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Steph Curry appears alongside the band Paramore at Chase Center in San Francisco on Aug. 7, 2023.

Skyler Greene

Moments before San Francisco Paramore fans could go wild to the mania-inducing bridge of the band’s 2007 hit “Misery Business,” Paramore abruptly stopped the song.

Casually jogging out onto the stage wearing a Paramore tour shirt and black denim vest covered in patches, Curry was visibly beaming as he approached each band member with an “I’m not worthy”-style, double-raised-hand bow motion before turning his attention to the ovation of a stunned audience for the rest of “Misery Business.”

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“How many people tonight have never been to a Paramore show?” lead singer Hayley Williams asked, pausing to react to a roaring crowd. “Well then, welcome to the family!” 

Many in the crowd had flocked to Chase Center for the second time in two weeks for Paramore, whose show set for July 22 with teenage sensations The Linda Lindas was rescheduled less than two hours before its expected start due to Williams’ struggle with an ongoing lung infection.

“I’m sick you guys, I’m sorry.” Williams lamented after thanking the crowd for moving their schedules around to attend. “I’ve got my doctor stationed here who I might be running over to throughout the night, but I’m good!” 

Impossible to see for most of the crowd, a large, casually dressed man sat on the inner step of the protective barricade facing the stage, as if receiving the VIP performance of a lifetime.

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A super fan he was not — he was Williams’ doctor and would occasionally dart off to the side stages to tend to the 34-year-old front woman, closely monitoring her vocals and motions from his front-and-center seat to ensure that this leg of the tour would go on without a hitch.

And go on without a hitch it did, as Paramore stunned with a set list of 21 songs spanning their nearly 20-year career as touring musicians, an impressive feat for a trio in their early 30s.

Paramore performs at Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif. on August 7, 2023.

Paramore performs at Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif. on August 7, 2023.

Skyler Greene

“Retro Futurism” seemed to be the running theme of their stage show and immersive visual experience, which opened with a spoken-word piece, “Note to Self,” in which Williams’ voice played over an extraterrestrial soundtrack moments before the seven-piece band walked out onto the stage adorned with a mothership vessel hovering above them for a show filled with dazzling pyrotechnics, confetti drops, streamer cannon blasts and other epic visual displays.

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Composed of multiple pieces jig-sawing together in various formations, the ship’s components rotated in different directions similar to a Rubik’s Cube. 

Despite its “extraterrestrial” positioning, the design was aesthetically akin to something that midcentury architect Frank Lloyd Wright would have designed rather than your typical arena concert set.

Starting off strong with “You First,” they blasted into “The News” and hit “That’s What You Get,” as well as other crowd favorites like “Rose-Colored Boy,” which Williams remixed with a snippet of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy” toward the end.

A nod to her impressive vocal range, Williams is a bona fide star whose fans speckled the crowd with homemade signs — throwing gifts, handmade fan art and friendship bracelets onstage, a rare sight at a hard rock band’s show.

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Perhaps a nod to her friendships with Taylor Swift, Williams was wearing a pink-and-red beaded friendship necklace that seemingly clashed with her custom-made stage outfit. Throughout the 90-minute set, she flexed into high kicks, backbends and impressive spontaneous dance moves, looking equal parts Brigitte Bardot and Wednesday Addams.

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Paramore performs at Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif. on August 7, 2023.

The platinum blonde lead singer upheld the retro-futurism vibe with her ensemble. She was giving go-go girl meets figure skater meets the Rockettes, with long eyelashes, bouffant hair and dramatic 1960s-style eyeliner visible far away from the stage. 

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Williams took plenty of time to give her voice a break and speak to the audience as if getting together with old friends, laughing more than once about the incel culture that plagues her day to day online.

“Enough of this small-dick energy!” she proclaimed to a roaring laughter.

“It’s like, do they want me to just be less good?” she joked. 

“Because I’ve been making music with my best friends since we were 13 or 14 years old. It’s like … why can’t we rise up to the same level and all just be incredible together?” 

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At the midway point of the set, the three original members of Paramore, including guitarist Taylor York and drummer Zac Farro, absconded to the side stages, only to reappear moments later for intimate performances of “Last Hope,” “Big Man, Little Dignity,” “Liar,” and Williams’ solo piece, “Crystal Clear.”

The band picked the pace back up again with crowd favorite “Hard Times,” despite having to briefly leave the stage due to a non-life-threatening medical emergency in the audience.

Paramore performs at Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif. on August 7, 2023.

Paramore performs at Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif. on August 7, 2023.

Skyler Greene

New track “Figure 8” inspired a proverbial sea of phone flashlights, and then Williams gently segued into ballad “The Only Exception,” signaling to the tens of thousands of fans who were singing, word for word, along with her that the show was almost over. 

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Equal parts punk rock, hardcore, electroclash, disco, ’90s alternative rock and pop, Paramore positively dazzled during their at-capacity arena gig last night, showcasing the nearly two-decade-long span they’ve spent as a band touring, making music and being best friends. 

“I want you to all pinky promise to me that we will hold those in power accountable,” Williams said halfway through the show, little finger raised up in the air. 

Despite pushing through respiratory illness for weeks, the feminist icon defied all odds and delivered, leading Paramore through a transcendent set filled with surprises, memorable moments and a concert well worth showing up twice for. 

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Because, as Williams stated, “the show must go on.”

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