Live review: Shawn Mendes @ The SSE Hydro, Glasgow

5 mins read
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Hoards of screaming fans descended upon The Hydro for Shawn Mendes’ latest arena tour, but it wasn’t just teenage girls. His growing mass appeal was evident in the crowd at the venue, that ranged from families, to couples, to groups on a “girls’ night out”.

Support act Alessia Cara was a great choice to open before his set. With plenty of hits under her belt to perform for the hyped audience, she had everyone singing along to tracks including ‘Stay’; ‘Scars to Your Beautiful’; and the earworm of a song from the Disney film Moana, ‘How Far I’ll Go’. Mendes’ fellow Canadian also has a similar music style so the music flowed perfectly.

Between their sets, a playlist of what was probably some of his favourite tracks at the moment, including ‘SICKO MODE’ by Travis Scott and ‘Better’ by Khalid, played softly through the speakers but anticipation grew even more when ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ by Queen suddenly boomed through the speakers and the house lights started to go down. To say the shrieking reached fever pitch would be an understatement.

On the way into the building, every member of the audience was given “a gift from Shawn” (as the woman handing them out described it) in the form of a white wristband. When the lights went out and the band came onstage, they all started flashing different colours corresponding to the colours of the lights on the stage. Seeing the arena bathed in a sea of colour was something else. It always looks stunning when people wave their phone lights in the air, but this made it all the more magical.

Shawn rose up from underneath the stage, clutching a guitar and burst straight into one of his latest singles ‘Lost in Japan’. From there, he dove straight into other massive singles including ‘There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back’, ‘Nervous’ and ‘Stitches’. You’d think that starting the set with some of his biggest singles to date would leave little for later in the set but it was full of bop after bop, with the majority of the tracks being from his latest self-titled album (which is easily his best so far).

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It wasn’t all one massive sing-along though. There were some touching moments throughout. The most notable was his announcement as he arrived onto the B Stage under a giant lit up rose that this was his first show in a year that he was doing without taking beta blockers. Being so candid about his anxiety during the show just showed how much of a positive role model and an inspiration he is to so many people in the room. There was a sweet innocence to everything he had to say between tracks that made him even more likeable.

The show was definitely at its best when he was belting out his more fun, catchy pop songs and while there were a lot of ballads throughout, he managed to maintain a good balance to keep the good atmosphere pumping.

It was hard not to get caught up in all the excitement that was radiating from all of his die-hard fans in the audience, and it made the night all the more fun as everyone was singing and dancing along without a care in the world.

The set also highlighted Shawn’s clear musical ability, with his vocals being pitch perfect and he delivered some falsettos through the night that even outshined anything on any of his records.

There was also no doubt that he could put on a spectacular show, as he bounded about the stage, jumping from playing the guitar to the piano and even running through the audience towards the end.

Closing the night with a beautiful cover of Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ and ‘In My Blood’, Shawn Mendes: The Tour was a perfect night of escapism with some great pop music from the 20-year-old artist who is really starting to find his voice.

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