Review: RAIN Brings the Music and Magic of The Beatles LIVE to the Pantages!

By: Apr. 06, 2016
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For those not lucky enough (as I was) to see The Beatles live in concert, rush to get your tickets to see RAIN: A Tribute to The Beatles onstage at the Pantages in Hollywood through April 10 only. The evening took me back to those fun days in the 1960s when I was a teenager, singing along with my favorite group. In fact, I guarantee however old you were when you first heard The Beatles, that is exactly how old you will feel during the entire concert!

The talented cast of RAIN includes Steve Landes as John (vocals, rhythm guitar, piano, harmonics), Paul Curatolo as Paul (vocals, bass, piano, guitar), Alastar McNeil as George (vlcals, lead guitar, guitar synth, sitar), Aaron Chiazza as Ringo (drums, percussion, vocals), and Mark Beyer on keyboard and percussion. His musical talents allow RAIN to perform the most complex and challenging songs the group recorded in the studio but never performed for an audience.

RAIN performs the full range of The Beatles' discography live onstage, a total of 36 songs on the night I attended. It's quite a treat going from The Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show through "Let it Be" and "Hey Jude," two of the last songs the group recorded together, with each album time shift accompanied by costume and physical appearance changes by the group as well as many historical films/videos reflecting what was going on in the world at the time, from Vietnam to protests at home, their meditation trip to India, and the overall madness of screaming fans at Shea Stadium on 8-15-65.

Images were projected on screens in many places on the stage, both behind and to the sides of the group while they were entertaining. In fact, the actual audience was shown projected on those screens quite often during their performance, me included! Video designers Aaron Rhyne and Darren McCaulley are to be commended for effectively bringing the world of the 1960s back to life, allowing the audience to learn and remember the halcyon days when The Beatles music helped change the world.

Together longer than The Beatles, RAIN has mastered every song, gesture and nuance of the legendary foursome, delivering a totally live, note-for-note performance that's as infectious as it is transporting. Their harmonies are perfect as is the way they joke around with each other and the audience, so reminiscent of what it was like at a real concert or watching their movies and television appearances.

The play list on the night I attended included in chronological order: She Loves You, Please Please Me, From Me to You, I Want to Hold Your Hand, A Hard Day's Night, If I Fell, I'm Happy Just to Dance With You, Yesterday, I Feel Fine, The Night Before, Day Tripper, Twist and Shout (which got the audience up dancing), Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, With a Little Help From my Friends, Eleanor Rigby, Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, When I'm 64, and St. Peppers more rock and roll version leading into A Day in the Life which ended with enough reverb to shake your soul. And that was just Act 1.

Act 2 continued with Magical Mystery Tour, Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane, Blackbird, Across the Universe, Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, and the beautiful In My Life (which as dedicated to George Martin, their musical arranger who recently passed away. Honoring a song dedication from Carla in the audience, their next song was P.S. I Love You which her mother used to sing to her, Here Comes the Sun, followed by While My Guitar Gently Weeps performed with incredible guitar licks by Alastar McNeil, followed by video clips from Vietnam, protests at home, Woodstock, and Haight Asbury, during which time RAIN transformed their appearance into the days of Abbey Road. Rounding out the songs performed were Come Together, Get Back, Revolution, Give Peace a Chance, Let it Be, and Hey Jude with audience participation.

From the early hits to later classics, RAIN's adoring tribute will take you back to a time when all you needed was love, and with a little help from your friends anything was possible! I agree with the Associated Press: "It's the next best thing to seeing The Beatles!"

RAIN - A Tribute to the Beatles runs April 5 through April 10, 2016 at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre (near the famous corner of Hollywood and Vine). The show is appropriate for all ages, but children under 5 will not be admitted to the theater. Tickets range from $25 to $85 and may be purchased by phone at (800) 982-2787 or online at Performances nightly with matinees added on Saturday and Sunday.

RAIN (from left) Steve Landes (John), Paul Curatolo (Paul), Alastar McNeil (George), Aaron Chiazza (Ringo), and Mark Beyer who added in sound effects via keyboard and percussion - then me projected on the screen taking this photo from the audience! Photo by Shari Barrett

RAIN photo by Shari Barrett

Photo courtesy of the Pantages

Photo courtesy of the Pantages

Photo courtesy of the Pantages

Shari Barrett and Shell Reinish started the evening in the Pantages lobby with a walk across Abbey Road.


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