Shawn Mendes / Alessia Cara Rogers Arena, Vancouver BC, June 14

Shawn Mendes / Alessia Cara Rogers Arena, Vancouver BC, June 14
Photo: Joshua Peter Grafstein
Shawn Mendes fans: fear not. Although he sent his devotees into reefer madness when he revealed his love of weed last year, he showed those at Rogers Arena last night that he's still in top form.
Before he did so, Alessia Cara pulled off an impressive feat for an opener: She not only got the crowd up and dancing, but they sang along and lit up the arena with their phones en masse. Although the 22-year-old singer's straightforward pop songs were unremarkable, she carried herself with the confidence of a seasoned vet. She looked comfortable, with movements and facial expressions that never came off affected, and the crowd's reaction verified that.
Her poise went a long way, as she knocked out big and booming tracks like "Here" and "Wild Things." "How Far I'll Go," from Moana, was a guaranteed pleaser. When she left the stage, a Shawn Mendes graphic hovered over the stage on a screen. Even the sight of his face in 2D was enough to send his fans into a frenzy.
That frenzy only grew during his set. Many of Shawn's contemporaries are harder-edged; Harry Styles, for example, looks more like a rock star. Shawn, on the other hand, was almost never outwardly needy for attention from his Vancouver fans. The rare times Shawn did hype fans with a "Vancouver!," he was so bashful about it, it was like he had to sneakily tuck the local shout-out between lines during the song. And he never basked in the fans' roaring reaction.
Shawn shared uplifting, motivational messages about self-empowerment, but he bucked convention by keeping his verbiage short. That allowed him more time to whip up his fans with songs like "Lost in Japan," "There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back," "Nervous," "Never Be Alone," and the nearly cosmic rocker "A Little Too Much." "Particular Taste" shifted the evening into a more sensual mood.
Shawn Mendes gave far from the flashiest or most gimmicky pop show. That said, he did allow himself one major rock star convention: blasts of confetti and impenetrable smoke during the climax of one of his final numbers. He finished with a cover of Coldplay's "Fix You" and then one of the most soaring songs of the night, "In My Blood," with no encore — a final act of bucking pop convention.

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