Shawn Mendes Lit Up Brooklyn With Intimate Moments & an Ed Sheeran Appearance

Shawn Mendes performs at Barclays Center
Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

Shawn Mendes performs at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on Aug. 16, 2017.

Shawn Mendes was humbled to be playing Barclays Center in Brooklyn and performed with the same intimacy and relatability as his early days as an emerging singer/songwriter on Vine. To a packed arena full of thousands of adoring fans, Mendes performed like a true teen dream playing a set made up of recent hits from his latest record Illuminate and debut album Handwritten favorites, lighting up New York Illuminate tour stop with a number of vulnerable moments, and even a surprise appearance from Ed Sheeran.

To start off the evening, opening act Charlie Puth performed a total of six songs to warm up the evening, playing passionately from behind his signature keyboard. Before showing off his smooth, pitch perfect voice, he opened up to the crowd while introducing several songs, explaining some tracks as extremely personal releases. Of “Attention” he took a Taylor Swift-like route and declared, “Someone broke my heart, so I wrote about it... I gave my heart when I wrote this.” During his rendition of the breakup track, Puth looked proud to see the crowd sing the words back to him as lights flashed synchronized to the final triumphant harmonies of the song.

To conclude his opening set, Puth ended on his mega-hit “See You Again.” While he had been giving each song a little intro throughout his 30-minute set, Puth got rather vulnerable for his finale song. He explained that he wrote in honor of his friend who passed away in 2012, who ironically had predicted that Puth would one day have a song in a movie. “I never talk about this in depth on stage, but it just felt right today. If you've ever lost somebody and are wondering if they know you're thinking about them, this song is so they know."

When it was time for Shawn Mendes to take the stage, audio played of press proclaiming the nineteen-year-old singer’s rapid rise to success -- a phenomenon the singer proved was possible as he confidently emerged from the floor of the stage. To kick off the set, the singer proved he was going to give his all and began with Pop Charts No. 1 hit “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back,” asking fans to scream out the lyrics from the get-go.

After playing his sweet mid-tempo (and adorably innocent) Illuminate track “Lights On,” Mendes crooned the crowd with a medley seamlessly flowing between Illuminate tracks “I Don’t Even Know Your Name,” “Kid in Love,” flowing delicately into a Jackson 5 cover of “I Want You Back.”

Several songs in, Mendes recognized the significance of his New York crowd. “I just want to say that there are these very certain cities in the world that make me go crazy before I get on stage, and this is one of them. I always have to mention it that the people who found me in the very beginning of my career are here tonight, the first fans who stopped me on the street to take photos. You guys had no idea this was happening, and now it's happening. It's incredible, so enjoy the show.”

Later, Mendes was alone on stage and exhibited the same sincerity as his simplistic beginnings singing “The Weight” and “A Little Too Much” under a sole spotlight. Before performing the latter he told the crowd how special it is to him. "It's one of the first songs I wrote. As a songwriter and as a musician -- as a creative person in general -- this song is everything I wish I could have written,” going on to sing the song outpouring with emotion.

To continue with the set’s most wholehearted moments, the singer moved the show to a smaller B-stage where a grand piano emerged, performing three of his most intimate releases “Life of the Party,” “Three Empty Words,” and “Roses” under a glowing ball reminiscent of his Illuminate tour title. Prior to singing his own ballads, Mendes covered a verse and chorus of Ed Sheeran's "Castle on the Hill" -- little did fans in the Brooklyn arena know that the snippet was actually foreshadowing for the surprise that was coming.

Upon returning to the main stage, Mendes offered the most major pop-star moment of his set by surprising the crowd with Sheeran himself. Greeted by roaring screams, Sheeran joined Mendes on the second verse of “Mercy” and harmonized his way to the end before casually leaving the stage. “That was just as crazy for me as it was for you guys,” Mendes gushed.


Thank you @teddysphotos !!!

A post shared by Shawn Mendes (@shawnmendes) on

After finishing off the set on a dynamic “Never Be Alone,” Mendes came back for one final emotional moment, finishing off with “Treat You Better.” Beginning the finale from behind the piano with a long, evocative interlude, Mendes transitioned into the fast-paced album version of his smash hit to close out the show with a bang. His excitement to be reunited with the fans who took his career from Vine star to superstar was evident throughout the entire 90-minute set, but his seamless transitions from acoustic and electric guitars to piano -- along with his impressively consistent vocals and high energy -- made it clear that Mendes was destined to be far more than an Internet phenomenon.

Set lists

Charlie Puth
“We Don’t Talk Anymore”
“Marvin Gaye”
“One Call Away”
“See You Again”

Shawn Mendes
“There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”
“Lights On”
“I Don’t Even Know Your Name”
“Kid In Love”
“I Want You Back” - Jackson 5 Cover
“The Weight”
“A Little Too Much”
“Bad Reputation”
“Life of the Party”
“Three Empty Words”
“No Promises”
“Don’t Be a Fool”
“Mercy” (with Ed Sheeran)
“Never Be Alone”
“Treat You Better"


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