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Review: Miguel returns to Boston for sold out show

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Review: Miguel returns to Boston for sold out show

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Photos by Alex Melagrano

By Alex Melagrano, news staff 

Solo artist Miguel made his first appearance in Boston since 2015 Monday night, but his sold-out show at the House of Blues indicated he is nowhere close to being forgotten. On tour for his latest album “War & Leisure,” Miguel’s eclectic blend of R&B, funk and pop is back and better than ever.

“War & Leisure” marks a noticeable turning point for Miguel’s musical career.  While much of the singer’s previous works like “Sure Thing” and “Adorn” have focused solely on love and lust, here he takes a subtle approach to weaving his political beliefs into his music.

On “Come Through and Chill,” he pivots from referencing Colin Kaepernick’s NFL protests to inviting an old fling over for the night. On the album’s opening track, “Criminal,” he transitions from descriptions of reckless love to references of gun violence in schools.

Across the album, Miguel paints a picture of the delicate balance of love, strife, oppression and desire, and how even among chaos there exists a certain purity surrounding the intimacy between two people: Essentially, the dichotomy of war and leisure.

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This concept was evident from the start of his performance, as he started the show off with a brief documentary on oppression in the United States before appearing on stage in a cloud of smoke. Every area of floor space on all three levels of the venue quickly erupted into cheers as his silhouette stood beside the mic, holding his position steady. With the instrumentals of a song periodically fading in and out, it was almost as if the sensual R&B singer was teasing the audience with his performance, dangling it in front of their faces.

Amidst a flurry of smoke, flashing lights and effortless dance moves, Miguel kicked off the night with “Criminal.” Not long after, his hit “How Many Drinks?” — featured on “Kaleidoscope Dreams” — had everyone in the building blissfully swaying back and forth. Even after a few minutes, it became clear why the line at the door had extended all the way down Lansdowne Street prior to the show.

From coolly swinging the mic stand across the stage to cheering the crowd on as they sang along to choruses, it was evident that Miguel genuinely enjoys what he does. Emitting traces of Prince and Freddie Mercury — fittingly, some of his musical influences — Miguel captivated and hypnotized the crowd for his entire set, heating up Boston on a cold winter night.  

 

 

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Review: Miguel returns to Boston for sold out show