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Luis Miguel can still make Houston swoon


Luis Miguel is still all tan and teeth and hair. And that voice. That astonishingly powerful voice.

When he uttered the first few words -- "Cada mañana al despertar" – of opening song "Si Te Vas" during Sunday night's show at Toyota Center, it was like a boom of thunder and a clap of lightning. There are few singers in any language who measure up to his power, both as a vocalist and lyrical interpreter.

He took a moment to soak in the love as soon as he walked onstage, outstretching his arms and pointing upward to pump up the volume as cameras panned to the audience. It set an enthusiastic tone for the show, which ran more than two hours.

Luis Miguel began as a child star and has released two dozen albums across 36 years, with nary a dip in his career. He's currently the subject of a weekly series on Telemundo, "Luis Miguel: La Serie," that pulls the curtain back on his personal life.

But the crowd was there for the music. They knew every lyric, sometimes completely overtaking songs. But it's to Luis Miguel's credit that he maintained control of every moment.

He wailed beautifully on "Tu Solo Tu" before handing "Amor, amor, amor" over to the fans. They were loud, lively and frequently on their feet, from couples to swooning women to grandmothers.

When he launched into gorgeous ballads "Por Debajo de la Mesa," the entire stadium seemed to sigh in unison. It was a vocal master class.

"Que maravilla, que energía!" he told the crowd. ("What a wonder, what energy!")

Sound issues popped up intermittently, but he handled it like a pro. During "Culpable o No," he frequently cued the crew, tapping his in-ear monitors and eventually hitting his hand atop the microphone. Once the song ended and the lights went dark, he left the stage for a few minutes and returned with a corded microphone, his voice thundering through a medley that incuded "Amante del Amor" and "Tengo Todo Excepto a Ti."

He was joined by a sublime 14-piece mariachi for one of the set's liveliest sequences, a nod to current album "¡México por siempre!" The crowd sang along, again, and rallied behind older songs "La Bikina" and "Sabes una Cosa" before breaking into a chant of "Mexico! Mexico!" It felt like love and pride and, in this moment in time, a bit like revolution.

He cruised through a medley of uptempo early hits – "Suave," "Decídete," "Los Muchachos de Hoy," "Isabel," "Cuando Calienta el Sol" – at the end of the night that had women literally squealing in delight. And instead of a quick goodbye, he spent several minutes shaking hands, tossing white flowers to fans and flashing that signature smile. Even if it wasn't a holiday weekend, no one would have likely minded.