On Monday I shared all about the kiddie concerts we've been attending this summer, but sometimes you have to leave the kids at home and take advantage of the summer concerts that don't involve "Old MacDonald."
The San Diego Symphony hosts "Bayside Summer Nights." Which, as the name indicates, are summer concerts in the San Diego Bay. There's a range of performers who accompany the San Diego symphony, from Wynonna Judd to Tony Bennett. When I noticed that Leslie Odom Jr. was going to be performing this summer, I immediately marked it on my calendar to buy tickets just as soon as they went on sale.
For those of you who don't live in the world of Broadway theater, Mr. Odom is the actor who won the Tony Award for his portrayal of Aaron Burr in Hamilton. The role, and the critical acclaim attached to it, allowed him to pursue his singing career in a way he wasn't able to before. Albums and concerts lay before him, an open door to do what he truly loved. At least, that's they way he tells it.
It is a rare occasion that Thatboy and I are able to go out on a date night, most of our one-on-one time being relegated to days when we are both off from work and the kids are in preschool.
The venue for the summer concerts is one of my favorite aspects about it. Music on the bay is lovely. Boats drift in and bob gently against the shore, listening to the music.
While on the other side, you have the backdrop of the city. San Diego doesn't have the imposing skyline of New York or Chicago, but it's not a bad view.
The evening itself was completely enjoyable. In addition to listening to Leslie's voice, which is so unbelievably amazing, he kept us entertained with banter between numbers. Talking about his career, his aspirations, and of course, Hamilton. I'm too young to have ever attended concerts by any of the Rat Pack, but I would imagine the stage presence was similar. One of the highlights of the evening was when he brought his wife, actress Nicolette Robinson, on stage to sing with him. (It also made me feel incredibly old to realize we went to the same school, and she started after I was already married)
Thatboy loved that part too, because she also has a beautiful voice. Their daughter is probably going to open the heavens when she gets older and starts to sing.
He sang a mix of songs from Broadway and his albums, and ended the evening with a bang. Literally. Bayside Summer Nights ends with fireworks, and these were the perfect accompaniment to one show-stopping number.
To top off the evening, after the show, Leslie stuck around for a meet and greet with all his adoring fans. We waited in line for over an hour, but I can't complain because it wasn't like I had just spent the past two hours putting on a show. The man must have been exhausted. He looked tired. But he was sweet, and kind, and generous with his time. Plus, you make some pretty amazing friends standing in line for so long. I was sandwiched between a mother and daughter, and an adorable couple, and we passed the time talking to each other.
I don't have as many tips for grown up summer concerts. We sat in seats, so no blanket was necessary, although we did still bring snacks. Grown up drinks were had, the kind you don't share with your kids. And chips and dip took the place of cheese and crackers. This dip is intended to be served hot, but it works just as well cold. It was brought because it's a "grown up" dip, the inclusion of the spicy chipotle just doesn't fly with our kids. Which is fine, because it worked perfectly well with our grown up, no kids allowed, evening with stars under the stars.
Chipotle Black Bean Dip with Corn Chips (From Cooking Light)
6 corn tortillas
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 can black beans, undrained
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp crumbled queso fresco
1/3 cup canned no-salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- Preheat oven to 400. Cut each tortilla into 6 wedges. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
- Sprinkle with salt and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
- Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook 8 minutes or until tender.
- Add cumin and garlic. Cook 1 minute.
- Add oregano and beans and bring to a boil. Mash with a potato masher and reduce heat. Simmer 10 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally.
- Spoon bean mixture into a 3-cup gratin dish coated with cooking spray. Top with cheese. Bake for 12 minutes, until hot and bubbly.
- Combine tomatoes and chile in a food processor and process until smooth.
- Spoon tomato mixture over bean mixture and sprinkle with cilantro.