For a rare showing in front of 3,000 attendees, Shawn Mendes took over the grandiose halls of Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on Tuesday night (May 14) for a concert in partnership with the Verizon Up program, a new customer loyalty experience that invites fans to intimate events tailored towards their favorite pop superstars. For the 20-year-old Canadian chart-topper, that meant treating the historic venue to the concert debut of his new single, "If I Can't Have You," as well as several other memorable moments during a one-hour set.
With a roaring crowd of teenage girls (and accompanying parents), Mendes kicked off the show affront his five-piece band with the lush sounds of his 2018 single, "Lost In Japan." Unlike the production of his usual stage show, the heartthrob kept it simple and speedy with his guitar in-tow, offering the audience with back-to-back smashes like "Stitches, "Mercy," and "Treat You Better," but he also made sure to deliver some album cuts. After all, this was a concert dedicated to the most loyal followers — both for Mendes and Verizon. And yet, as much as the chart-topper (and his toned arms) remained the star of the show, it was the Mendes Army that really ruled the night. With every brush of his hair, they chanted in unison. For every flexing guitar solo, they roared with cheer. Towards the end of his set, he sat down at the piano and offered up a cover of Coldplay's tender hit, "Fix You," a moment that heard the concert-goers collectively sing even without prompting from the superstar.
Banter with the crowd was limited, but when Mendes did stop the music to speak with the audience, it was just right. Prior to singing "Youth," his Khalid collaboration off his 2018 self-titled LP, the singer delivered his most notably message of the night. "I want to take a moment right now to say that every single person in this room tonight, every single one of you, you are the people that right now have the power to change the world," he passionately told the crowd. "Do you understand what I'm talking about? It's up to us to stand up and say that no matter what happens, no matter who tries, our youth will not be taken away from us."
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Photo: Getty Images for Verizon Up