The popular MTV Unplugged series is back for a fall reboot, and the premiere that airs Sept. 8 features a stripped-down performance from teen heartthrob Shawn Mendes. The show, which showcases musical artists performing their songs with only acoustic instruments, has featured artists such as Jay-Z, Adele, and Nirvana in the past.
Mendes began his performance at the Theater at Ace Hotel with his summer hit “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back,” with only his acoustic guitar in tow. After hyping up the crowd with the hit that earned his second No. 1 spot on the Pop Songs chart, he tells the excited crowd how thankful he is. “Thank you for letting me do this tonight,” he says. “This is very special to me. And for you guys, don’t treat this like any other concert, just have fun, sing along with me.”
As the cheers subside, Mendes changes the mood with “Ruin,” a slow ballad from his debut album Illuminate, and with an impressive piano performance, following that with an innovative rendition of “Stitches” that strays from the heavily produced single heard on the radio.
Mendes returns to the guitar with “Three Empty Words,” a song that he reveals is one of the closest to his heart. “This song showed me how important lyrics are to a song,” he tells the audience. After more fan favorites, Mendes goes completely bare for his performance of “Roses” and “Mercy,” accompanied only by a trio of strings and the piano.
Before breaking into the soft melody of “Never Be Alone,” he shares a heartfelt message with the crowd. “I don’t really know how to explain this. It’s pretty simple but you guys are all so incredible every single time I perform. More than that, as a person, that means the world to me and it helps me and I love it.”
MTV Unplugged: Shawn Mendes is scheduled to air on Sept. 8. Watch a clip of “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” below.