Rain presents a Beatle show that shines
by Maureen Shames

When Joseph Gargano invited us to see, "Rain: The Beatles Experience," I could tell from his enthusiasm that it would be mind blowing.

"Yes" was our immediate answer!

Sid Bernstein, the legendary Beatle promoter and his Business Manager and Partner, Joseph Gargano, are truly onto something special, promoting one of the most exciting Beatle multimedia shows currently on tour. I've seen many of the top Beatle cover bands and shows, but this one stands out.

We saw "Rain" at The American Academy of Music in Philadelphia on January 6. Today, I am still mentally digesting that evening. My husband Steve and I were fortunate to be the personal guests of Mr. Bernstein and Mr. Gargano. We would be wowed from start to finish!

A packed crowd stood up and cheered Bernstein, who introduced "Rain" from the stage. Bernstein's appearance lent a measure of credibility and familiarity because he's straight from the days of Beatle pandemonium. As all die-hard Beatle fans know, Bernstein was the first to bring the Fab Four to the United States more than 40 years ago.

The video on multiple screens prepares us initially for the arrival of The Beatles in the United States. For example, vintage video is shown from the '60s of rock and roll icons Chuck Berry, Bill Haley and The Comets and Elvis Presley. There are also actual news clips on the assassinations of Martin Luther King and President John F. Kennedy as well as archival footage of "Woodstock," TV Commercials from the 60's and historical 60's music accompanying all of this in the background throughout the set changes. Finally, there is an explosive moment when The Beatles get off the plane in America and "Ed Sullivan" announces "Rain." This show effectively gives the audience a powerful sense that America was ready to be Rocked and Rolled by a tremendous force...The Beatles.

The excitement explodes when "Rain" appears onstage, looking and sounding just like the Beatles. For the first scene, they don custom tailored suits, winkle picker boots and exquisite mop top wigs. It is uncanny! They wear authentic costumes during all five scenes with costume changes that go in sequence with the Beatles story from "Ed Sullivan to Abbey Road."

Favorite songs, included: "Penny Lane," "Strawberry Fields," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" "Here Comes the Sun," and "I Saw Her Standing There." "Imagine" and "Hey Jude" were among the fabulous encores.

Throughout the evening, I felt overcome by great joy because the show felt so real to me. I also witnessed some dramatic responses from those surrounding me. One woman was crying throughout the entire program. A man next to me said that he had once seen The Beatles and this is just how they appeared in the '60's. He found the resemblance visually and audibly incredible.

"Rain" is occasionally interactive with the audience and this leads to moments that are great fun. For example, "Paul" asked us to dance during, "I Saw Her Standing There" and we were also asked to sing "Yesterday" and "Blackbird." I felt happy inside when "McCartney" held my hand from the stage and "Lennon" actually flashed me the peace sign. It was a magical evening.

"Rain" consists of the following talented members: Steve Landes as John Lennon, Joey Curatolo as Paul McCartney, Joe Bithorn as George Harrison, Ralph Castelli as Ringo Starr and Mark Lewis as an additional musician who plays keyboards and percussion. With the exception of Landes, the remainder of the band has previously all performed in Beatlemania.

And in the end, I thanked Gargano and Bernstein for a tremendous gift. I felt like this is the closest I'll ever come to seeing The Beatles. It was meaningful to receive this from people who are connected to my all-time favorite group in the world!

It doesn't matter if you have seen The Beatles or not. Anyone who misses The Beatles should experience "Rain."

Don't run and hide your head, bring your Beatle friends instead! A splendid time is guaranteed for all!

More Information:

Rain the Beatles Experience

Toronto, Ontario Canada
Jan 18 - 21 and 25 - 28 2007
Hummingbird Center
Show times: 8:00pm (21st and 28th at 2:00pm)

Hamilton, Ontario Canada
January 30 2007
Hamilton Place Theatre
Tickets available at Ticketmaster, charge by phone 604-280-4444
Tickets available on line at www.ticketmaster.ca

Published January 17, 2007