I could not tell you how stoked I was to see Paramore on the list of headliners for Austin City Limits Festival in 2022. Despite being a dedicated fan of the band, I had never seen them live but ACL gave me the opportunity to see them for the first and second times.
For weekend one, I was ready and lined up at the American Express stage hours before Paramore was set to go on, determined to get as close to the stage as possible. By the time the band took the stage, I was right behind the barricade, and you could feel the excitement in the crowd.
They kicked off the set with their newest single, “This is Why” and the energy that front woman Hayley Williams exudes was immediately contagious. Williams spoke first after their first song saying she hoped we had our dancing shoes on because she had her mom bring hers (being bright yellow doc martens) to the show. Their set was full of the hits as well as some deeper cuts like “Caught in the Middle” from their 2017 album After Laughter or Misguided Ghosts that had me and many other fans in tears.
Multiple times throughout their set, Williams expressed her nerves over the Hulu livestream ACL was broadcasting of their set, saying that the viewers at home are going to see her out of breath. She also joked with the audience about how after twenty years as a band, she was refreshed by the opportunity to play a show during the day where she could see the crowd.
As their 2017 hit “Hard Times” faded out, and I had to make my way out of the sea of people who came by to see the show, I was more excited than ever to see Paramore again for weekend two.
After stopping to catch Faye Webster’s set, I made my way back over to the American Express stage to find what felt like triple the number of people waiting for Paramore than were there the week prior. They had a headliners-worthy crowd in attendance, and they rightfully deserved it.
The setlist for week two was pretty different from week one’s and in my opinion, the superior list. We got to hear a couple of my favorite Paramore songs this week like “I Caught Myself” from the 2008 Twilight Motion Picture Soundtrack, or “Pool”, a song that means a lot to me and I was pleasantly surprised to hear live.
A highlight of week two’s set was Misery Business. Williams put out a statement saying she was retiring the song that kickstarted their career because of her use of the word “whore” within the song and the negative message that it portrays. However, during their 2022 tour, Misery Business made its way back into the setlist. This October, Williams posted to her Instagram saying that she is “refraining from singing the word ‘whore’,” but to, “know that inside, [she is] celebrating the fact that as a scene, we’ve come a long way,” regarding the song and the way women are treated in the post-punk and hardcore scene.
In addition to Williams covering her mouth to let everyone else sing the word “whore” and joking that we were in trouble for saying it, she also brought out fellow ACL performer, Pink Pantheress to sing the final half of Misery Business with the band. They then finished off their final set at ACL the same way they started the first, with the title track of their upcoming 2023 album, This is Why.
I knew going into ACL that Paramore would be the highlight of the festival for me, and I couldn’t have been more right about that. I am excited to say I will be seeing them for a third time on my 22nd birthday this summer. If you have the chance to see Paramore, I highly encourage you to take it because not only is Hayley Williams one of the most entertaining artists to watch on stage, but Paramore has music that can appeal to anyone and everyone.
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