Two quick things:
1. I will only witness shows at the Staples Center from private suites because now that I’ve experienced it, there’s no turning back
2. Nothing is scarier than experiencing an earthquake while sitting in a sold out Staples Center, a venue which holds 21,000.
Though I try to stop myself from being a pretentious music lover, I still find myself avoiding current pop music. It could be that I have put Britney Spears on the highest of pedestals or that I’m still grieving over *NSYNC breaking up, but current pop music just doesn’t capture my attention as much. Which is why I found myself surprised when I continued to gravitate towards Shawn Mendes and his music.
At just twenty years old, he has created quite a catalog of songs for himself and after much deliberation, I think it’s his songwriting that keeps me coming back to his music. His lyrics show wisdom beyond his years and a young man, who doesn’t steer away from vulnerability so of course I jumped at the chance to witness him perform live.
Shawn Mendes was born to be on a stage.
He radiates energy from that stage, and even when he got through a medley of his ballads, he didn’t loose the crowd any of the time. Which is a feat all on its own considering the 20,000+ crowd and the fact that he was backed by a four-piece band. He made that stadium feel like a powerful spectacle and an intimate performance all at the same time.
Speaking of the medley; it’s the thing that truly stood out from the show. Maybe it’s because the medley kicked off with his cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”, but I felt immediately hooked when he started singing. Though it was “Ruin” that completely won me over, the song was powerful when I first listened to it on a random Spotify playlist but it truly makes an impact when Shawn is standing in the middle of a Staples Center with a guitar in his hand.
The setlist was eclectic, with the energy levels evenly spaced throughout the show. He transitions from getting you to dance with “Nervous” to making you emotional with “Stitches” seamlessly. I was expecting the flawless guitar playing and the way he flirtatiously played off the crowd, but his vocals truly surprised me. The transition from his cover of Coldplay’s “Fix You” to his song “In My Blood” was so flawless that it caused chills down my spine as soon as it happened.
Studio recordings aren’t the appropriate outlet for his high notes and there’s nothing quite like hearing them live for the first time. So I appreciated the fact that he sprinkled them throughout the show and gave each one enough time to hang in the air and to have an effect.
Whether you’re a teenager attending your first concert or a 29-year-old who attends multiple shows a month, there is no denying that Shawn Mendes is a must-see. With only a few years in the business under his belt, it’s exciting to imagine the possibilities of where his career could go next. He was clearly born to do this and his show is enjoyable no matter how many of his songs you may know.
Quick shoutout to the Lighting Crew and the Light Operator because the lights added magic to the night. The light show was intricate, it was detailed and it made Shawn feel like a heavyweight performer while standing on stage with a guitar (not to take anything away from his stage presence and impressive vocals).