted her mic though because I didn’t hear a thing. She got to keep the mic though, so that’s cool.
Awesomely, they ended with Still Into You, and released butterfly shaped confetti and balloons with their symbol on them.
After Show Happenings:
I did have the chance to speak with Jimmy after the show. It was strange to see him wearing a camouflage baseball hat instead of a fedora. He told me that Gavin Brown is clinically insane and loses everything (hard drives, files, etc).
“That man has easily wasted at least four years of my life,” he said.
He, not Gavin, did most of the production on Synthetica. He also told me that he saw me in the crowd doing the hand motions I had devised spur of the moment during “Youth Without Youth.” I then recommended the book “To Paint Is To Love Again” by Henry Miller to him.
I saw Emily, but she looked like she was not in the mood to talk, so I did not badger her.
I stayed a long time waiting in the rain for an opportunity to talk to Jeremy, Taylor, and Hayley, but alas, I was told that if I did not leave the police would be summoned, so I complied. And yes, I was the last one there. Perhaps next time I will do as my friend Samuel did at a Trinidad James show and just walk with confidence past security. Or maybe they’ll play a smaller venue.
On an unrelated note, I got lost on the way home and stopped at the Michigan State Police building to ask for directions. It was after hours but an officer came to the door and lead me in the right direction.
Less than two minutes later I got pulled over for speeding and driving with my lights off. I was borrowing my friend Luke’s car, and I had an expired license. I told him that I was lost and that I had stopped at the State Police building for directions, and I think that was my saving grace.
“Technically, I should arrest you for this, but it seems like you’re having a rough night, and you’re lost, (he had radioed the other officer to make sure I wasn’t lying) so I’ll lead you back in the direction you want to go, and don’t go any faster than 65 in this rain, okay?” (Not verbatim.)
THERE ARE NICE COPS OUT THERE