Hayley Williams, lead singer of the rock band Paramore, and Lil Uzi Vert, the Philly rapper behind “Just Wanna Rock” and more, were longtime fans of each other, but that wasn’t until Wednesday night in Madison Square. The garden where they finally met.
The mutual admiration began in January 2016, when Uzi posted a video on Twitter of him singing along with Paramore’s hit song “Ain’t It Fun.” At the time, Uzi was still an up-and-coming rapper with a few catchy songs under his belt, but Williams must have taken note of that. They’ve complimented each other over the years – Uzi named her her dream collaboration in a recent Complex interview and said, “There’s no better than Hayley Williams,” and Williams revealed that the two were talking about a collaboration that never came to fruition—until the two were together in New York’. until you hit the stage.
On the second night of its two-day sellout at Madison Square Garden, Paramore began closing its nearly two-hour set with hits like “The Only Exception”, “Hard Times” and “All I Wanted”. When the band started playing “Misery Business”, the crowd filled with the biggest cheers of the night, but no one guessed the surprise guest. The rapper took the stage with an oversized chain and sang a little bridge before hugging Williams.
“[We’ve been] We talk for a minute, but this is our first face-to-face meeting. I love you. You said some very nice things about me,” Williams said on stage. “You’re so sweet to me and Paramore, can we build this bridge together again? Then we’ll melt their faces, okay? New York, you ready? Here we go!”
The two sang the final chorus of “Misery Business” face-to-face and completely in sync as the streamers burst into the crowd. Uzi hugged Williams one last time and jumped off the stage at the end of the song.
The surprise guest didn’t take away from Williams’ star power overnight, and his nod, high energy, and all-around positivity shone brightly in Madison Square Garden. Openers Genesis Owusu and Bloc Party gave the night a great vibe and when Paramore took the stage, it drew a lot of attention from the band’s nearly 20 years of discography.
The international tour is in support of Paramore’s sixth studio debut and their first album since 2017, “This Is Why.” After leaving “After Laughter” in 2017, the group focused on individual projects and Williams released two solo albums. “Petals for Armor” in 2020 and “Flowers for Vases / Descansos” in 2021. Feeling authentic. But at the end of the night, Williams declared it “the best show of their lives” and thanked the fans who came to both New York shows.
It’s been 10 years since Paramore last performed at Madison Square Garden, and it’s a welcome comeback for modern rockers. With never ending energy, Williams danced, bounced and rolled on stage and her vocals stayed strong on the high notes of songs like “All I Wanted”, “Decode” and more. It was a total team effort with guitarist Taylor York chipper and drummer Zac Farro playing percussion all night. Fireworks, confetti and streamers exploded, colorful lights and flashes shone over the crowd, a swirl of rock ‘n’ roll extravagance.
At the end of the night, Williams donned the Statue of Liberty hat given to him by a fan and heartily thanked everyone who attended. Williams saw a sign that read “Paramore Saved Me” amid a wave of signs in the crowd and asked the owner if they could sign it and gift it to him. “Paramore saved me, too,” Williams said soundly after a knockout performance that took 10 years to make.