After a week in a city that moved around me in a disconnected unfamiliarity, standing at London’s O2 singing along – free and happy- it felt like I finally belong. Shawn Mendes’ soulful yet punchy vocals, captivating showmanship and the adoration of passionate fans made his performance at the O2 a celebration that no one wanted to see end.
Kicking off the night with her genuine personality and bold voice is Alessia Cara, marking the beginning of an unforgettable night. Performing hits like ‘How Far I’ll Go’, ‘Trust My Lonely’ and ‘Scars to Your Beautiful’, she impactfully warms up the crowd, becoming much more than a simple support act.
Shawn takes the stage, opening with the groovy ‘Lost In Japan’ as a sea of the crowds’ twinkling LED wristbands welcomes him. Pausing to greet a city he exclaims he loves to perform at, he moves on to tracks ‘ There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back’ and ‘Nervous’.
Then comes the popular ‘Stitches’, as no one can stop themselves from singing along. But this is nothing new as his catchy lyrics make it impossible for audiences not to join him in a pleasing chorus as tracks like ‘Bad Reputation’ and ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ soar and echo through the arena.
Switching half-way through the set from the main stage to the connecting stage, there is a moment of suspense as fans eagerly await a closeup glance of him as he quickly jogs past them. Making an entrance on the new stage with ‘ Because I Had You’ he performs a short round of songs including ‘Life of The Party’, ‘Like To Be You’ and ‘Ruin’, before the lights go out, and a lull of silence follows.
Silences do not seem to last long in the 20-year-olds energetic performances though, as he re-emerges with seconds on the main stage with ‘Treat You Better’, ‘Particular Taste’ and ‘Fallin’ All in You’.
Shawn keeps speaking to a minimum in the one and half hour set, only addressing crowds to get them to clap or sing along, as he focusses on delivering brilliant music. But when he does speak there is wisdom and depth to his words. Pausing in between his inspirational track ‘Youth, he tells audiences that youth isn’t about age it is about feeling free and happy, no matter what your age.
In a room filled with a crowd that span many ages from young children to teens to parents, all enjoying themselves equally, his words about everyone having the ability to change the world despite their age brings forth a sense of unity that can last way beyond the time frame of a concert.
Even as tail end of the night approaches with tracks ‘Why and ‘Mercy’, the energy levels never dip – from neither Shawn nor the audiences, and as the final notes of encore track ‘In My Blood’ is welcomed by thundering applause, and showers of confetti ; there is still freedom, happiness and adoration filling the room as there was in the beginning of the night.
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Words: Malvika Padin
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