Sugar Ray Turn the Marquee Into Club Marquee With Bad Covers, Interludes and a Mere 10-Song Set

Mark McGrath on stage at The Marquee
Mark McGrath on stage at The Marquee
Jonathan McNamara

​Dear Sugar Ray fans,

I'm embarrased for the 100-or-so of you who actually paid to see Wednesday's show at Marquee Theatre. I talked to several of you who told me you were offered free tickets or were friend's of a Marquee staffer. That's cool. Unless you were just too embarrassed to admit you were at the show to see the band. That would be shameful.

Let me sum it up thusly: What the fuck, Sugar Ray?

If I actually paid my hard-earned money to attend this show, I would be be pissed off. Hell, I'm bugged now and I didn't pay to see the show.

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Sugar Ray has six albums, spanning from 1995's Lemonade and Brownies to Music for Cougars, their so-called comeback, which they dropped in July, and they sang a whopping TEN songs during their concert, during a 90-minute set. Seriously, what the fuck? It's not like they were hurting for material.

They opened with "The Greatest" off Lemondade and Brownies, which I appreciated. McGrath, wearing sunglasses and still looking hot post-NBC's "Extra," seemed a little douchey taking his shades on-and-off throughout the set. And unlike most concerts, McGrath thanked the three opening acts before the group broke into their second song and introduced his band early, in the night, a move most groups save for the middle or end of their shows.

"Do you guys smell that," McGrath asked 150-plus crowd before breaking into "Every Morning." "It smells like a No. 1 hit from 1999." This was only song two. And then there were the covers -- Journey's "Don't Stop Believing," which was covered very briefly, and the even odder hip-hop cover of Kid Cudi's "Day N Night."

While their show was part covers and part VH1 "Storytellers," mixed in with a few actual Sugar Ray songs, they even found time for an awkward freestyle match between two dudes. You spent more time hyping their DJ, turning the Marquee into Club Marquee with weird interludes and awkward dancing from their singer, than actually covering 10-plus years of material.

I can't help but scratch my head at their performance. I've reviewed a lot of concerts in my day, but Sugar Ray takes the cake. This was the weirdest one to date and that's not something I say lightly. It's like McGrath, who was either drunk and/or high, knew he was putting on a bad show when he told the crowd, predicting the inevitable, "this might be the last time you see us." 

Based on what we saw last night, that's good to know. I'd prefer to see the band come back and play a stellar show, but if they're going to phone it in like this, they'd be better pursuing D-List acting careers.

Critic's Notebook:

Last night: Sugar Ray at Marquee Theatre

Better than: Watching Mark McGrath bring the cheese on NBC's "Extra," where he is no longer employed. Mario Lopez is his replacement these days.

Personal bias: I used to love Sugar Ray and had a huge crush on McGrath many, many years ago. I hate to admit it after witnessing this horrid show. 

Random fact: I met Mark McGrath around 10 years ago when Sugar Ray performed during KEDJ 103.9 FM's (now FM 103.9) annual music fest "That Damn Show" and was forced to wear a yellow "That Damn Show" t-shirt during the fest. He was actually really nice and had great hair.

Further listening: Music for Cougars, if you want to hear the band's new material. However, I recommend their self-titled 2001 disc.

By the way: McGrath invited intoxicated music fans to knock on the band's tour bus for a ride home and promised the group would ensure they arrived home safely.  

One more thing: FM 103.9's Robin Nash had the biggest crush on Mark McGrath when I interned at The Edge. Rumor has it she made out with him.  

Set list:

"The Greatest"

"Answer the Phone"

"When It's Over"

"Is She Really Going Out With Him?" (Joe Jackson cover)


"Day and Night" (Kid Cudi cover)

"Going Nowhere"

"Falls Apart"

"Mean Machine"


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