Saturday Night: Luis Miguel At Toyota Center

Luis Miguel Toyota Center June 12, 2011

It's 9:10 p.m. and Luis Miguel struts onstage, all smiles and ego. He's 40 minutes late but nobody, including him, seems to notice.

He launches into "Te Propongo Esta Noche" backed by a band that's got a full horn section of three saxes, three trumpets and two trombones, two drum sets, a percussionist, and two keyboardists, two backup singers... and two Men in Black security guards (more on them later).

Luis Miguel sings ballads, boleros, and "satin pop," - that's smooth Latin pop, kinda like smooth jazz, only not really. Btw, Aftermath just made that term up, so if anybody else uses it, we expect royalties.

Miguel runs through his hits like "Tres Palabras" from his self-titled 2010 release, and classics like "Cuando Calienta el Sol." Clad in a business suit and tie, he sounds a little sharp to us, but then again, he always does. It's more just his style than a mistake; he has an easy swing that makes familiar, overdone tunes like "Sin Ti" sound fresh.

Miguel puts on a classy, understated performance. He spends very little time talking to the audience, aside from a few shouts of "arriba Houston" and "gracias." Instead he runs through song after song for an hour and a half. He's confident, supremely self-assured and adored by fans. Every smile and fist pump gets a roar in response.

There were a couple of odd spots in the show.

Weird Moment No. 1: At one point in the show, Miguel sings a "Come Fly with Me" duet with Frank Sinatra, using video clips of Sinatra projected on the screen behind him. It's a strange choice. Miguel might see himself as a Mexican Sinatra, but he lacks the tough-guy swagger and street cred that Sinatra had. Miguel also has more of a Sammy Davis, Jr. body type.

Besides that, singing "Come Fly with Me" with clips of Ol' Blue Eyes isn't going to win Miguel a younger demographic or much of a crossover audience. While Miguel has plenty of teen fans, there was a noticeable lack of non-Hispanics in Saturday's crowd. In Europe and Asia, he's got fans of all backgrounds, in the U.S., he hasn't expanded his core audience past Hispanics.

Weird Moment No. 2: Whenever Miguel leaned over the edge of the stage to shake hands with fans in the first few rows, one of his Men in Black security guys would rush up behind him, flip up Miguel's coattails and reach in to grab him by the belt to keep him from being pulled into the audience. What a gig.

A 6', 200-pound black guy wearing an impeccably tailored suit and black sunglasses, grabbing a famous singer by the back of the pants in front of thousands of people makes for an odd job description.

Personal Bias: Multimillionaires in business suits belong in offices, not onstage shaking their ass and blowing kisses to tarty grandmothers.

The Crowd: Multi-generational Latinos ... with a distinct liking for tight, shiny clothes.

Overheard In the Crowd: "Did he really date Mariah Carey?" "Yeah, but I think Tommy Mottola made him."

Random Notebook Dump: Is Luis actually playing air guitar onstage? And biting his bottom lip for emphasis?

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Olivia Flores Alvarez