To warm up before he sings one song on the Oscars on Sunday, R&B star Miguel performed a nearly two-hour concert Friday night at the sold-out Palace Theatre in St. Paul.
Miguel, 32, is an exciting performer, with dazzling moves inspired in part by Michael Jackson, Prince and James Brown. He has a pliable, soulful voice. Throw in his electric smile, and he’s magnetic onstage.
However, his music isn’t as exciting as he is. Cast as a sexy soul man early in his career on the strength of his gorgeously seductive hit “Adorn,” he is now favoring a heavier, denser sound. Think more rock than soul.
Plus Miguel has remade his image from an abs-revealing custom-made fringed leather suit in 2015, in his last Twin Cities appearance at the State Theatre, to his off-the-rack parachute pants and a series of T-shirts from his merch stand Friday at the Palace.
Even if the music didn’t groove much, the crowd of club-loving millennials seemed enthusiastic throughout the 110-minute performance. They responded to Miguel’s spoken explanation of how to approach life: smoking weed, meditating and making love (though he used a term we don’t print in the paper). Then he taught them his mantra: “Splish splish.”
Miguel had a cool stage with a slanted ramp attached to a tall riser, with lights beaming out from all over the setup.
With many songs drawn from his not overly familiar December release “War and Leisure” (his fourth album), the long show lacked momentum. Still, there were highlights along the way, including the rock-funk dance “Waves” and the dreamy, ballad-y “Do You Like Drugs,” with its high coo ending.
The set did not include his Oscar-nominated Disney/Pixar song “Remember Me” from the film “Coco.” The movie is animated and Miguel’s music at the Palace was not.