Shawn Mendes and Alessia Cara Bring their Heartfelt Power Pop to Oakland

in SF Concert Reviews by

I don’t know what they’re putting in the water in Canada these days, but whatever it is, our neighbors up North have been popping out quality pop stars left and right. We’ve seen Beiber, Drake, the Weeknd, Carly Rae Jepsen all come out of that region, and now, two new young up-and-comers: Alessia Cara and Shawn Mendes.

Both made a stop in Oakland last night as part of their latest tour that goes simply by the name “Shawn Mendes: The Tour.” It was a show that, much to my surprise, was promoted almost a year ago, but proved to be a successful marketing tactic considering the completely filled venue.

First up was Alessia Cara. The petite brunette with the perfect dimples was phenomenal. Jumping around the stage she captivated her audience by stringing a series of hits that included “Stay,” “Here,” and “Wild Things.” She did take a pause to address her fans for “Scars to the Beautiful,” where she relayed the song’s message of self-love and acceptance. The positivity radiated through the venue and was welcomed by the mostly tweenish female audience.

Mendes was up next, and just like Bieber, comes from a new generation of artists who first came to prominence through social media. Using Vine and a few covers Mendes managed to turn that success into three albums that have all debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart in the US.

He played most if not all the hits found on those records, dressed in a torn-sleeved fuschia dress shirt, with tight black jeans and coiffed a la Elvis with a pompadour. With every wink and slight smile, dramatic sighs echoed throughout the arena as the ladies swooned endlessly at the pop crooner.

The stage was equally captivating with a giant white rose planted in the center of it. Quite possibly a romantic gesture to Mendes’ throng of adoring fans. Or maybe it was meant for his newest flame Camila Cabello, who was sitting next to the mixing board singing along to all the songs. I guess we’ll never know…

Photos by Louis Raphael

Having released albums under Digital Nations, a label founded by Steve Vai, music critic Louis Raphael has remained deeply connected to the pulse of the San Francisco music scene. Following his tenure as the San Francisco Music Examiner for and, he embarked on creating Music in SF® to authentically highlight the vibrant offerings of the city's music scene.

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