Gavin DeGraw plays Boarding House Park on Friday.
Gavin DeGraw plays Boarding House Park on Friday. (courtesy lowell summer music series)

Gavin DeGraw makes his Lowell Summer Music Series debut with a Friday night show at Boarding House Park, but it also marks his return to Lowell after a nearly 14-year hiatus.

DeGraw played the Tsongas Arena (as the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell was known back then) in December 2005 as part of the KISS 108 FM Jingle Ball concert.

He shared the stage with the typically eclectic Jingle Ball lineup that not only featured Fall Out Boy and Howie Day, but also Kanye West, The Pussycat Dolls and ... Rihanna.

I was in the building that night and have some pretty vivid memories of the show:

: Kanye West was a tour de force onstage long before his social-media hijinks got the best of him.

: The Pussycat Dolls were as much the flavor of the day as you would think.

: Fall Out Boy seemed played out, and this was years before the breakup and return.

: Rihanna was 17, and she came out briefly, did a couple of songs and left the stage — but she captivated everyone there.

But even though he came out later in the evening, it was DeGraw who lit up the arena with a rousing, piano-tinged set that featured him standing on the piano and rocking the house.

Sometimes, you can just tell.

The funny thing about DeGraw's performance that night is that, much like Rihanna, he was barely scratching the surface on his catalog. He'd only released his debut album, "Chariot," which ended up going platinum and featured the iconic, top-10 single "I Don't Want to Be."


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The 42-year-old singer-songwriter has now released six studio albums and remains a force on the adult contemporary and pop charts, as well as the concert stage. He has toured with Howie Day, Collective Soul, David Cook, Colbie Caillat, Matt Nathanson and Andy Grammer, and opened for Sister Hazel, Maroon 5, Barenaked Ladies, Michelle Branch, Avril Lavigne, Allman Brothers Band, Bon Jovi, Train, Billy Joel, Shania Twain and more.

And now he's coming back to Lowell. Don't miss out.

Tickets for Gavin Degraw with special guest Hannah Ellis are $52 in advance, $60 at the gate. The English Beat plays Boarding House Park on Saturday; tickets are $42/$45.