A Beatles Tribute
Review by Ross Anthony

When I was twelve, my big brother gave me a cassette of "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." That was just about the first time I realized people could own music, that the music on the radio was made by different bands and you could pick your favorites and get an album's worth. I played that tape over and over and the Beatles certainly did become one of my favorites. Decades later, that has not changed. As the Beatles can no longer be seen live, I've enjoyed other tribute bands in the past and I looked forward to Rain.

At the Pantages and after some time-period-appropriate videos (that run during costume changes as well), the curtains rise to Rain in early Beatle straight ties and suits -- huge white arrows point at them. I like the idea of the arrows, but they were rather obviously cut from foam board and looked a little cheesy, I hope that was an attempt to recreate the early stage decor of the times.

Of course, looks are important, Joey Curatolo as Paul looks the part, save for the right-handedness. (Would have been a crowd-pleaser to have played at least one song lefty on that Hofner Beatle Bass.) Steve Landes as John is a close second, but Joe Bithorn and Ralph Castelli as George and Ringo relied heavily on wigs to trick a likeness. Rain seemed to know they weren't going to duplicate the iconic faces fans of the fab four know all to well, so Rain-Paul often took the opportunity to praise the real Beatles for their brilliant songwriting, sound and magic. Rain-Paul reminded us all that we were there to celebrate the tunes and not necessarily conjure up the screaming-girl craziness of being at an actual Beatles concert. That said, there were some teen girls seated behind us who did occasionally scream.

Still, if you didn't look them in the faces, the four on stage did look the Beatles, Rain-Ringo up on a four-foot riser smiling blissfully and occasionally giving duel peace signs. The stereo video screens also enhanced the experience with inter-cut sequences of actual Beatles audiences with our live audience shots. And as I mentioned, the screens were employed well as distractions during costume changes. The period commercials were a huge hit -- we absolutely loved them. But, the Beatle-esque Rain interviews were a bit dodgy and rather inaudible. Lastly, I have to say the animated video made to back the song "Eleanor Rigby" was top notch. Sort of Terry Gilliam meets "Yellow Submarine," this piece moved the audience to a huge ovation. Brilliant!

While as a group, Rain hit the wonderful harmonies, they, not surprisingly, didn't catch the lightning in a bottle magic of the real guys. Rain-Paul's solo-ish Blackbird was far less effective than the quiet Beatles version, but Rain-Paul put all his heart into "Mother Nature's Son" and nailed it. IMO, that was the best song of the night. I actually felt moved, stirred inside. Very very sweet. In fact, though Rain had fun with the early stuff, it seemed more obvious to me, that as fine musicians themselves, they put more feeling into the later period tunes. Further evidence was clear with Rain-George's guitar solo in "Gently Weeps." By this time in the evening, Rain-George had spittin' image long hair and beard, so he looked far more the part. I guess it was all the more moving to see his George truly make the guitar weep and wail, because as many of you may know, it was actually Eric Clapton who took care of the lead on the album.

The Rain-John had a few solo-songs as well, including oddly enough, "Imagine" (as on encore). Rain-John had the rasp and similar quality, but went far to nasal. Unfortunately, he sounded more like Sean than John.

The costumes in general were very well done, Sergeant Peppers being the most fun. I also enjoyed the pinpoint accent of strobe lights on Rain-Ringo during his tasteful, brief drum solo in the middle of the Abbey Road song medley.

No part of the show was recorded, Rain-George recreates some studio sounds with guitar synth's. Rain was quite apt at the music and working the crowd, they had us standing, clapping, swaying, and shouting out the "Na Na Na's" on "Hey Jude."

Related Reviews: Across the Universe

-- Books by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony --

  • Rain. Copyright © 2009.
  • Based on the March 31st, 2009 performance at The Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles. Starring Joey Curatolo as Paul, Steve Landes as John, Joe Bithorn and Ralph Castelli as George and Ringo. And Mark Lewis on backing keys.

Grade..........................B+ (2.5/4)

chili4 special olympians
power5 ra hforh radiop
Copyright © 1998-2022 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Monday, 13-Sep-2010 16:11:49 PDT