Review: Shawn Mendes @ Manchester Arena

With an audience full of young teenage girls, as an adult it is easy to feel out of place at a Shawn Mendes concert at the Manchester Arena.

Yet, by beginning the evening with the amazing Alessia Cara as a support act, it really helped to put those feelings at ease and start an amazing night of music. A star in her own right, with songs like Scars to Your Beautiful and Stay, she dominated the massive stage regardless of her small stature, filling the crowd with adrenaline in the process.

However, the moment that Shawn Mendes stepped onto the stage, you could really feel the arena explode.

Mendes went from being the guy off your bedroom posters to being right in front of you. He transformed from that teen heartthrob on the television, with thousands of girls falling at his feet, to a performer priding himself on song-writing and putting on a spectacle.

Starting with one of his newest songs Lost in Japan, the crowd went absolutely crazy from the first note. He had those in attendance in the palm of his hand from the very beginning and knew how to get the audience hooked by starting with all of his classics – from Stitches, There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back and the oddly seductive Nervous.

With the addition of one of the most beautiful stage set ups and the bonus of interactive wristbands, the experience was definitely unique.

The wristbands flashed to the tempo of the songs. The colours on the bands blended with the giant screen whether it was a deep orange sunset or the surface of the Earth. The giant rose on the B Stage in the middle of the arena captivated the crowds as it changed colours with our newest accessories.

It felt as if the show wasn’t just a concert – it was an experience.

Alongside some of his all-time classics that every single person in the room could sing along to, and a cover of Coldplay’s Fix You, Mendes treated his hard-core fans to songs from his newest album.

Even with all the lights and staging, it was the simplest performances which were the most effective. Mendes was at his best when it was just him and his guitar or piano, with songs like Life of the Party, Like to Be You and Never Be Alone.

As well as his ability to captivate a room with just his voice, the 20-year-old was also the best showman when he was given the opportunity to have some freedom. Without an instrument in his hands, he works the stage like a grizzled veteran.

No matter your views on young stars, there’s no denying that Mendes’ voice is something special. From the velvet tone to one of the widest ranges in a male singer, the pop star showed us vocal acrobatics without overshadowing the pure essence of his music and the story behind each one.

In a world where celebrities become public property, it’s easy to forget that Mendes started as just a boy playing songs on YouTube. His fame propelled him to the top and, amongst the world of ‘fangirling’, sometimes people underestimate him and his pure talent as it gets lost amongst the sea of adoring fans.

Shawn managed to make every single person in the room feel like he was singing directly to them. This is not easy when you’re playing to a sold out arena.

Behind all the smoke and mirrors, there’s an exceptional singer with an ability to capture the hearts of his audience.

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