Sugar Ray plays Stamford’s Alive@Five concert
Published 12:00 am, Monday, July 17, 2017
Mark McGrath, who fronts the band Sugar Ray, says he “was put on this earth to perform.” That’s why he’s looking forward to Thursday, July 20, when he and his band take over Stamford’s Columbus Park.
Sugar Ray is playing as part of the city’s Alive@Five concert series. McGrath, who was born in Hartford, but grew up in Avon and Simsbury, said he’s done this gig before and it’s a great time.
Though he lives in California these days with his wife and their 7-year-old twins, McGrath said he has fond memories of Connecticut, where he enjoyed watching the Whalers in Hartford.
“We moved when I was 8, but we still have relatives in Connecticut,” said McGrath, whose band is known for such hits as “Fly,” “Someday” and “Every Morning.” “It’s still one of the most beautiful states in the world,” he said, especially the changing seasons.
The singer recalled how his father used to watch the Rose Bowl on television each year on New Year’s Day. They were still on the East Coast in 1975 when his dad was watching and commented about how it was 85 degrees in Los Angeles and 20 degrees and snowing in Simsbury. That’s when he decided the family should move.
Alive@Five Festival, Columbus Park, Stamford. Enter through single main entrance on Main Street at Atlantic Street with multiple entry portals. Thursday, July 20, 5 p.m. $15. Over 21 only. 203-348-5285, stamford-downtown.com
McGrath, 49, is a former high school athlete who appreciates a good tattoo. (He has more than a dozen.) While he earned a degree in communications from the University of Southern California, entertainment is his thing.
“Fans can expect a very interactive show,” he said of the concert. “We bring people on the stage. It’s full of energy and fun.”
What does he mean about bringing people onto the stage?
“You’ll have to see. You never know. We’ve done things like freestyle karaoke and we see how far they get, or how far they don’t. It’s all entertainment. Someone may come up to play guitar or sing a song. Whatever is in front of us, we use. One time I ran out and climbed a tree. You never know. It’s an interactive experience, so expect the unexpected.”
McGrath said he also talks to the audience between songs and shares the meaning behind some of his tunes. “You get all the hits you want to hear. It’s super fun. There’s no better time to hear Sugar Ray than this, where you’re in a beautiful park in downtown Stamford under the sun.”
There will be some surprises, too. “We are not above playing a cover or two. Sometimes we take iconic songs from the ’90s or reach back into the ’80s. We’ve been doing a little ‘Pina Colada’ (‘Escape’). That’s a fun summer song.”
As for the future, McGrath said new music is coming. He’s planning to do a new album, and will appear on television in a Christmas movie. “I don’t know its name, but it was the first time I did makeup. I play an old rock ’n’ roll ghost.”
The Lord Calverts, a rock/power pop quintet, opens for Sugar Ray.
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