I guess flawlessness is in Shawn Mendes’ blood. The show was exceptionally organised and his command of the stage was undeniable. If I sound like I’m complaining, that’s only because I’m perpetually dissatisfied, even when perfection stares me in the face. Heck, the show started at exactly 8pm, a rare phenomenon in the concert scene. He went on continuously without having the fans plea for an encore we know we’ll always get.
As the show began, his daring Calvin Klein ad was top of mind for most people. Or was that just me? He made sure he wore a sleeveless attire to flaunt his biceps throughout the night. He’d smile as much as Joker but not in a creepy way. He’d comb his commercial ready hair every chance he’d get to. But outside all these distractions, the reality is, Shawn Mendes is a brilliant musician and artist.
His vocals can take on Coldplay’s “Fix You” and do the song justice. He has the range of Justin Timberlake. I would dare say even reaching the wails of a rocker’s, like Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler. He has the swag and fluidity of Prince that can be construed as either sexy or feminine. I know he has hang-ups about his gender. But damn, his voice was on fire. I’ve seen very few artists nail their records live or do better than the original. Sam Smith comes to mind as one. Now, Shawn Mendes joins the list.
He won’t stop reminding you that he’s a singer-songwriter who plays the keyboard and the guitar. He makes it a point to reiterate he’s composed music of his own and with well-known peers like Julia Michaels and Ed Sheeran. And when I say he plays instruments, I mean showing off. He strums that guitar as hard and as fast as any alternative band member can. He shifts gear to convey the mood he wants the crowd to get into.
Yet, despite all these, he’s not taken seriously enough, considered by most people outside his fanbase as vanilla. Probably because he smiles too much and the world prefers misery. It doesn’t help that he’s stuck in a world of falling in and out of love and his personal insecurities. He’s unmindful of how he can use his platform for an advocacy bigger than his own.
Overall though, he knows what the audiences want. And just like the Spice Girls, he gives it to them. The bracelets that light up are getting old. But performing at the center of the crowd below a flower from his album artwork gave everyone the opportunity to get a glimpse of the idol they paid to see. I didn’t enjoy that part as I did my best to get a close view (not proud to say part of the crowd that stood up and rushed to the stage as soon as the lights dimmed). But I understand and respect why he wanted to spread himself for everyone to see.
I thought it was also considerate that he created medleys spanning tracks from all his albums. That’s the dream of many listeners who want a piece of their favorite. But with limited time, Shawn made the most out of a bad situation. Other artists will simply ignore the yearning of hardcore fans for the deepest cuts that made no dent in the charts. Thankfully, he listened and that made us listen.
“Senorita” is my jam. I’m let down he didn’t perform his number one hit. Although I understand if he’s giving people a break. I’m still scarred from the excessively immature and unnecessary display of public affection with Camila Cabello on Instagram. Or maybe he’s giving himself a break?
I’m not the biggest fan of Shawn Mendes’ music. But I would vouch for his live show. You can consider staying on script boring. I find it professional and respectful.