BWW Reviews: Beatles RAIN on Sacramento Through Jan 1
Classical music had Mozart and Bach. Modern technology had Steve Jobs. And 20th century music had The Beatles.
Music has the power to capture the essence of, and speak to the citizens of each generation. Thus little surprise comes with the fact that The Beatles still live on today with a fan base as large as its original audience, albeit an audience a bit less likely faint due to Beatlemania. The Beatles' story and music represent the history and spirit of the 1960s, especially the flower power movements.
RAIN, a Beatles tribute band, masterfully tells history through music in its "direct from Broadway" tour, playing at the Sacramento Community Center Theater through January 1. Playing some of The Beatles' best-known songs, RAIN recreates moments from the band's career: The Ed Sullivan Show, the Shea Stadium concert, the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band record, the Flower Power period and the Abbey Road album. Band members change looks and costumes accordingly, including a very memorable selection of music where The Players jam it out in their neon Sgt. Pepper costume lit by black lights while fog fills the stage.
The sets also change with the times. In addition to dramatic lighting, a large screen behind the band features entertaining and sometimes psychedelic videos and pictures, as well as live video of the band and the audience. There are also two side screens. In between acts, videos from the time various periods play, showing off true Beatlemania fans from the 60s, fainting and fighting to get as close as possible to the band members. The videos also include some old commercials, one of which shows Fred Flinstone smoking. The times certainly have changed.
But the times haven't changed so much that The Beatles lack relevance. Three generations, from the very young to the very old, watched RAIN perform Tuesday night, and every soul appeared to enjoy the energetic music that had many singing along and even more clapping and dancing. (Don't worry, though, it's not a typical concert. The audience doesn't sing along with every song and attendees sit for the majority of the show.). Not everyone will agree with the political implications of The Beatles' music, but the music still stands on its own as a provider of good times and fun tunes, and a Beatles tribute could not be accurate without the inclusion of hippy, anti-war propaganda. Like it or not, it's a part of history. Of course, there are those who will apply such anti-war, peace-loving values to America's current situations, but it's up to the individual to think what he wants about the political side of the music.
On its own, the music of The Beatles provides everything from high-energy 60s rock music to beautiful ballads. Those who are not already familiar with the lyrics to songs such as "Come Together," "Hard Day's Night" and "Hey Jude" may not understand the lyrics; the drums and guitar overpower the singing. The band members do not speak much, but when they do, they sound just like The Beatles.
RAIN sticks to the music and does a fantastic job with it. The majority of attendees will know the music by heart, and watching these fans bop up and down to the music of their generation is half the fun of the concert. For those who are true Beatle maniacs, trivia questions about the band appear on the side screens before the show and during intermission. For everyone: the amazing, catchy music of The Beatles as played by Steve Landes (vocals, rhythm guitar, piano, harmonica), Joey Curatolo (vocals, bass, piano, guitar), Joe Bithorn (vocals, lead guitar, guitar synth, sitar), Raph Castello (drums, percussion, vocals) and Mark Beyer (keyboard, percussion) entertains. In many ways, these five men are The Beatles.
With their tight sound, their show-stopping ballads and their clear love for the music, RAIN's joy and energy rub off on the audience from start to finish. Fantastic special effects and dramatic lighting make the concert a blast, but RAIN carries the soul and excitement of The Beatles.
Photo Credit: "RAIN: A Tribute to The Beatles" photo by Cyllavon Tiedemann.
RAIN: A Tribute To The Beatles
Through Jan 1
Broadway Sacramento 2011-2012 Season:
RAIN - Through Jan 1, 2012
West Side Story - Jan 24-29, 2012
Mamma Mia! - March 13-28, 2012
Million Dollar Quartet - April 17-22, 2012
Wicked - May 23-June 17, 2012