RAIN
The Beatles Experience

Dates: 14 - 17 January 2005, 8pm Venue: The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts

Reviewer: John Jane


 

 

 

 

 


Joey Curatolo portrays Paul

The Beatles tribute show “The Beatles Experience” as performed by RAIN is a multi-dimensional production show that featured video screens and live camera projection, combining television commercials and historical video footage from the 1960s. Live video technology provided views of the band through close ups from different angles.

Five Americans impersonate the “Fab Four”, as the Beatles came to be affectionately known. Actually “impersonation” may be something of an understatement. Starting with the first song, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” the entire repertoire was performed with barely any discernible deviation from the original version. Even the far-famed chord progressions were remarkably faithful to George Martinís brilliant arrangements.

The quintet consisted of Steve Landes (John), Joey Curatolo (Paul), Joe Bithorn (George) and Ralph Castelli (Ringo), with the fifth member, keyboardist, Mark Lewis working almost unseen at the back of the stage, contributing various sounds of the Beatles' background instrumentation.

The Beatles ceased performing live at the end of 1966 because they were unable to reproduce recording studio quality on the road. Advanced technology now allows Rain to perform the music never heard live by the original band.

 

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Rain employed three different set and wardrobe changes in keeping with specific periods of the band’s career. Starting with bowl haircuts and short-collared, Italian suits worn in the early television shows, then transforming themselves into the psychedelic Sergeant Pepper’s All Star Band, and finally the latter Eastern mystical period that influenced albums like Abbey Road and Let it Be.

I particularly enjoyed the unplugged session, with Landes, Curatolo and Bithorn sitting stage-front with acoustic guitars: Performing songs like “Norwegian Wood” and “I've Just Seen a Face” demonstrated just how much harmonic finesse and rhythmic vitality went into creating a Beatles song.

Drummer Ralph Castelli (Ringo)

The group saved the best-loved songs for the well rehearsed finale. Landes, in recognition of John Lennon’s quest for world peace, sang a solo rendition of “Imagine,” then joined his bandmates for “Let it be” and “Hey Jude,” which at the behest of the band, turned into a stand-up audience participation sing-along.

There are purists who will dismiss a copycat tribute concert such as this as simply a knock-off, but I didn’t hear anyone in 1800-seat capacity sold-out theatre complaining. It might be the closest thing to a Beatles reunion they will ever get to see.

© 2005 John Jane

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