Photos and Words by Sam Skapin
Paramore’s This Is Why Tour took center stage at The Schottenstein Center in Columbus on Saturday night, delivering an unforgettable night to a packed arena. Despite a brief evacuation from the venue, both the bands and fans’ adoration for one another made it a night to remember.
The night kicked off with a bang as Genesis Owusu, the Australian-Ghanaian musical prodigy took the stage. Matching the eclectic new single, “Leaving the Light” he emerged on stage in a large trench coat that later revealed a slew of backup dancers, adding dynamic choreography complementing Genesis Owusu’s every move during the catchy synth-driven song.
From the introspective single “WUTD” to the high-energy and infectious “Don’t Need You” (a personal favorite), each song was a joy to watch come to life as Genesis commanded the stage with eccentric dance moves and a captivating stage presence. Genesis Owusu was a perfect way to set the tone for the rest of the night, as the crowd erupted into cheers throughout the set, dancing along with Owusu during his high-energy performance. Blending the indie and hip-hop genres effortlessly, Genesis Owusu is clearly an artist to watch.
Next to take the stage was renowned UK indie rock band Bloc Party. Heroes to the members of Paramore, it was a treat to be able to see an artist that has heavily influenced the band and their music throughout the years. From the first chord of “In Situ”, a song off of their 2022 record Alpha Games, they showed the audience exactly why Paramore looked up to this band. Vocalist and frontman Kele Okereke impressed everyone with his strong vocals, with the rest of the band not far behind with exceptional performances. They seamlessly blended intricate guitar riffs supplied by Russell Lissack, Justin Harris’ bass lines, and drumming by Louise Bartle.
Their set included songs off of both Alpha Games and A Weekend in the City, but they made sure to sprinkle in some classics off of their iconic 2005 album Silent Alarm, such as “Positive Tension” and “Helicopter”. Closing the set with the catchy track “Ratchet”, Bloc Party kept the audience’s energy at an all-time high and had the room buzzing for Paramore.
If you’ve been living under a rock, Paramore is a band that has been single-handedly shaping music for over 10 years now. In any direction you turn, you are bound to see the influence of Paramore and its music in one shape or another. The band has seen and overcome just about everything at this point. From heartbreaking lineup changes to overall burn out the band has continually come back strong. Coming back after a break from touring and their last release After Laughter, the band released their new album This Is Why in February and have done extensive touring in support of it. Tonight was Columbus’ turn to experience This Is Why in all its glory.
With a powerful spoken word intro read and written by vocalist Hayley Williams that signaled the beginning of the set, the audience broke into cheers and screams. The band took the stage and wasted no time bursting into the explosive energy they are known and adored for by leading off their two-hour set with the powerhouse song “You First” from This Is Why. Williams wore a pink two-piece suit reminiscent of the 60s, putting her all into the song while confetti rained down on the crowd, setting the tone for the rest of the set.
The band flawlessly delivered a mix of their beloved classics and tracks from their latest album, ensuring that everyone in attendance could sing along to their favorite songs. Their set consisted of songs spanning from Riot! such as “That’s What You Get” to “Decode” from the Twilight Soundtrack, while still being sure to include songs from their latest release such as “Running Out of Time“. Hayley Williams, known for her genuine and inclusive nature, took a moment to express her delight seeing so many new faces in the crowd and made sure to let them know that they were now part of the Paramore family. Looking around the arena, it was evident that Paramore and their music had touched the lives of countless fans, both old and new.
The chemistry between Paramore and its members can be seen from a mile away. Williams led the charge with her vocals soaring through the arena, while Taylor Yorks’ impressive guitar work and Zac Farro’s sharp drumming drove the energy of their sound to new heights. The band’s tight-knit bond and years of experience shone through, resulting in a seamless and polished performance. Being a longtime Paramore fan, it’s been incredible seeing the visible growth in this band and their connection with one another over the years.
With an array of stunning visuals, vibrant lighting from all sides, and a dynamic stage setup with platforms raising high and low during the set (they even had a “Paramoat” for fans to join in on stage for “Ain’t It Fun”!) every detail of the production complemented the band’s energetic performance and transported the audience into the world of Paramore for two hours.
As tradition, Paramore was sure to include their iconic song “Misery Business” off of Riot!, inviting two lucky individuals up on stage to sing with the rest of the band. She spotted two fans in particular— one who had been eagerly waiting in line for hours and another dressed as herself from the Self-Titled album era. The atmosphere in the arena was electric as the lucky fans sang “I watched his wildest dreams come true” with the band as their wildest dreams came true as they finally got their shot to headbang with Hayley on stage.
Paramore’s set proved to be nothing short of exceptional and full of resilience and connection. The band’s unwavering commitment to their fans, shown by their interaction with the fans throughout the night, showcased the genuine and inclusive nature that is Paramore at its core. The night was a testament to the power of music bringing people together, forging lasting core memories, and creating a sense of community, reminding us that we are all Paramore.
Be sure to check Paramore out on the remaining dates of their tour here. You won’t want to miss it.