Heading for the West gate entrance now.
3:35 p.m. — The scene is near pandemonium down in the chutes used to house the calf ropers. But just moments ago nearly 200 Mahone fans, mostly teenagers and preteens and a few parents, were waiting to scramble for seats right near the stage on the dirt floor of the AT&T Center.
They paid $200 a seat to be there. It was totally worth it, they said.
Lori Lambert brought her 13-year-old daughter all the way from Sicklerville, NJ to see this show. “Just to see their smiling faces is enough for me,” said Lambert. Both she and her daughter had never been to a rodeo.
“It’s cool,” said Ashley.
He opened with his hit “Say Somethin’”
“Just last year I was up in the audience,” Mahone said. “You all make me feel so welcome. I love you guys so much.”
3:53 p.m. — Mahone is showing off his R&B and rapping skills to great effect. He’s down at the fence line of the rodeo and causing fans to go wild. The spontaneous screams aren’t unlike those that went up for Justin Bieber here last month. Little girls reach out to touch him.
3:56 p.m. — Mahone just brought a young female fan onstage. He’s singing right to her. The song: “When You Look Me in the Eyes” by the Jonas Brothers. It’s a dreamy moment as he hugs her.
4 p.m. — This is about as quiet as it’s gonna get with young fans wishing they were onstage on the rotating stage.
4:01 p.m. — “11:11? is creating a wave.
4:05 p.m. — He’s having a little bit of trouble getting a singalong on “11:11.” Now, there’s a search for “the biggest Mahomies fan.” Mahone just broke into “Happy Birthday” for reasons unknown.
4:09 p.m. Mahone doesn’t play guitar much onstage anymore, but his dance moves are passable and his persona has improved since moving to Miami. He’s more seasoned as he sings of his “dreams coming true.”
4:10 p.m. — Gave a shout-out to his best friend, Alex. “This is a blessing for me,” Mahone said.
4:12 p.m. — Mahone about to sing his first YouTube cover song, “Beautiful Soul.” He’s got his guitar. “I like those posters,” he said. “That’s awesome.”
“Beautiful Soul” is the first pure pop song of the night, again indicative of the probable direction of his upcoming album “Junior Year,” which will be more dance and R&B and hip-hop oriented. But he’s sweet, talented and effective in singer-songwriter mode. He followed it with Mario’s “Let Me Love You.”
4:20 p.m. — He’s teasing the crowd by stopping and starting the song.
4:26 p.m. Mahone’s DJ’s (Xavier) question to the fans: “Can we party?” The answer is, yes. Sunday’s rodeo show is one of the series most energetic shows ever — at least in recent memory. Though this writer does recall a particularly rowdy Wayne Newton concert one rodeo Sunday.
4:34 p.m. — This is the concert debut of “Say You’re Just a Friend,” the new single with Flo Rida. Judging from the screams and the dancing and waving, this is a hit. Mahone worked his stage and dance moves.
4:39 p.m. — “I love you from my heart. Peace,” said Mahone. He’s making his round giving high fives to fans from back of a pickup truck.