Review by Becky Weaver with Photography by Sophie Jones

Shawn Mendes is following in a line of pop stars hailing from Canada that have paved their way into the world of music, but the tousled-haired 20-year-old needn’t worry about competition in the industry, he’s got the world eating out the palm of his hand.

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Before Shawn’s extensive set kicked off, fellow Canadian pop star Alessia Cara got the crowd warmed up with her impressive vocals. Her short but sweet set-list gave her more than enough time to make a lasting impression as she performed her hit singles Stay, Scars to Your Beautiful and How Far I’ll go.

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Despite releasing his self-titled third album last year, Canadian heart-throb Shawn Mendes hasn’t performed in Birmingham before, yet he’s no stranger to the city, having spent a week or two rehearsing for Shawn Mendes: The Tour earlier in the year where some fans and were lucky enough to snap a selfie with him.

The city clearly has a place is his heart though, as he tells the crowd that he has “So much love for Birmingham and its people” and his debut in the second city is welcome, a jam-packed arena not only filled with teenage girls, but Mums, Dads and everything in-between seem more than keen to catch a slice of the man who rose to fame through posting short covers of popular songs on the social platform, Vine.

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There’s no doubt that Mendes is a performer. He knows how to charm his audience – how to make them dance, clap, scream until their voices hurt.

At such a young age he has a back catalogue of chart-topping hits that have proved him worthy of performing at Wembley Stadium, the Victoria’s Secret runway and selling out arenas and stadiums across the globe. But despite the success of this chiselled young gentlemen that stands before a crowd of thousands, he remains as humble as ever, and it’s almost enough to distract from the chaos of the world that we’re living in.

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Upon performing his single Youth, which features U.S singer, Khalid, Mendes is keen to spread some positivity within his youthful audience, encouraging them to fight for what they believe in, because without them, who knows what the future holds.
Watching Mendes perform is like a breath of fresh air. He’s candid, entertaining and most of all, grateful for the love and support that his army of fans have provided him with, whatever their age.

More than just a singer, he takes no prisoners in showcasing his talent. While many may believe he’s just following in the steps of Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran with his heart-felt anthems, Mendes has many strings to his musical bow that go way beyond picking up a guitar. He’s a talented pianist, lyricist and born entertainer that knows exactly how to work an audience with every inch of his being.

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There’s no doubting his passion, too. The tales of love, loss, heartbreak and anxiety scattered through his music are enough to resonate with anyone, no matter their age; from the depth of passion in Mutual, to heartache and mental health in In My Blood and struggling with long-distance romance in the catchy opening song Lost In Japan.

Sitting alone on a piano on the B stage, it’s clear that Mendes is comfortable with exposing his vulnerability, he’s been no stranger in struggling with his mental health in the past. And although it’s unclear whether any sense of panic lay beneath his skin, his performance is utterly flawless. Constantly thanking fans for their support and checking that everyone’s ok, he’s as much as a dreamboat and gentleman as you’d expect.

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Stepping away from his own material, Mendes takes a breather and moves into a breathtaking cover of Coldplay’s classic, Fix You. The young girls in front of me may have asked their mother what song it was, but to hear Mendes perform a track that was released when he was just a child shows his depth of appreciation for music.

Watching Shawn Mendes take over Arena Birmingham with an effortless performance with such depth of emotion is truly admirable. Having broken into the industry at such a tender age, the baby-faced teen has now blossomed into a young man who’s releasing timeless ballads and mature anthems that rival his earlier material.

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Look beyond his sculpted looks and adorable personality and you’ll find a truly talented musician whose progress in the industry is moving at a pace so rapid you can be sure it’ll make your head spin.

Charming, delicate, vulnerable and utterly unstoppable, Shawn Mendes clearly isn’t done with his toe-tapping pop tunes, I have a feeling he’s only just getting started.

SET LIST:
Lost in Japan
There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back
Nervous
I Know What You Did Last Summer
Mutual
Bad Reputation
Never Be Alone
Life of the Party
A Little Too Much
When You’re Ready
Like to Be You
Ruin
Treat You Better
Particular Taste
Where Were You in the Morning?
Fallin’ All In You
Youth
Why
Mercy
In My Blood

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