Shawn Mendes Live at the O2 Arena: My Experience
There's Nothing Holding Me Back...
First things first, I love music. All types and styles of music. So when I heard this song called "Stitches" back in 2015 by a new artist from Canada, I immediately thought. This guy is going to be a star. Two words. Shawn Mendes. *Girls Scream*
This year I was lucky enough to get front row rickets at the iconic O2 Arena in London to his world tour titled, "Shawn Mendes: The Tour". I give you a look into my experience all with original photos and videos! Spoiler Alert-There are girls screaming in all the videos.
World Tour & Venue
From his humble beggings in Ontario, Shawn Mendes has achieved global stardom. This was attributed to his musical talent, hard work and also filling a gap in the market for a solo male pop artist. The last were the likes of Justin Timberlake. Ironically enough, Mendes credits "JT" as being a big inspiration to him. Since 2015 it's been a string of hit singles, number 1 albums and fame. This all resulted in the 2018/2019 world tour with more shows and more countries to give back to the fans in a way that has never been done before. This world tour was just after his third self titled studio album that debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 was released. With the United Kingdom being the last destination of the entire tour, there was only one venue grand enough-The O2 Arena.
A legendary venue that has been previously graced by the likes of The Rolling Stones, Beyonce', Ed Sheeran and his fellow Canadian, Drake. With a capacity of 20,000 and every seat being sold out, we were all in for a memorable night. I purchased my ticket in December last year and eagerly had to wait for March 2019 for the show. On the day of the show, I left early to avoid the crowd, but even that did not help as when I arrived, there were adoring fans buying merchandise, singing his songs and already queuing for the entrance. I joined the queue and after an hour, I was inside the venue walking towards the front stage. Across the next 30 minutes the venue filled up and as we all waited patiently, the lights cut and the intro to "Lost in Japan" began to play followed by "There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back".
There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back
The O2 Arena
Performance and Crowd Interaction
Something that Shawn Mendes has in addition to star quality, is crowd control and real showmanship. He knows which songs are fan favourites and balances out the ballads with the summer hits. The setlist mainly contained the current album, "Shawn Mendes" and its predecessor, "Illuminate". He of course performed some of the older material as for most fans, this would have be the first time since his debut they would be hearing all the songs live. Each song has a special place in the show and when he performs, from crowd pleasers like "There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back" to the slower ballads in the groove like, "Where Were You in the Morning?", you can see the energy and dedication to give the fans a stellar performance.
A particular detail I noticed is how many instruments he can play. All through the show he is alternating between an electric guitar, acoustic guitar and the piano for the various songs. All impressive for a 21 year old. My favourite song is the latter mentioned, "Where Were You in the Morning?", so naturally I got my money's worth when he performed it to perfection. Amazing vocals, hyping the crowd up and an earnest desire to make an impression, all contributed to a night everyone present will remember for years to come.
"Where Were You in the Morning?"
- "Lost in Japan"
- "There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back"
- "I Know What You Did Last Summer"/ "Mutual"
- "Bad Reputation"
- "Never Be Alone"
- "Because I Had You" / "A Little Too Much" / "When You’re Ready"
- "Life of the Party"
- "Like to Be You"
- "Treat You Better"
- "Particular Taste"
- "Where Were You In the Morning?"
- "Fallin’ All In You"
- "Fix You" / "In My Blood"
Highlights and Best Moments
Choosing my favourite moments from the show may have been the reason this post took so long to finish, it was nearly impossible. but I have narrowed it down to 3 in no particular order.
The first being the performance of "In My Blood", Mendes received critical acclaim for the honest message and lyrics of the song which deals with his own anxiety and how difficult it is to fight back and not give in. This song really moved people in the arena and it reminded me of the power of music and how our generation really does have a voice in society. Secondly, it is not everyday you use the expression of seeing someone cry "tears of joy". That night I watched countless people break out into tears when he walked on stage and started performing. In that single moment, that person forgot about all their worries, overthinking and simply got lost in the music. That is also the reason I keep going to live shows, to see raw happiness and appreciation for an artist. Third has to be Shawn Mendes himself and how humble and appreciative he is to the fans. He constantly thanked everyone for being there, how we as fans are the reason he gets to live his dreams and how each and every person there, needs to follow their dreams and feel the feeling he feels when he is out on stage. I now know why this guy sells out stadiums and records!
Honourable mention. As part of the encore, he performed a special rendition of Cold Play's "Fix You", especially for the English fans to pay respect to the country and the artists that the United Kingdom has delivered. This shows he has an interest in each country and that he tries to tailer each show for the fans across the globe.
In My Blood
After three hours had passed, my phone was full of iconic photos and videos and my memory was filled with an unforgettable show. If you are lucky enough for the tour to stop in your country, be sure to find a way to see it live. This should be inviting as no doubt another album and world tour is in the near future. Until then, we have a string of summer singles that he has released to keep up going.
What is next for me you ask? I am off to practice my guitar and falsetto, because if that night has taught me anything, every guy should be able to play the guitar and sing "Stitches" flawlessly...
© 2019 Kedan Pentia