SAN ANTONIO, Texas — All of a sudden, San Antonio went deaf with the shrill chorus of screaming Mahomies. But it wasn’t because Austin Mahone or British openers The Vamps were onstage – that would come later. Nope, just a regular-looking gray-haired dude in a blue polo walked to his seat on the floor of the Freeman Coliseum.
I had to ask why everyone was freaking out, so I turned to the girls behind me.
“That’s Austin’s grandpa!” cried one Mahomie. Baffled, I wondered how anyone even knew what Austin Mahone’s grandfather even looked like.
“I’m a huge Mahomie,” she answered, as if that explained everything. And I suppose it did. Austin’s Aunt Lisa was there, too, I was informed.
Austin Mahone kicked off the beginning of his very own tour Friday night (July 25) in his hometown, where idol and fans alike soaked up every ounce of that Texas pride. Toting signs saying “Where It All Began,” fans from age 9 to the dads that brought them came out to support their hometown hero, who won MTV’s VMA for Artist to Watch last year.
But first, the 18-year-old singer had a hefty group of openers ahead of him, including YouTube star Shawn Mendes, who started everything off with a few songs on his guitar. Fifth Harmony, who are up for this year’s Artist to Watch VMA, amped up the attitude with “Bo$$.” They also busted out some new tunes (and some dance moves I never knew they had).
The Vamps got so sweaty onstage playing songs like “Somebody to You” that Brad threw his towel out to the crowd. (Unknowingly, Austin would later pull the same trick.) The British band brought the energy and took a bit of a fancy **British voice** to Texas, admitting that they already got used to the heat.
And while Austin grew up with the 100-degree summers at the southern tip of Texas, he wasted no time lifting up his shirt to fan himself off at the top of his set. With a sexy, industrial, spy-themed video to jumpstart his portion of the night, Mahone looked aggressive, his brows furrowed and fists clenched. But as he looked up (cue the screams), he smiled, walked to center stage and basked in the first night of the long tour ahead.
He had his own shiny, red microphone, which he used to sing hits like “Banga, Banga,” “Say You’re Just A Friend” and “Say Something,” stopping once in a while to rile up the crowd with a slo-mo hand-through-hair move. He catered to the teen girls, asking for single ladies. After covering John Legend’s “All of Me,” he nearly went grocery shopping for a lady in the audience.
“How ‘bout this one?” he asked his dancers (who, by the way, were phenomenal). “She’s cute… or how about that girl with the sign?” Unfortunately for the rest of the Coliseum, a lucky girl named Destiny was chosen to sit in front of everyone while Austin sang “U,” granting her with mauling bear hugs and hand holding. As the song wound down, he and Destiny pranced offstage and he looked back at us with a wink (age-appropriate innuendo?). They locked eyes, doors closed and the lights went off.
Of course, Austin couldn’t end the show without “What About Love” and “MMM Yeah,” but first, he wanted to pay tribute to his country roots with a George Strait cover. Which, by the way, can we just pause to watch this video of 3-year-old Austin pretending he’s George Strait with no pants on?
Mahone donned a cowboy hat – it belonged to his dad, who died when he was a baby. He traded in his baggy leather pants, put on some jeans and sat on a stool under the spotlight. His dancers slinked away to the back. And as he started strumming the first chords of “Check Yes or No,” Grandpa and Aunt Lisa stood up, declaring themselves anchors in a sea of Mahomies.