echo ''."\n";

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

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

​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.

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"


Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.