Maybe it was the constant drizzle of rain on a cool spring night that kept things from ever really heating up at Macy Gray’s Greek Theatre concert on Wednesday, but neither Gray nor her otherwise skilled backing band lived up to the exciting promise of an incredible House of Blues performance five months back.
Or perhaps all the glowing accolades — including Grammy nominations and consistent critical acclaim — heaped on Gray since the mid-1999 release of her debut, “On How Life Is” (Clean Slate/Epic), have overwhelmed the 29-year-old rookie, whose mediocre and too-long display at the near-full L.A. venue was a far cry from the focused and determined hourlong club show.
Songs like the reggae-ish “Do Something,” the outrageous and funky “Sex-O-Matic Venus Freak,” during which sparks flew from Gray’s overworked mike stand, and encore “I Can’t Wait to Meetchu,” with its Blues Brothers-like big ending, still held considerable sway and were highlights of the 105-minute show.
But questionable cover tunes, like “Brand New Key” and “Que Sera, Sera,” the many overlong song jams, and Gray’s sometimes-bizarre stage chatter — including a midshow shout-out for “good sex … good head … and good drugs” that had bemused attendees looking at each other — made for a less-than-stellar evening.
Guitarist Arik Marshall did his part to generate heat by jumping into the crowd during the ballad “Still” and playing his instrument with his teeth a la Jimi Hendrix.
Hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas opened the show and joined Gray for a run-through during her 35-minute encore of their new collaboration “Don’t Come Around,” though neither moment could salvage the disappointing production.