The rock band Sugar Ray performed in Kennewick back in 1998 — not long after their song “Fly” became a hit.
That show at the Benton County fairgrounds was something special, said frontman Mark McGrath.
“I remember a palpable moment on stage, thinking, ‘We’re in this thing now. We might be (in the music business) for a while,’” he said.
He was right.
Two decades and several albums later, the band is returning to Kennewick for another show.
The guys play Sunday at Clover Island. Gates open at 5 p.m.
McGrath said he’s looking forward to the Tri-City gig.
“Hopefully we’ll be seeing some of the same friends at this show” as that last local performance, he said.
Sugar Ray is known for songs like “Fly” and “When It’s Over.” It was an MTV staple, and McGrath also found solo fame as a TV personality, doing everything from co-hosting “Extra” to appearing on “Celebrity Big Brother.”
But music has remained his passion — a lifelong love.
“When I was 7 or 8, I used to put on my mom’s 45s. She had a whole nest, from The Jackson 5 to The Everly Brothers, to Willie Nelson. I would sit there with a tennis racket, in the mirror. I’d pretend I was performing for my class,” he said with a laugh.
“It was something that was in my blood, my bones to do.”
McGrath said he particularly loves performing live — even after decades of doing it.
“There’s nothing better than being on stage – playing to two people or 300,000 people. I’ve done both,’ he said. “I love being on stage.”
At the Kennewick show, expect to hear Sugar Ray’s hits, plus some ’90s covers and perhaps some new songs.
The band is working on a new album; it’s expected to be released next year.
And, McGrath said, expect to have fun.
“We’re hoping everyone comes out and has a great time. Have a laugh with Sugar Ray,” he said.
Tickets are $45 and are available at cloverislandinn.com under “Events.”
The Tri-City band Colorblind will open the show.