The first thing Beatles you see is on the sidescreens, where Beatles trivia questions come popping up. And let me tell you, there ain’t any gimmes in this bunch. If it hadn’t been for the guy behind me feeding me the answers, I would have got a grand total of two or three answers correct. After the questions, though, you can sit back, relax and ride the nostalgic roller coaster for two-plus hours of sheer enjoyment.
Once the questions go off and the crowd gets restless, the sidescreens begin showing still photography from the early 1960s, then black-and-white footage of an impersonator doing his Ed Sullivan shtick, with the hunched shoulders, the crossed arms, and grossly exaggerated voice and actions. His mimicry of the Beatles’ introduction is when the curtain goes up on Rain.
Rain has had plenty of practice, now that they’ve been doing this for two decades, but from what I’ve read they’ve had their routine down pat since long ago. The mop tops, the Savile Row suits, the “Beatle boots,” the accents, are all dead on. While their voices may be less so, they’re close enough to occasionally give you pause, while always giving you satisfaction and pleasure.
The quartet goes through five costume and appearance changes over two acts, broken by a short, well-deserved intermission. These guys work! As the Beatles changed their individual appearances over the years, so do the members of Rain for each musical era. First it’s the mop tops, then it’s slightly longer hair, then it’s even longer hair with some facial hair, and they’ve dropped the matching suits in favor of more casual clothing.
Of course, for the Sergeant Pepper album, they’re in the stage version of military costumes, just as the Beatles were when they posed for the cover of that album. And when they do their Abbey Road medley, they’re again true to appearance. Throughout the performance the timing, actions, and even the esoteric-at-the-time instrumentation are duplicated to perfection.
It was pleasantly surprising to see the number of young people in the audience. The Beatles, of course, pioneered many of the things that just about anybody under the age of 50 now take for granted in musical performance, such as the mellotron, synthesizers, orchestral backing, the concept album, and many other aspects that are ho-hum today.
George Martin was as much a genius as the Beatles were, with his arrangements and accompaniments and other more subtle additions. But it was the Beatles, of course, who presented all of this so eloquently to the fans.
Just as Rain do for us today.
The group does music from all the various incarnations that the Beatles went through, from their first live US appearance on February 9th, 1964, all the way up through Abbey Road, their final album. And the most commendable facts of this and every performance is that all the music is live, and note-for-note true to the originals. Even the set from their first US appearance is down to the final detail. Since the Beatles last tour performance was August 29, 1966, all the intricate and esoteric instrumentation used in their final four albums were never performed live, yet you’ll hear it from Rain.
The five sets, broadly speaking, include Ed Sullivan, Shea Stadium, Sergeant Pepper, the Flower Power era, and Abbey Road. Rain includes Joey Curatolo as Paul McCartney, Joe Bithorn as George Harrison, Ralph Castelli as Ringo Starr and Steve Landes as John Lennon.