The Beatles’ lasting global influence is almost unreal. They revolutionized pop and rock music with chart topper after chart topper. Fifty years after the release of their final album “Abbey Road,” they remain the best-selling musical artist of all time. Boasting some of the most famous and memorable melodies ever written, the band’s songs and albums remain household names with a never-ending pop culture presence.
The Beatles’ beloved music has successfully transcended generations, and Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles, which performed at The Golden Gate Theatre on April 30, is helping keep their flourishing legacy alive.
Founded in 1975, Rain’s current lineup consists of Steve Landes as John Lennon, Paul Curatolo as Paul McCartney, Alastar McNeil as George Harrison, Aaron Chiazza as Ringo Starr and Mark Beyer on the keyboard. Together, they have truly perfected the Beatles’ repertoire nearly note for note. The group’s two-hour set transports the audience through the various Beatles eras complete with costume, wig and demeanor changes. From the Beatles’ appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” to the impromptu rooftop concert, Rain delivers a decade of nostalgia by bringing iconic appearances back to life on stage.
When curtains go up, Rain makes a shocking first impression — its resemblance to the Beatles is uncanny. The tribute’s recreation of the Beatles’ performances is thorough and thoughtful. From slight variations in hair color to the use of specific guitar models to Curatolo learning to play bass left-handed like McCartney, not a single detail goes overlooked. These details are also carefully adapted as the evolution of the Beatles progresses, and each appearance change distinctly reflects a recognizable stop on the journey to “Abbey Road.”
This striking resemblance is only enhanced by the performers’ mannerisms, which seem carefully studied and excellently emulated. Landes, Curatolo, McNeil and Chiazza demonstrate acting prowess on par with their skillful musicianship. Rain’s outstanding execution of the Beatles’ movements and performance style through the years creates the illusion that the band is aging and growing right before the audience’s eyes, further instilling the Beatles’ spirit in every song.
Most impressive and equally surprising is Rain’s remarkably loyal sound. Not only is their playing style true to the Beatles, but Landes and Curatolo have somehow mastered sounding exactly like Lennon and McCartney. When elevated by McNeil and Chiazza’s harmonies, the band’s sound is almost indistinguishable from the original. As with the costumes and visuals, Rain’s performance style smoothly changes as the Beatles’ sound develops.
The richness of the tribute’s performance extends beyond finding singers with similar voices to the original band members. Lennon and McCartney’s vocal inflections are reproduced to a tee; Rain’s performances truly rejuvenate the songs played, giving audiences an opportunity to enjoy the music of the Beatles live once more, or for the first time ever.
Rain’s tribute act is an all-around success, but the complementary video visuals are the one element that shows room for improvement. For some numbers, the videos are a little too flashy and garish, distracting from the performance rather than strengthening it. Others, particularly those which complement songs with stories, fall into the trap of being too corny. Overall, the visuals come off as a little outdated and unpolished.
Either a visual upgrade or a more minimalistic approach would serve the performance well. Rain’s musical performance is outstanding on its own, and cleaner visuals will help the fundamental aspects of their act shine even brighter.
Ultimately, the tribute act’s performance is not dulled substantially by its video component. Rain’s phenomenal musicianship, acting and showmanship will be appreciated by casual listeners and superfans alike. Passionately and faithfully capturing the soul of the Beatles, Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles exceptionally revives its timeless music in a lively night of singing and dancing for modern audiences of all ages.