Paramore’s Spirited Return to Utah

By Adelina Whitten

Sunburns and smiles greeted “The After Laughter Summer Tour” artists who played at the USANA Amphitheater in West Valley City on Monday. Fans waited in the blistering heat and cloudless skies for the chance of an up-close experience.

Audiences loitered all day for good reason. Jay Som, Foster the People and Paramore were on the itinerary for the tour’s second-to-last stop.

The Oakland, Calif. musician Jay Som began the show with melodic pop melodies. Melina Duterte and the rest of her band sufficiently entertained the crowd. They performed one particularly enticing piece about Duterte’s dog — an appearance from the dog itself was the only thing lacking. The end of the set left a fan screaming for “four more songs.” While Jay Som were unable to provide, their performance did leave the audience asking for more.

Our wish for more good music was granted when Foster the People took to the stage. Beginning with their popular track “Coming of Age,” they had the audience rocking along from the start. With 10 extremely catchy anthems in a row, it’s not hard for them to do.

Even if you don’t listen to them regularly, you’re bound to know one or more of their popular, radio jams. Foster the People played their hits “Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls)” and “Pumped Up Kicks” to everyone’s satisfaction. The set ended with lead vocalist Mark Foster tossing a guitar pick to a devoted supporter.

The kindness of Foster exemplified the entire audience’s character. I witnessed no fighting, no pushing and no angry words from one fan to another the entire night. This was in stark contrast to Paramore’s Utah show last year where the entire crowd involuntarily swayed left and right due to shoving.

On Monday, however, only joy radiated from one side of the Amphitheater to the other in anticipation for the headlining act. When the sun finally began its descent from the sky, Paramore appeared. There was complete pandemonium.

Frontwoman Hayley Williams’ blue tights and red shorts were complementary to her eccentric stage performance. She traversed from one end of the stage to the other frequently throughout the set. She also jumped, danced and pointed at lucky admirers in the pit.

Those who received direct attention from Williams weren’t the only lucky ones. The band performed 21 songs, including some of their most popular tracks “Still Into You,” “Rose-Colored Boy,” “Crushcrushcrush” and “Ignorance.”

However, halfway through the show, it grew intimate when the band sat down for a short acoustic set. The group took a seat on boxes painted in the colors of the “After Laughter” album art while softly performing “Misguided Ghosts,” “26,” and a cover of Drake’s “Passionfruit.” This definitely contrasted with the band’s regular theatrical performance, but the change was nice.

My favorite part of the show, however, came after the crates were put away. Paramore invited two lucky individuals onto the stage to finish the lyrics of “Misery Business,” arguably the band’s most popular tune. The apparent glee experienced by the two fanatics was enough to put a smile on every face.

The show concluded with “Hard Times,” and a graceful exit from the beaming band members.

Almost nothing could’ve stopped the horde of supporters from singing all night. Alas, the show had to end and the venue needed to be emptied. All there’s left to do is to hope for Paramore’s return to Utah.

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