Shawn Mendes at The Garage
How do you turn a six-second vine into a one-hour live performance? It helps if you have hundreds of hysterical teens falling at your feet, squealing at even the slightest hint that you might be coming on stage (it was just the stage-lights changing, but it got the crowd off to a false start at least three times). This is nothing to be sniffed at – fans have been fainting at the sight of their beloved idols for decades: Laurence Olivier, The Beatles and Frank Sinatra to name but a few. Being overwhelmed is nothing new, though this experience is most definitely so.
Mendes starts the set by announcing that he might need the audience’s help for some songs. He doesn’t need to ask twice. The atmosphere is thick with excitement – almost nauseating in its intensity. The commitment that the crowd show to Mendes, their unerring devotion to each song, old and new is something that would impress even the most entrenched cynic.
He isn’t undeserving of it. Mendes has a strong voice and an admirably quiet confidence – he is, after all, on stage with only his guitar for comfort, in front of 600 excited teenagers and their chaperones. He holds his own incredibly well, even managing to avert a potentially tragic situation when there’s a crowd surge for the end-of-the-gig selfie.
It’s been a wild ride since Mendes’ first vine in August 2012, and it’s only going to get wilder. His debut album Handwritten comes out on 28th April and pretty soon he’s off to join Taylor Swift on her 1989 tour.
Towards the end of the gig, paper hearts appear throughout the crowd (a popular trope at Mendes’ gigs apparently). Mendes reaches out to retrieve one of them – the girl underneath it all but expiring on the spot – and reads out “we love you because you make us feel special and loved”. This isn’t the kind of accolade you might expect at a gig; it indicates a new genre of fans that are fans simply because their chosen musician makes them feel special. Once you’ve removed the ear-splitting screaming from the equation, there’s something really quite beautiful in that.
For further information about Shawn Mendes and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Something Big here: