Photo credits: @TimSimpson
He may be young, but Shawn Mendes doesn’t lack any courage or confidence that you might think performers get with age. On July 7, one day before his eighteenth birthday, Mendes performed at The Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel in Nashville bringing a seriously awesome show to the outskirts of Music City. He started his show with nothing but an acoustic guitar and a spotlight, bringing the crowd near hysteria in about .2 seconds. A musician friend of mine who attended the show expressed to me what a bold move that was; opening a show in front of thousands of people and doing so alone and acoustically. We were impressed right from the start, but he was really only getting started.
Mendes’ show almost seemed like it was planned exactly for this one night. Tucked away 30 minutes outside of Downtown Nashville, The Woods at Fontanel is a venue that is literally hidden in the middle of the forest and was one of the coolest places I’d ever been to. The view from the stage must have been incredible as the crowd sat surrounded by hanging lights and trees, enjoying a clear sky and a perfect breeze. The venue itself created a really magical atmosphere that was perfectly in sync with the mood and the graphics of the show. It was all moonlight and fireflies… in the sky and on the stage.
The best word I can find for the whole night is “enchanting”. The majority of the show was acoustic and Mendes’ single guitar and gentle voice moved right past the crowd and in to the trees, creating one hell of an awesome feeling that I won’t forget. The lineup consisted of a list of songs from his album “Handwritten” (2015), accompanied by several speeches of gratitude from the stage as Mendes’ explained his personal attachment to the record. Tracks from his latest album “Illuminate” were also on the set list, including his hugely popular hits “Stitches” and “Treat You Better”. Throughout the night, Mendes covered everyone from Drake to James Bay, spent some time on the piano to lead in to a special version of “Stitches”, and amazed everyone with a cover of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”, beat boxing, looping and all.
It was a special night for artist and audience alike as Mendes was surprised on stage with a cake and lots of birthday wishes from everyone in the audience. It’s truly amazing to see someone so young take the stage with such confidence and completely blow the show out of the water. It’s obvious that Shawn Mendes is all raw talent and hard work. His love for the stage and connection to his crowd was genuine and refreshing, and as we were leaving we felt lucky to have seen it.
What an incredible show it was. Happy Birthday Shawn, and thanks for having us!