Miguel at Terminal 5
“Is he even real?!” a petite woman gushes to the concertgoer next to her.
“Honestly, I doubt it. Humans don’t have voices that godly,” her friend replies, never averting her eyes from the explosive performance in front of her.
Miguel's irresistibly rich and compelling voice seems far too powerful to fit neatly within his modest 5’7’’ frame. What the L.A.-bred R&B singer lacks in his lower register, he makes up for in his fluttering falsetto and passionate, emotive delivery.
His presence on the famed Terminal 5 stage is commanding and all-consuming, effectively capturing and sustaining the attention of his audience for the entire night. Despite having been on tour for several weeks before his show in New York City, there was not a single hint of fatigue in his voice as he sang through nearly two full hours of material. That’s not to say he sounded robotic or overproduced; strains of raw emotion were present in the occasional vibrato and ad-libs he infused into his songs. He struck a rare and difficult balance between singing with a bold, impassioned fervor and adhering to the rules of music theory, conveying emotion without ever straying from the key at hand.
At certain points during the show, he would simply riff vocally with minimal instrumentation, showing off his impressive register. While these bits were clearly meant to serve as planned interludes within a much larger, well-rehearsed production, they felt earnest and offhand in the moment. Whether or not his meandering vocal tangents had been practiced ad-nauseum before the concert was of no concern to his adoring crowd, as they were all too entranced by his vocal chops to care about technicalities. His particular brand of spontaneity is confident and controlled.
His Sunday night performance was characterized by a bottomless supply of soul and a prevalent rock influence. Backed by a full band and equipped with an electric guitar, Miguel fused R&B and classic rock seamlessly. Draped in a bold, feathered leather jacket and clutching his signature fringe microphone stand, he had no intentions of coming across as understated or effortless.
The theatrics of Miguel’s show were not limited to his outfit choices, as they bled into the intricate visual designs on the screen behind him and the stiff and contrived speeches he delivered between songs. He dedicated a sizeable portion of his show to preaching about self-love and independent thinking. Although he did seem genuinely invested in what he was saying, his musings came across as campy and cliche.
"There are so many opinions out there. You know what I say to all that? I say, fuck all that. You see, I know and I believe that there will only ever be one, and there has only ever been one, and there is only ever gonna be one of you, ever," he preaches dramatically while perched up on a riser. "Why conform to someone else's ideas of what you should be? Society will tell you that normal is one thing, and I don't believe that.. Normality is what you think it is.”
A common theme throughout his performance was the promotion of positivity and self-expression. While the songs he chose to play spanned a wide variety of topics ranging from love to drug use, he took special care to include feel-good odes to individualism such as “What’s Normal Anyways?”
Miguel’s New York stop on his Wildheart Tour, while heavily rehearsed and lacking in spur-of-the-moment excitement, was a larger-than-life spectacle that showcased his impressive vocal abilities and showmanship.