Pure. Raw. Innocent. That was my impression of the Shawn Mendes concert! Orlando’s Amway Center was packed seat to seat, wall to wall, floor to floor with gals and guys of all ages last Friday. I went to the concert with my good college friend Audrey, and we had a blast. Shawn Mendes is unbelievable live.
Mendes played a whopping 12 tracks from his sophomore album “Illuminate”, 5 songs from his debut album “Handwritten”, an abbreviated cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Castle on the Hill”, and a medley that included 3 of his hits and a Jackson 5 favorite.
From the shrills and the shrieks and the cries, and especially the screams of “I LOVE YOU, SHAWN!”, the majority of the audience seemed to be young girls and their parents. They sang and they danced in unison, as if they had organized some choreography just for the concert! Thankfully there were some of us “older” folks enjoying the show too!
He Just Wants Attention
Charming Charlie Puth opened the show, and he made it count. He played the keyboard and sang a round of his hits, including “Marvin Gaye”, fan-favorite “See You Again”, and my favorite “Attention.” The girls went CRAZY for him.
He’s cute, but man these girls were losing their minds! He stood at the mic a few times just smiling and staring at the crowd while they all screamed at the TOP of their LUNGS! These dedicated fans knew what they wanted.
The dedicated young man pictured above stood during the entire concert. He sang every word with a dramatic, pained expression on his face as he lost himself in the music. The boy danced and even played the air drums. He was just as dedicated as the girls were!
Charlie finished his six-song setlist, and then we got ready to enjoy some Shawn Mendes!
Young Mendes opened up with his latest single, “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back,” which was A LOT of fun to dance to. Everybody stood up, screaming, dancing, and singing along.
A large moon-like ball hung from the ceiling, about the size of a humongous beach ball, that later “illuminated” the room. This projected different animations, from a foggy white and grey background that moved with the music, to an explosion of a bright blue sky. The object also interacted with the stage, displaying birds first flying on the ball, to flying onto the stage behind Shawn Mendes.
This was his first all-arena tour, and I could see all the passion and enthusiasm in him the ENTIRE night. He never ran out of breath, he never seemed tired, and he gave it his all for EVERY song.
His concert was definitely family-friendly. It was just mature enough to get girls excited and screaming for him, wanting to be the “future Mrs. Mendes”, as one girl’s shirt read. But yet he was approachable enough for girls to want to bring him home to meet the ‘rents. I caught a few parents singing along to his tracks.
The Shawn Mendes concert reminded me of the Taylor Swift RED tour. There was a moment when Shawn’s band played continuously after “Bad Reputation” as a distraction. They played an insane guitar rift, with drums and dramatic backgrounds. Black and white lights filled the arena.
And then…there he was. Shawn Mendes the ninja escaped the main stage to play piano on a separate, elevated stage on the floor of the arena, just below the Illuminate-themed party ball. He played a few lines from Ed Sheeran’s “Castle on the Hill”, and then sped it up to go back into his own hits.
This moment reminded me of T Swizzle’s tour (when my stepmom and I had FLOOR seats) as she switched from the main stage to an elevated floor stage. She ran around all us crazy fans and climbed the stairs up to the quaint stage.
Swift, in her red wardrobe glory, sang a few of her hits, and Ed Sheeran (one of her opening acts for that tour) joined her to perform their song, “Everything Has Changed.” It was magical. The memory hit me like it was yesterday, and I got a bit teary-eyed thinking back to that.
During the concert, I sat up high to look down over everything, remembering past experiences. I thought about the feeling of going to my first few concerts, what it felt like to be amazed, to be up close and personal to the musicians, to feel the adrenaline and the heartbeat and the excitement. I still felt that excitement tonight, but I looked at the experience in a different light.
I got chills with each chord, each guitar strum, and each melody throughout the Shawn Mendes concert. This guy is talented.
Shawn’s got the same sweet smile he’s had for the past few years, and I’m impressed he hasn’t gone the bad boy route. His guitar style is comparable to John Mayer, minus the attitude.
He also doesn’t seem like the Justin Bieber-type to be baby-faced and then turn heel with a bad reputation a few years later. Shawn’s music and lyrics are becoming slightly more mature now, and his vocals are killer. If anything, his music seems to be maturing with him. He’s not ahead of himself, he’s still humble and gracious, and he genuinely seems like a nice guy.
I think it’s amazing how music can reach so many people. It’s a universal connection. I stopped a few times during the concert to take a look around, at the screaming girls, the ones crying, the ones going crazy, standing up and dancing.
I could just imagine, as I had done when I was younger, that they may have been listening to all his songs in their bedrooms before the concert, in the years before the concert, singing at the top of their lungs. Maybe they were singing with friends in the car, listening to Shawn on the radio or on the CD player or using their phones and other devices. They devoted so much time to the fandom and now they were seeing him live. It was so sweet and innocent.
My favorite performance of the night was Stitches. I connected the most with that song. I found Shawn on YouTube in a search for a “She Looks So Perfect” cover. But I really paid attention when he released Stitches.
The audience waved their phones, having the best time of their lives. I danced and smiled and sang. When we stop to think about the lyrics, Stitches is a sad song. It’s about walking away from a toxic relationship, but picking up the pieces on our own.
The young girls dancing along to this song may not be old enough to experience a relationship like that (or a relationship at all), but they were dancing and singing every word right back. I thought to myself, I hope they (and my future daughter one day) are protected and never experience anything like that.
Mendes closed his setlist with a triumphant “Treat You Better.” I was surprised he didn’t play an encore, but I suppose that WAS the final song after performing for nearly an hour and 30 minutes. The kid’s got talent and stamina.
Shawn Mendes Concert Setlist Highlights
Here’s a quick look at what I thought were the best performances of the night:
- We Don’t Talk Anymore
- Marvin Gaye
- There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back
- Bad Reputation
- Treat You Better
- I Don’t Even Know Your Name / Aftertaste / Kid in Love / I Want You Back
The good news is I didn’t lose my voice by the end of the night and I could still feel my feet. All of these are pluses for going to a tame arena concert. Audrey and I had a wonderful time at the Shawn Mendes concert. I would definitely recommend checking him out!