Helaine and I were the lucky tag-a-longs with my cousins the “Original Irvine Foxes™” and our friends Farrell and Vered¹ for a Saturday night grown-up date night. We had Italian at Angelina’s (real Italians from Italy — not an easy find here) then headed to the FIVEPOINTS Amphitheater to see Kevin Hart. The amphitheater is a temporary 12,000 open air venue adjacent to Irvine’s Great Park (the former El Toro Marine Air Station).
If I knew about the Kevin Hart tickets before yesterday that thought was long forgotten by Saturday afternoon.
I was ambivalent. I’d seen him on TV, probably grazed one-or-two of his movies on cable and decided, “Meh.” He was loud and profane and super egotistical. That’s how I judged him. And I was worried a large part of the show would be about a black experience I only know from reading.
The guy who came up on stage was a father, husband and maker of decisions good and bad. More than that, he was a great storyteller. This was not setup/punchline/repeat. Kevin Hart is a monologist. He took us into his life warts and all. He is a charming, thoughtful, flawed man.
The cursing I worried about was dolloped on heavy. I can see how some (many) people might be put off by this. I heard it from our friends. In the end content trumped shock for me. Your tolerance may very.
Kevin Hart did an hour ten minute set (I’ll have to ask, but I suspect there’s a 10:00 PM curfew for the venue) and was funny for all seventy minutes. Before he left he mentioned how he always made Irvine a part of his tour. He’ll be back. Hopefully me too.
If I would have gone with my gut (and had a choice) I would have passed up this show. I had no choice, luckily.
Additional note: I have never heard better sound in a concert venue. I would recommend this place for any show.
¹ The term is not really trademarked, but my cousins are well known and liked wherever they go.