Shawn Mendez at Rogers Arena, 6/14/19
Shawn Mendes rocked out to a packed concert at Rogers Arena on Friday.
The night started off with Mendes’ band playing an instrumental introduction. Within seconds, the stage opened up, Mendes slowly ascended the stairs and immediately began to play “Lost in Japan.”
After a few bars, he shouted: “Sing Vancouver.” No doubt that the crowd had already been singing along but his prompt gave them the confidence to do so loudly. It was at this time that Mendes’ smile illuminated the tour screens and soon, he sang with the audience at a volume incomparable to their own.
Mendes then transitioned into the first crowd jumper of the night, “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back.” The song had a noticeably different arrangement at parts and thereby gave listeners a new outlook on its feel. More importantly, it reaffirmed that Mendes is not only a singer but a brilliant songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.
About mid-way through the show, Mendes left the main stage and reappeared at a second stage that was centered in the middle of the arena. There stood a replica of his signature white rose. A piano rose from underneath the stage. Fans rushed from their seats to get a spot close to Mendes. They stood on their toes, on the arena chairs, and even on their parents’ shoulders, just to get a good glimpse.
Noticing their excitement, Mendes took a short moment to hold their hands, accept gifts and interact with them before teasing a quirky cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.” As he finished that last note, he addressed the audience:
“I couldn’t put all my songs on the setlist. So I put together a medley of these little songs.”
A small “Aww” erupted from the front row and Mendes soon launched into a touching medley of
“Because I Had You,” “Little Too Much,” “Patience” and “When You’re Ready.” Often, and without looking up, Mendes would simply stop singing. Just so that he could hear his fans sing back to him. Then after a few chords had passed, he would look up again with a face filled with awe-inspired gratitude and appreciation.
After a few more numbers, Mendes sang one of his more uplifting songs, “Youth.” Inspired by the Manchester bombing that occurred last year, Mendes gave the audience an inspirational speech centering on ideas of hope, change and bravery:
“Vancouver, when I talk about youth, I’m not talking about how young or old you are. I’m talking about a feeling. A feeling of freedom and happiness. Our youth will not be taken away from us.”
His next number, “Mercy,” was one of few songs of the night that he chose to sing without playing an instrument. This gave Mendes the opportunity to give more attention to the audience. He then began to move from one side of the stage to the other and eventually towards the front row just behind the barricades. He held hands and sang directly into fans’ eyes – something that caused many to scream in sheer excitement.
He ended the night with a rendition of Coldplay’s “Fix You,” followed by a hair-raising performance of “In My Blood.” The song, which was nominated at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards for Song of the Year, was his encore number and is known for its eye-opening look into Mendes’ struggle with anxiety and depression.
Despite the same audio issues that plagued his Portland show, Mendes gave Vancouver a roaring performance. Overall, he reminded Vancouver, and everyone else, that Canadians can hold their own on the world stage.