Only a couple days after Solange played in Amsterdam, Miguel was ready to perform. And perform, he did. Taking lessons from great performers as Prince, Michael Jackson and Usher, he put on a good -not perfect- show. But the crowd (at least 80% were women) seemed to love every minute of it.
One hour later than scheduled, Miguel finally took the stage. Wearing a leather jacket and sunglasses, he opened with the bass-heavy Sure Thing from Miguel’s first album, All I Want Is You. The band and the lights on stage made it come across chaotic. There was no real build-up to a chorus or any other sort of climax. It felt like going from zero to sixty in exactly 0.1 seconds. At the half of the first song, Miguel was on his knees, giving his all. If you think Usher spends too much time on stage without a shirt on, don’t even consider going to a Miguel concert. After three songs his jacket was off and his shirt was open. It only took one more song for him to be half naked on stage. And the crowd loved it. Don’t get me wrong, I love an artist who gives everything on stage, but I’d appreciate it more if it felt more sincere. Most of the time, everything Miguel did -the going down on his knees, the little dance moves with his feet, the dressing down- felt like an act.1
It took around 45 minutes before we could get a glimpse of the real human being behind Miguel’s stage persona. During Candles in the Sun, which he called “the most important song” on Kaleidoscope Dream, Miguel’s voice and words were what mattered the most, not the lighting, drums or his physique. After asking the people in the sold-out Paradiso to put their phones and cameras away, Miguel sat down on the stage and just sung the beautiful written2 song. He delivered the words of the hook (“Diamonds in the back, babies on crack / Kick in the door, wavin’ the 4-4”) with emotion and power. After that, the first notes of Adorn made the fans go crazy. While Miguel just stood on stage with his earpiece out, the crowd sang the chorus incredibly loud. You could tell he was enjoying the moment. To Miguel’s disappointment, the reaction to his part on Wale’s Flowerbomb was anything but loud. I have to admit I don’t know the words of that song either, while singing along to Adorn is not a problem.
Miguel’s first show in Amsterdam could definitively be considered a success. Even though it could be improved (a little more balance in the songs, a better build-up and -I know ladies won’t agree with me- a little more clothing), it had me convinced of Miguel’s talents. If he keeps working like this, he will come closer to his inspirers.
- I have this same feeling of ‘acting’ when watching Beyoncé perform live (or lip-sync, for that matter). Of course, almost every singer acts while performing. If you do the same show night after night, you have to. Let’s just say some singers are better at acting than others. ↩
- Social commentary AND quoting Biggie on the same track? Count me in. ↩