February 16, 2010 | 9:00am
Fairchild Tropical Garden, Miami
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Better Than: Being stuck in an elevator.
Hialeah's own golden boy Jon Secada, the famed Miami crooner known for his dentist office waiting-room standards like "Just Another Day," "Angel," and "If You Go," performed at the beautiful Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens on Sunday Night. It was a well-attended Valentine's Day concert under the colorfully lit palms.
Lovers of all ages cuddled close in the crisp night air, covering the main lawn with their picnic blankets and folding chairs, sipping on wine or hot cocoa. The mood was festive on this mandated eve of romance, and what better singer to set the scene than Mr. Smooth? Born in Cuba, but raised in Miami, the Grammy award-winning U.M. music school jazz grad/pop singer/Broadway star/songwriter returned to his roots, playing straight-ahead renditions of his classic hits, as well as new jazzy material off his recent release, Expressions.
Between songs, Secada spent a lot of time talking in a husky voice about the beginnings of his career, his collaborations with some of Latin pop's biggest names, and a phone call from Frank Sinatra. Apparently he got his major break touring as a backing vocalist with Gloria Estefan, one of the artists for whom he routinely wrote songs. Others on that list include Ricky Martin, Mandy Moore, and Jennifer Lopez.
Secada proved he's still a big draw here. The cheapest, general admission tickets were $75, and VIP tickets, which included a seated dinner, sold out at $150 a pop.
Personal Bias: The jazz thing sounds good, Jon, but I'm telling you, the crowd would go nuts if you busted out with the album versions.
Random Detail: Beware of the drunken single uber-cougars. Jon Secada music on Valentine's Day is like female Viagra. It's not a pretty sight.
By the Way: Fairchild is even better during the day. The 83-acre tropical paradise is a unique wonder, and definitely worthy of a visit, especially this time of year.