Music Reviews

Posted: Mon., Sep. 22, 1997, 11:00pm PT

Luis Miguel

(Universal Amphitheater; 6,251 seats; $35 top)

Promoted by Universal Concerts.
Band: Kiko Cibrian, Victor Loyo, Francisco Loyo, Gerardo Carillo, Arturo Perez, Antonio Gonzalez, Tommy Aros, Jeff Nathanson, Alejandro Carballo, Francisco Abonce, Juan Arpero Ramirez.
Luis Miguel delivered a powerful and inspiring performance Friday at the Universal Amphitheater, seemingly packing every song contained in his 16 albums worth of material into the 2 1/2-hour showcase.

But despite passionate readings, a million-dollar smile and hip movements that were met with screams of deafening decibels from the mostly female audience, Miguel rarely looked his audience in the eye or otherwise connected with the sold-out house. Even the huge video screens that flanked the stage offered mostly profile shots of the at times charismatic singer.

Sporting an impeccably tailored black suit and backed by an 11-member band --- which included immensely talented saxman Jeff Nathanson --- Miguel roared through the Spanish-language ballads that have made him an international superstar and the unchallenged king of the Latin pop world.

Miguel is mostly unfamiliar to Anglo audiences despite owning the 14th best-selling pop album ("Romances") in the nation last week. He rarely ventured from center stage and frequently resorted to medleys in order to perform the numerous nuggets contained in his extensive repertoire, but his passion for the material was palpable.

Miguel, who on such numbers as "Luz Verde" is reminiscent of a Latin Al Jarreau through the song's jazz-inspired arrangement and his silky vocals, was also impressive with his effortlessly hit high notes and top-drawer vocal phrasings. The set also drew from tracks off his recently released WEA Latina disc "Romances," which this tour is supporting.

Though Miguel could have peppered the set with more tempo or funk-filled tunes such as "Que Nivel De Mujer" or "Sera Que No Me Amas," other familiar tunes such as "Que Tu Te Vas," a soaring ballad with its extended high notes, and the disc's single, "For Debajo de la Mesa," were among the set's many high points.

Reviewed Sep. 19, 1997.

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