When Shawn Mendes says, “Jump,” you jump. At least that was the consensus from the audience Tuesday night, when Mendes visited Nationwide Arena as part of Shawn Mendes: The Tour.
From the moment fans entered through Nationwide’s gates, they knew it would be an audience-oriented show as Nationwide employees handed out white silicone bracelets that would later flash colored lights along with Mendes’ performances.
Opening his show with “Lost in Japan,” Mendes set the tone for the night, encouraging fans to get lost in the music, atmosphere and fun provided by himself and opening act Alessia Cara — whose voice elicited chills throughout the arena.
Donned in pants tighter than the knots in his fans’ anxious stomachs as he first stepped onto the stage, Mendes crept his voice into a falsetto that was almost as high as the ear-piercing screams produced by surrounding fans, who ranged from tweens and teens to middle-aged women.
Mendes’ vocal range and stage presence were equally seductive, but what was perhaps the most attractive about his show was his encouragement and appreciation for the audience. He expressed gratitude for the people who joined him at Nationwide and was able to give some love to those seated toward the back by performing a few songs on a secondary stage at the back of the floor. Through this simple relocation, he made a venue as large as Nationwide feel intimate and personal.
The hair flips were in abundance as Mendes checked off all his fans’ boxes through hits such as “Stitches,” “Senorita,” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” the latter two being transformed into a single ballad, giving the songs a new essence — perhaps a small tribute to his budding romance with Camila Cabello.
Despite Mendes’ audience consisting predominantly of young girls, the dads who brought their daughters to the show couldn’t help but bob their heads to the music. And if Mendes’ vocals weren’t enough to impress, his guitar strumming definitely pushed him over the edge. He played hard and passionately, and it was refreshing to learn that Mendes is more than just a pop singer.
Also refreshing was looking out into the audience only to see a few cell phones in the air, suggesting that instead of concerning themselves with posting endless videos on social media, fans were paying genuine attention to the event, soaking it in and responding with sing-alongs and claps to the beat.
Mendes continually encouraged his audience to belt every song, often taking the microphone away from his own mouth to take a moment and listen to the mark he left on people through music — though the audience vocals couldn’t compare to Mendes’ flawless vibrato as he held out endnotes to each song.
The show was extremely well balanced when it came to both connecting with the audience and purely performing. Mendes had impressive control over his voice, exceeding expectations for his live sound.
To kick off his encore performances, Mendes covered Coldplay’s “Fix You,” which was an ironic choice, as Coldplay used similar light-up bracelets as part of its performance interaction during the Mylo Xyloto Tour.
Mendes then transitioned into “In My Blood,” perhaps the most exciting tune of the night — aside from “If I Can’t Have You” — as it was the closing song and the one during which confetti shot out into the audience, showering fans and again making them feel involved.
Overall, Mendes impressed, and his passion for performing, as well as for his audiences, was evident. And what’s a concert if the performer doesn’t yell “O-H” at least three times?