“Hero” is a word that is often synonymous with members of the military, so it was quite natural that Paramore paid their respects to the men and women in uniform by covering the Foo Fighters’ 1998 arena rock classic “My Hero” for “VH1 Divas Salute the Troops.”
In their performance in front of troops at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait — which was followed by sets back in San Diego from stars like Keri Hilson , Nicki Minaj and Sugarland — frontwoman Hayley Williams, looking as rocker chic as ever with pink hair and a blue sequined jumpsuit, alerted the crowd, “This one’s for you” as her band kicked into the tune’s instantly recognizable opening notes (particularly Taylor Hawkins’ heart-pounding drum intro, taken over here by Zac Farro). It seemed the troops were just as ready to rock out as Williams and co. were, as they quickly turned into a sea of signs of the horn and crowd-surfers.
(Click here to see photos from “VH1 Divas Salute the Troops”.)
Amid the flashing lights, both onstage and coming from the countless cameras flashing from the crowd (many of whom held glow sticks too), Williams belted out Dave Grohl’s catchy chorus, “There goes my hero/ Watch him as he goes/ There goes my hero/ He’s ordinary.”
Paramore, who have previously covered “My Hero” (from the Foo’s defining 1998 record The Colour and the Shape) on the compilation album Sound of Superman, didn’t miss a beat during their stint on Sunday’s show.
Williams and her bandmates then took a breaking from rocking and slowed things down a bit with their love song “The Only Exception.” The audience showed their appreciation for the band with waving hands and lighters.
The band provided one of the evening’s few subdued numbers of the night, and the swaying crowd (many of whom sung along with the chorus, “But you are the only exception “) gave the show a much-needed moment of reflection.
While the song may not have been as obvious a choice as “My Hero” (particularly when they have a hard-rocking repertoire that includes hits like “Brick by Boring Brick” and “Decode”), it seemed to resonate hugely with the crowd (many of whom, perhaps, were thinking of their loved ones at home during the performance, particularly during lines like “I know you’re leaving in the morning when you wake up/ Leave me with some kind of proof it’s not a dream”).
The service members attending the “VH1 Divas Salute the Troops” weren’t the first to take Williams’ ballad to heart this year. The tune was also featured in the wildly popular Britney Spears episode of “Glee,” in which Lea Michele echoed Williams sentiment that, “That was the day that I promised/ I’d never sing of love if it does not exist.”
What did you think of Paramore’s performances of “My Hero” and “The Only Exception”? Let us know in the comments section below.
Watch bonus performances, browse photos, read all about the most-talked about moments, and find out how you can salute the troops at VH1’s “Divas Salute the Troops” hub.