For nearly 100 years, the Greek Theatre has hosted some of the most legendary artists in music history, and on Wednesday night, a modest singer by the name Miguel added his name to that lengthy list. (Kenan Draughorne | Daily Trojan)
Serenading a sold-out crowd for two hours on a crisp September night, the artist was in top form as he ran through hits both old and new, taking the time to interact with the crowd and provide backstories to some of his most popular songs.
The duality found in much of Miguel’s catalogue was strong throughout the night. One moment, he was the noble preacher spreading messages of unity and offering words of motivation; the next, he was the mischievous devil backed by sensual projections and gyrating dancers.
Miguel fit both personalities into his recent hit “Come Through and Chill,” as he introduced it with an extended monologue about the grueling process of creating the track with Salaam Remi, and how it reminded him of the importance of pushing through whatever roadblocks are in one’s path. By the end of the song, however, he was leading the crowd in a call and response chant of “I want to f*ck all night,” before jokingly chastising the audience for “being too nasty.”
There was a time when the “Sky Walker” singer was marketed as the next rising R&B crooner, sliding into the hearts of listeners across the country with soulful ballads such as “Adorn” and “How Many Drinks.” Watching him headbang to electric guitars and rousing drums from atop his white staircase was enthralling; however, it is all too easy to forget such a moment existed. Even when he played his slower songs on Wednesday night, many of them received the rock ‘n’ roll treatment with a more aggressive soundscape, as he added a fiery energy through his movements as well.
Before Miguel took the stage, R&B duo Dvsn stuck to a smoother, softer aura during their set. Kicking off their time with their sparse, downtempo song “Too Deep,” they were supported by a trio of singers dressed in all black who fostered the passionate vocals from lead singer Daniel Daley.
While the opener’s low-energy setlist made for a relatively dull atmosphere compared to the night’s headliner, Daley certainly pulled out all the stops to resonate with the crowd, dropping to his knees as he belted out the high notes during their final song.
While Daley had to go the extra mile to solidify that crowd, Miguel’s set felt virtually effortless. At one point looking to unearth the true, original “Wildhearts” in the venue, he ran through a montage of his earlier songs, challenging the audience to sing the lyrics themselves. When met with whispered attempts and nervous laughter, he was unfazed; he eventually moved on to a different song and attempted the same strategy.
Over time, though, the songs became more familiar: Loud cheers erupted when he launched into “Quickie,” while over half of the crowd sang along with “Vixen” at the top of their lungs.
His faultless stage presence was the true star of the evening; he was captivating to watch throughout his allotted time. Even when some of the crowd rested in their seats during lesser-known songs, he was just as animated, maintaining a veteran swagger with the hunger of an artist getting his first major look. After attempting to end the show with “Sky Walker,” continued cheers from the crowd drew him out for an encore, compelling him to perform “P-ssy is Mine” for his dedicated fans.
Not every artist is able to hold their own through such a lengthy set. But for an artist like Miguel, this talent was never in question.