Shawn Mendes pulled seemingly endless throngs of squealing teenaged fans to his fleeting 35-minute set at Governors Ball on Friday (June 1), but it hasn’t been long since Mendes himself was among the concert-goers. “This was actually one of the first festivals I ever went to, and I remember [thinking] it would be really cool to be on that stage,” the 19-year-old Toronto heartthrob admitted as he strode onto the platform, prompting a cacophony of screams. “And now I’m on that stage. It feels really cool.”
It seemed fitting, then, for Mendes to kick off with the motivating “Nothing Holdin’ Me Back,” a track that rocketed him to star status back in 2016. As the brooding clouds broke over festival grounds for the first time that day, the star switched between acoustic and electric guitars to pound through his career hits in almost chronological order — starting with oldie “Stitches,” running through Illuminate tracks “Ruin” and “Mercy,” and finally approaching his self-titled third album (out last week) with renditions of “Lost In Japan” and “In My Blood.” Throughout, he drew shrieks as he waved and winked to fans — several of them in tears.
Near the end of his short set, the singer launched into a soulful cover of Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody.” As the crowd filled in the love song’s memorable “ooOOoh” background vocals, Mendes complimented the group effort: “Beautiful.”
But it had been a long day for Mendes, who just that morning appeared on NBC’s Today show to perform in promotion of his new LP. And so as his last song — “Treat You Better” — wrapped up, he flashed a charming smile, grabbed his guitar and sprinted offstage, the crowd continuing to cheer long after his smooth departure.