The concert goers -- dressed in classic SoCal casual flip-flops, shorts, jeans and maxi-dresses -- crowded around the stage on the Birch Aquarium's outdoor Tide Pool Plaza perched on a bluff over the ocean in La Jolla.
They stood, swayed and sang along as folk musician/bard Steve Poltz entertained them with his classic cult hits and humor-laced brand of improvised song smithing and storytelling.
He opened his set with "Shine On", a new song he wrote while visiting Encinitas earlier this summer. The Canadian-born Poltz knows how to play to the locals because he considers himself one. He regaled the crowd with stories from his checkered academic past - how he followed his older brother to San Diego State University and lasted there for two years, then bounced between Grossmont and Mesa colleges before finally graduating from University of San Diego in his mid-20s.
While at SDSU, he worked at a pizza parlor until he was fired by the manager who told him, "You are an entertainer, not a pizza maker." Poltz said the manager helped him realize his true calling.
As the sun set behind frothy gray cumulus clouds skimming the ocean's surface, Poltz pointed Smokey Joe (his guitar) toward the horizon. "This is my favorite place to perform," he said.
His performance at the Green Flash Concert Series at Birch Aquarium at Scripps -- the public outreach center for Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego -- raised money to benefit the aquarium and its marine life residents.
Two concerts remain in the Green Flash series where, per the tagline, "The Sunset Always Rocks!" Milo Greene performs on August 16. Pine Mountain Logs and Venice will appear in a joint show on September 27. Tickets to the remaining shows can be purchased online at aquarium.ucsd.edu/experiences/events/green-flash