Jan 6, 2018

Mark McGrath - Maryland Live Casino

By Bob Suehs


Mark McGrath



Maryland Live! Casino

 Mark McGrath Set List:  Fresh Prince Theme (Intro), Every Morning, Someday, Friends Theme, Unbelievable, All Star, Pop Medley, Jump Around, When It’s Over, Epic, Drum Intro Karaoke, R&B Medley, Ice Ice Baby, Fly/What I Got


  Sugar Ray started as a guitar driven 90’s rock band with songs like “Mean Machine” and “Big Black Woman” that were unapologetic, chock full of hedonistic rock n roll cliche’s, and loud as f**k!  Their debut release “Lemonade and Brownies” sounded nothing like what most casual fans know Sugar Ray for.  “Every Morning”, “Someday”, and “Fly” are mellow, soft rock hits which catapulted the band into 90’s rock superstardom and how frontman Mark McGrath had an opportunity to branch out as a solo artist.

 One bizarre fact about this show was how uninformed the ticket takers/will call were for this event.  Upon arriving I was told that this even was sold out and no tickets were available for purchase at the casino.  I witnessed a woman being turned away at the entrance as she was told that the concert was sold out.  Clearly, the show was not sold out as there were plenty of empty seats which led me to investigate further.  The Ticketfly web site still had tickets for sale and when I told the gentleman at the will call table he stated that he only had 4 physical tickets in his possession and that he really had no clue, all he knew was that he could not sell tickets and was telling people that it was sold out instead of informing them that they had to purchase tickets online.


Mark opened this show by prefacing the fact that this performance was based after his stint on the “I Love the 90’s Tour” which saw him touring alongside hip hop acts that only used live drums.  For this performance Mark performed live karaoke to a plethora of 90’s hits with accompaniment from a live drummer.

 Mark took the stage to The Fresh Prince Theme song and that led into the Sugar Ray hit, “Every Morning”.  The crowd was mostly female and they clearly adored Mark.  Mark has hyper child mentality, he’s always going at rabbit pace and reminds me of a modern day David Lee Roth at times simply because he loves being onstage.


“Someday” was prefaced by a random story about the writing of the song and what made this night fun was the between song banter by Mark.  He offered random stories about touring with Sugar Ray, meeting Ricky Martin, his family, his life, and overall he interacted with the audience as if they were all his close personal friends.  Mark would take selfies with audience members while performing, walk through the crowd to talk to fans, answered questions, joked, and truly made everyone in the room feel as if they were friends.

 Midway through the set Mark addressed the passing of Pat from The Smithereens and sang part of “A Girl Like You” while telling the crowd what a huge fan he was of Pat and The Smithereens.

 “Livin La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin was covered and Mark told a story of when Ricky invited him to sing “Fly” with his band.  Mark told the audience that Ricky was the nicest, sweetest, most kind human being he had ever met.

 “When It’s Over” was prefaced with a funny story about how he wished Sugar Ray had never called the song that because it ended up being the end of their career.

 “Jump Around” started with a funny story about how Sugar Ray chose DJ Lethal to produce their record because they loved “Jump Around” by House of Pain but they failed to realize DJ Lethal did not produce that song.  Mark admitted they made a mistake but laughed it off.


“Epic” by Faith No More featured Mark inviting a large portion of the audience onstage for photo's with Mark.  After a few minutes the photo op became an opportunity to dance around Mark and his drummer.

 The Drum Karaoke portion of the show featured 4 different opening drum hooks which fans had to guess the band/song titles and if they got it right they scored a Sugar Ray shirt.  “Walk This Way”, “Immigrant Song”, and “We Will Rock You” were performed during this contest.

 Mark commented that a member of Good Charlotte was in the house and that his onstage drummer was a touring member of Good Charlotte.  The Maryland based crowd approved of Mark’s love for the hometown boys.

 “Jump On It” was performed during the “R&B Medley” and after it was finished Mark did an impromptu version for an older African American fan who asked Mark for a selfie during the performance. 

 “Fly” was the nights closer and featured interpolating lyrics from “What I Got” by Sublime.  As soon as Mark finished the sing-a-long he immediately walked off stage and took pictures with every single fan that waited to meet him.