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Shawn Mendes' World Tour Lights Up San Antonio's AT&T Center 

click to enlarge BRITTANY WAGNER
  • Brittany Wagner
In what felt like an arena-sized dance party, Shawn Mendes treated San Antonio to a collection of ballads and bangers spanning the four years of his young-but-dynamite discography.

The singer-songwriter and model made a stop at the AT&T Center on Tuesday night, playing to an audience mostly comprised of young girls, though the excitement was equally evident on the faces of the parents who accompanied them. The show served as more evidence why Mendes' radio-appropriate love songs and uplifting anthems, coupled with his clean-cut, boyish appearance, made the Canadian-born artist America's sweetheart.

Mendes kicked off his electric performance with "Lost in Japan" off his new self-titled record and "There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back," the hit single from his sophomore album, Illuminate. Wearing an all-black ensemble, accessorized with black boots, rings on his fingers and an earring in his left ear, Mendes seemed to be taking a fashion cue from the edgier Harry Styles. He also flashed a new butterfly tattoo, which he first showed off at his July 22 Dallas show.

Despite the size of the arena, Mendes made concerted efforts to make his performance feel intimate. The dark stadium was pinpricked with light from the glowing bracelets handed out to each ticket holder. As the stage lighting shifted colors or erupted into strobes, so did the bracelets. This united the thousands of fans, even in the most distant nosebleeds, helping them feel closer to the pop star, who must have had dozens of guitar picks in his pockets for all the times he threw them into the crowd.

Mendes played "Nervous," "Stitches" and "Bad Reputation" to get the crowd amped up. Girls put their hands in the air, fingers splayed, like they were in church. To be fair, the sight of so many young fans singing every word, eyes closed or fixed intently on the 6'2" heartthrob, felt nearly sacred. As has been proven time and again with each incarnation of a boyband or attractive artist like Mendes, there is no devotion as undying, depthless or tireless as that of a young girl to her idol.

click to enlarge BRITTANY WAGNER
  • Brittany Wagner
Trading the guitar for the piano, Mendes sat down to serenade the crowd with "Never Be Alone," a simple love song he initially recorded back in 2015 for his debut album, Handwritten. He disappeared off the main stage and reappeared on a secondary stage, again taking to the piano to cover Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" and singing acoustic versions of "A Little Too Much," "Like to Be You" and "Life of the Party."

Back on the main stage, Mendes kicked the show back into high gear with blood pumping hits including "Treat You Better," "Particular Taste" and his May single "If I Can't Have You," which earned the most deafening screams of the night.

Ever the romantic, Mendes introduced "Fallin' All In You" by asking the crowd if anyone came to his concert on a date.

"If there were ever a time to make a move, it's during this song," Mendes said.

Singling out a young couple near the stage, Mendes asked the boy if he'd kissed his date yet, prompting the audience member to lean in, drawing cheers and applause from the entire stadium. Mendes followed with "Why," a dreamy slow song hinting at his possible relationship with singer Camila Cabello. "When I hear you sing, it gets hard to breathe," he sang. "Can't help but think every song's about me."

Mendes rounded out the night with "Mercy," a cover of Colplay's "Fix You" and "In My Blood," his latest album's lead single, which sheds light on his struggles with anxiety. Judging by recently released singles such as "If I Can't Have You" and "Senorita," and his rumored romance with Cabello, fans are sure to be waiting with bated breath for Mendes' next project.

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January 12, 2022

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