A merry musical
'Rain' brings back era of peace, love and rock 'n' roll, Beatles style
Hordes of screaming fans crowded around their TV sets last night to catch the American television debut of a band that is making waves in the US. They call themselves Rain – A Tribute to The Beatles, and they had the packed house in the Long Center for the Performing Arts dancing in their seats to classics like "Twist and Shout" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand."
The show takes Beatles fans, young and old, down the historic path the band took so many decades ago, starting with an unforgettable appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show marking a major milestone in the wave of popularity they continue to enjoy even today, nearly 50 years later.
From the Ed Sullivan Theater, fans are taken to Shea Stadium, where the fab four caused grown women to faint and men to risk getting arrested just to get closer to their idols. The show takes music fans through time, incorporating real-life footage of The Beatles invasion and the social issues that inspired some of their biggest hits.
The audience ranged in age from about eight years old to those who wish they were just 64. Attendee Audrey Richard wasn’t born when the band made their American TV debut in 1964, but said "Rain" helped take her back there.
“You know, I wasn't able to experience it firsthand, so it's fun for me to really sort of go through the era from the beginning. It’s neat,” she said of the show.
John Bible, a self-proclaimed "geezer," was 16 years old in 1964. He says he enjoyed seeing some of the old footage while listening to the timeless music.
“It’s awesome; we grew up in this. It’s terrific."
Richard also complimented the show production.
“I think it’s amazing. I mean, I went in not really knowing much about the show and I feel like that last bit especially, it was an experience. Between the graphics and the art direction and the performers, I feel like they’re doing an amazing job. “
Those performers (Joe Bithorn, Ralph Castelli, Joey Curatolo, Steve Landes and Mark Beyer) do everything they can to make sure the audience gets involved: dancing, screaming and clapping along to an incredible library of music.
"How can you not like it? I mean, we were just talking, we’re sort of old geezers, but the real old geezers, we’re watching them and they’re snapping their fingers and all that. It’s cool. " Bible says.
One thing that increased my respect for the men in "Rain" (besides developing a slight crush on Paul during the performance) is while they put on an authentic, energetic, respectful show, they clearly don’t take themselves too seriously, like some tribute bands do. They never refer to themselves as John, Paul, Ringo or George, and in the programs they are listed simply by the instruments they play in the show. That may be because these men are very accomplished musicians in their own right, and it’s clear they love bringing one of the greatest bands of all time to life.
Their enthusiasm pours into the audience and leaves them wanting more, begging for an encore. And without giving too much away, the band saves the best for last.
I think Richard summed "Rain – A Tribute to the Beatles" up best when she said: “It’s worth seeing. It’s a really fun experience.”
‘Rain – A Tribute to the Beatles’ is at the Long Center until September 25th. Click here for more information on the show or for tickets.