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Miguel is rarity on pop radar
By Ramiro Burr / San Antonio Express-News

He strode out on stage with a smooth and impeccable elegance Sunday night at the SBC Center and wasted little time in getting down to business.

Pop singer Luis Miguel's business is singing of inconsolable loss and heroic romance.

And business Sunday was good.

His flawless 11-man band performed like a powerful and well-oiled machine.

Miguel, with his dazzling smile, George Hamilton-tan, and that perfect hair was equal to the task. His emotive tenor wailed away to lyrics about pain and hope. The tunes were mostly from his latest album, "33."

His opening set was an excellent choice. First, a soulful pop ballad "Vuelve," on how dark the skies can be without a companion; "Amor, Amor, Amor," a celebration of first love; and "Ahora Que Te Vas," describing the fear of being abandoned.

Even more impressive, Miguel was completely "on" Sunday, unlike previous tours. "On" as in giving 120 percent from the moment he got to center stage. Performing as if he had something to prove, he was sweating profusely by the second number.

The stage featured three huge screens that alternated between shots of ocean waves, cloudy skies and close-ups of the singer, which drove the hardcore fans crazy.

Relentless in his approach, Miguel plowed into the nugget "Perfidia," a where-are-you-now bluesy lament and tore into the thrilling "Eres" and the melancholy "Devuelveme," also from his latest CD.

He kept up the fever pitch with the gorgeous boleros "Por Abajo de La Mesa," and "No Se Tu," and surpassed himself with a tortured reading on the moving, "Un Te Amo." This was the moment where the perfect performance came together with beautiful songs, a first-rate band, and an inspiring singer.

Sunday night, Miguel demonstrated why he is a rarity in today's pop radar. He's more urbane that Alejandro Fernandez, classier than Cristian Castro, and as a pure singer, infinitely more talented that Ricky Martin and even Juan Gabriel.

He is a superstar in a cynical age where the boleros' noble and romantic sentiments seem quaint. But when he performs them, he injects new readings with an intensity that inspires. He hasn't always made smart choices in his material. Some say he relied too much on his bolero tributes (four CDs and counting).

But in his live shows, Miguel usually delivers the goods. The goods defined as a potent mix of power, grace and inspiration.

He revisited his past when he performed his touchstones "Entregate," and "La Incondicional," and his end run featured a few more boleros including "La Media Vuelta," and "Amorcito Corazon."

Even at 33, Miguel showed us that he's still a young lion with a long run ahead of him.