Summer is in full swing here in the Twin Cities. It’s block party after festival after concert and hey – no one’s complaining. It’s a great time of the year in the Twin Cities to get out and catch some live music. My summer so far has been spent at brewery block parties, First Ave and frankly any other outdoor event I can catch. But Friday night – I found myself in St. Paul at the Xcel Energy Center for what was perhaps the hottest ticket of the summer – Shawn Mendes.
Opening up the evening for Shawn Mendes was another rising star – Alessia Cara. A fellow Canadian (Shawn Mendes hails from Toronto) – Alessia Cara has been making major waves in the world of pop music in the past few years. Her powerhouse vocals and contagious, feel good energy were the perfect way to kick off the evening. Alessia Cara thanked the crowd for being so welcoming, “you guys are so welcoming, I know this isn’t necessarily my crowd, but thank you for coming out and making me feel so welcome.” The crowd defintely felt like hers throughout her set as they were singing along to Scars To Your Beautiful, Out of Love, Stay and of course How Far I’ll Go from Moana. We expect to be seeing plenty more from Alessia Cara in the coming months and years!In case you’ve been living under a pop culture rock for the past few years – Shawn Mendes is thee it boy of pop music right now. But his music is much more than just radio pop – though he does seem to have the secret sauce that makes for hit after hit. Mendes takes cues from the pop rockers that came before him – Justin Timberlake, John Mayer and Ed Sheeren. His set at the Xcel on Saturday actually reminded me a lot of when I saw John Mayer at the Xcel almost a decade ago. There’s a way to Shawn Mendes that is so effortless – from his singing to his guitar playing to the way he can make a packed Xcel Energy Center feel intimate.
Watching Shawn Mendes absolutely command the Xcel Energy Center – it’s safe to say Mendes has come along way since his days of uploading covers to YouTube and Vine. This was Mendes third time at Xcel and it’s clear that he’s only getting better with time. “St. Paul, you guys have such a special place in my heart, I remember this one of the first cities that I remember everyone singing along every word to my songs, and I had goosebumps. I still have goosebumps now thinking about it,” Mendes said ahead of his mega-hit Stitches.
Mendes had the Xcel singing and dancing along to song after song. The crowd, mainly young and accompanied with their moms, was hanging on Mendes’ every move and word. Mendes started his set on the main stage with colorful, floral imagery swirling behind him. Partially through his set he moved to the back half the Xcel where there was a second stage, he did a handful of songs on that stage with a giant white flower that suspended from the ceiling. The entire feeling of the set was dreamy and magical while being simple and not feeling overproduced.
It was one of those sets that you never wanted to end. Though there were other events happening around town, there is really something magical about the energy of a packed Xcel Energy Show that is unmatched. Summer is the Twin Cities – there’s nothing like it, and thanks to Shawn Mendes for making it one of the more memorable Fridays of the summer.
Set List: Lost in Japan / There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back / Nervous / Stitches / Señorita Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello cover) (Live debut) / I Know What You Did Last Summer / Mutual / Bad Reputation / Never Be Alone / I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) (Whitney Houston cover) / A Little Too Much / Because I Had You / Patience / When You’re Ready / Life of the Party / Ruin / Treat You Better / Particular Taste / Where Were You in the Morning? / Fallin’ All in You / Youth / If I Can’t Have You / Why / Mercy / Encore: Fix You (Coldplay cover) / In My Blood