Miguel makes his Austin City Limits debut

 All images by Scott Newton for Austin City Limits

All images by Scott Newton for Austin City Limits

Over the last few years, Miguel has emerged as one of R&B’s most exciting and successful artists. From his breakthrough second album, Kaleidoscope Dream to his latest, War & Leisure he has garnered both commercial success and critical acclaim. This has culminated with his most extensive tour to date (The Ascension Tour with DVSN), a performance of his duet “Remember Me” from Coco with Natalia Lafourcade at this years Oscars, and reached yet another milestone with last night’s debut on the longest running show on television, Austin City Limits

The importance of appearing on the show was not lost on Miguel, who like many artists that are fortunate enough to perform on it, mentioned how he grew up watching Austin City Limits as a child and genuinely thanked the producers and staff of the show throughout the night for having him. He kicked off the evening by triumphantly entering the stage in a grey trench coat, grabbing his mic stand, and launching into “Criminal” while using the stand as an instrument while he rocked from one side of the stage to the other. It’s no surprise that his performances are high energy and he flowed through songs in the most masterful way with little to no breaks in between. When Miguel did slow things down, it was to put the meaning of the songs into perspective, which is where he shined brightest.

SNP_2107v1.jpg

He took his first opportunity to do so by delving into his bi-ethnic heritage, how his father moved from Mexico to Inglewood California and met his mother in high school, and all of the subsequent challenges his family went through for him to have gotten to this point. It was a poignant moment, and he talked about how he writes songs based on these experiences, before cheekily leading into the next song, Do You... ( like drugs) which lead to a chorus of laughter. It was a lighter moment, but the message wasn’t lost, and he touched on his roots later on before an acoustic portion of the set with “Now” which was one of the more subtle but inspiring parts of the performance. 

In it he talked about how growing up in California during a time where race relations between Mexicans and African Americans were at an all-time low, how he struggled with his identity, and the exhaustive process of trying to act like one side more than the other while hanging out with respective groups of friends. This not only made him realize that it was an unproductive way to go through life but helped him make the conscious decision to be his whole self unapologetically—how everyone should ride their wave before launching into “Waves” and coercing everyone in the crowd to sing along. From that point, it was a celebration of his “greatest hits” to date bringing the crowd to a frenzy with favorites “Come Through and Chill,” “Nasty,” and “Pineapple Skies.”

SNP_1957v1.jpg

Once the energy in the room was at a fever pitch, he closed the evening with his most successful song to date “Skywalker” which brought the crowd to its feet and demonstrated his connection with his band at its fullest. They all jumped and gyrated across the stage in unison as the crowd screamed along while Miguel demanded “You gotta stay up!” to the loyal fans. He closed the evening from there despite pleas for an encore, but that honestly wasn’t necessary he had already given the best of himself at that point.

You can catch Miguel on The Ascension Tour right now (TICKETS) and watch his Austin City Limits debut this fall. Please follow @ACLTV for air dates.