Luis Miguel, Going Heavy on the Ear Candy

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The appeal of many-times-platinum, Mexican-bred crooner Luis Miguel was perfectly embodied by the loudest, most enthusiastic fan at his performance at the Patriot Center on Tuesday night: a bubbly blonde waving a sign reading "GRINGAS LOVE LUIS."

The 35-year-old Grammy winner's often tepid style of Latin easy listening is inoffensive enough to attract a wide variety of admirers. The mainstays responsible for Miguel's perpetually furrowed brow and strained neck cords are heartfelt ballads and up-tempo pop tunes that lean heavily on the menthol-cool tones of the soprano saxophone for depth.

But although Miguel performed tender boleros such as "Usted" and "La Barca" from his 1991 album "Romance," as well as numbers with peppy arrangements that recalled '80s television theme songs, such as "Que Nivel De Mujer" and "Con tus Besos," he focused on material from last year's "Mexico en la Piel," his impressive first foray into mariachi music.

While syrupy tunes have always provided a fair platform for Miguel's soulful voice, his timbre is more powerful on classic rancheras such as "El Viajero" and "Mi Ciudad," which Miguel added to the newly released, enhanced "edicion diamante" of "Mexico en la Piel." And Miguel's version of the standard "Que Seas Feliz" was a far better tribute to composer Consuelo Velazquez than his cover of "Besame Mucho."

Unfortunately, Miguel circled back to the sugary stuff toward the end of his 90-minute set. And, despite his best efforts as a vocalist, as well as such interesting distractions as a relentless stream of confetti in Mexico's national colors of green, white and red, lightweight dinner-cruise tunes such as "Eres" provided a disappointing close.

-- Sarah Godfrey

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