Sugar Ray's Under the Sun Tour was under the rain Sunday, but those who braved it were rewarded with a variety of ‘90s hits.
The annual ‘90s summer tour that kicked-off last Sunday, July 19, at Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre was titled Under the Sun, but this time around the show was actually under a grey blanket sky and rain. The venue, which is known for putting on events “rain or shine,” delivered as promised and opened its doors to the hardcore fans of the ‘90s sounds which were undeterred by the rain.
The 2015 edition of Under the Sun includes ‘90s staples like Eve 6, Uncle Kracker, Better than Ezra and Sugar Ray. The concert began promptly at 7:30 p.m. and started with Southern California’s Eve 6. Unfortunately for the group, rain was coming down at that time, and less than half of the theater was full. The group performed modern rock chart-topper “Inside Out,” as well as radio gems like “Promise,” and “On The Roof Again.” Sadly not many braved the rain until it subsided midway through Uncle Kracker’s set.
Uncle Kracker took the stage next and offered the family-oriented audience a set of heartfelt country rock that had parents, kids and the rest of the Greek’s audience on their feet. The singer-songwriter, who began his career playing in Kid Rock’s band, performed hits from his entire repertoire like “Good to Be Me,” “Follow Me,” “In A Little While” and Dobie Gray cover “Drift Away.” Needless to say the crowd favorite was “Smile,” from the 2009 album release Happy Hour, which became the artist’s first solo entry on the Hot Country Songs and a contemporary hit.
The all-star celebration of alternative pop rock, which plans to visit over 25 cities across the country was sprinkled with rain that faded by the time Better Than Ezra and headliner Sugar Ray took the stage.
Better Than Ezra followed the country-alt-rock act with a contrasting set that included a cover of Sublime’s “What I Got,” Naughty By Nature’s “O.P.P.” and ‘90s brit-pop classic “Laid” by James. This kept the crowd warmed up and ready for “Good” and “In the Blood,” both hit singles from their debut album, Deluxe.
I can’t remember a time when I visited the Greek and experienced tropical weather, but it definitely put a damper on the attendance of the show curated by Sugar Ray frontman and tour founder Mark McGrath. No matter, the bands marched on and gave their enthusiastic and loyal fans an energetic two-and-a-half hour show.
Headliner Sugar Ray mounted the stage and immediately launched into “Summertime’s Coming,” a song as infectious and pop-coated as any of their smash hits. Then came “Every Morning” which made the ‘90s fans scream before dropping them into unexpected covers of EMF’s “Unbelievable” and Jackie DeShannon’s “What the World Needs Now Is Love.” They also played “Groovin’,” the Young Rascal’s ‘60s hit song, which didn’t fit in with the ‘90s theme but was very apropos for a Sunday afternoon.
Throughout his set the frontman shared candid and comical anecdotes from his ‘90s tours, which included party binges and making his tour manager suffer. McGrath danced and sprung across the stage looking like he was having the time of his life. The singer, now a father and a television host, is still charming as ever and closed the concert with the fan favorite “Fly.”
McGrath humbly thanked his audience repeatedly for showing up in spite of the rain. The ‘90s aficionados that were present replied with impassioned cheers, sang along till the last note and went home satisfied.