Puth dazzles, Mendes disappoints at concert


Anna Thomas, Editor-in-Chief

Thousands of teenage girls scrambled to find their seats as the lights dimmed in Amalie Arena Tuesday night. Whispers and giggles filled the room as the crowd awaited the opening act for Shawn Mendes’s Illuminate World Tour.

Charlie Puth, a 25 year old pop singer, strolled onto the stage in a plain, black t-shirt and jeans. It all seemed so casual. The crowd’s reaction to seeing him, however, was not.

From the moment Puth stepped on stage, the fans made themselves known. He could not help but smile at the crowd’s warm welcome. Puth performed a number of his popular songs such as “Attention”, “Marvin Gaye” and “One Call Away”.

In between two songs, a fan yelled out, “I love you, Charlie!” Puth chuckled, interrupted his own monologue and responded, “I love you too.”

Puth’s conversational tone with the audience and the explanations he gave behind each song’s meaning were intriguing. He gripped the audience with his strong vocals and soft falsetto. He made the crowd love more than just his music. He set the bar high for the main act of the night.

When it was time for Shawn Mendes, he made his entrance memorable. The lights dimmed and a video clip came up on the main screen. Recordings of reporters’ voices came over the stereo. They all talked of the pop-sensation and his recent success.

Mendes rose from underneath the stage, with a single spotlight on him.

He opened his popular single, “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”. The colored strobe lights were flashing, the fans were cheering and the concert took off.

Mendes, wearing a patterned button down shirt and black skinny jeans, swooned the crowd, one love song after the next. Though, he never managed to get them on their feet.

A majority of the fans remained seated. “Sing along!” Mendes would say. They sang along.

“Wave your hands!” He directed the audience again. They waved their hands.

Mendes had to work to get the audience’s interaction. The show itself was not inclusive enough. Though his vocals were impressive and he never seemed to miss a note, Mendes lacked a personality on stage. He won the crowd over by singing his famous hits and going at it on his guitar.

He showed off his musical talent. Still, the crowd remained seated.  Even with the performance of “Ruin”, a heart wrenching song of his, Mendes, again, had to tell the crowd, “Get out those lights.”

Still, the fans remained seated.

His final song was not one of his hits, but he made it entertaining.  Mendes sang the last note of the night and said, “Thank you all so much,” and exited the stage. And that was it.

Mendes lacked what Puth so vibrantly showed: a personality and a connection with the audience. Puth drew us in with his gripping descriptions of the song and his casual conversations with the fans. Mendes, however, showed no sentimentality or gratitude toward the hundreds in attendance.

Perhaps, soon, Puth will be the main act. After that concert, it seemed he should have already been.