There are three types of people who are fans of Shawn Mendes: Camila Cabello, people who love overplayed radio songs, and your little sister. Sunday night, the American Airlines Arena reeked of Hollister perfume as teenaged girls filled the arena with the chaperones they dragged to see heartthrob singer Shawn Mendes.
Almost every seat was filled as audience members waited for their little sisters' #ManCrushMonday to take the stage. Teens came prepared to throw white roses, while parents grabbed double-shot cocktails to endure the evening.
Shawn Mendes emerged wearing a crisp white sleeveless button-up shirt, slightly distressed jeans, and black boots. His tousled brown hair bounced as he nodded his head to the sound of his band playing behind him onstage. “What’s up, Miami?” he yelled into the mike. The crowd roared back and sang along to his opening song, "Lost in Japan."
The 20-year-old singer-songwriter didn’t waste any time getting to his hit singles. “Nothing Holding Me Back” oozed from the speakers as the audience took every opportunity to sing Mendes' songs for him. With his acoustic guitar in hand, he smiled back at the fans that made his job easier. From there, he rewarded the audience with fan favorites “Nervous” and Stitches.”
His setup was composed of two stages: One held his full band and a giant mirror-like monitor, and the other hosted a small piano and a huge rose installation that changed colors throughout his performance. After singing a string of past hits, he sat at the piano to play a sensual take on his latest single, "Señorita," a collaboration with rumored girlfriend Camila Cabello. Though the Miami-based "Havana" singer didn't make an appearance, the audience held it down by singing her part.
Shawn Mendes at Portland's Moda Center July 12, 2019.
Photo by Kevin Mazur
The concert continued as Mendes announced another fan favorite, “Never Be Alone,” and showed off on the piano. In the stands, a fan FaceTimed a friend through half the song before cutting the call to absorb the rest of the performance.
After some time back on the main stage, the band kept the crowd entertained as Mendes stepped off for an intermission. He reappeared on the piano stage, this time singing a cover of Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody." His young fans continued to sing at the top of their lungs as he ran through "Because I Had You," "A Little Too Much," "Patience," and “When You're Ready.”
Mendes spent a fair amount of time on the guitar as well, and though he put work into switching back and forth between stages, the real star of the show was the crew member who ran onstage to hand Mendes a new axe for every other song on his set list. Mendes flexed his skills on a black electric guitar during "Treat You Better," his second Top 10 single. From there, he jumped into "Particular Taste," showcasing both his songwriting and vocal abilities. He kept the same energy through “Where Were You in the Morning,” and the crowd did its best to keep up.
“OK, this is my favorite part of the show,” Mendes said as he looked into the audience. “Did anyone bring a date? Listen, if you brought a date, this is the song to make a move on. At some point in this song, you just have to kiss her,” he said as he went into “Fallin’ All In You.” At no point did any teens kiss as their chaperones gave them the eye while the kids mumbled awkwardly through the lyrics.
For the last stretch of the show, it was difficult to tell who was working hardest: Shawn Mendes, the guitar tech, or your little sister’s vocal cords. After performing “Youth,” Mendes switched instruments again, this time to sing “If I Can’t Have You.” The arena shook as he asked the crowd to jump with him throughout each chorus. The teenaged girls had a good time, but they're probably pretty hoarse this morning.