Although an avid fan of The Beatles in my teen years, I never got to see them live. They were here in St. Louis in 1966 in a driving rainstorm and their performance experience was so painful that they decided never to tour again. Great.
Now a wonderful tribute band, Rain, has come to St. Louis featuring the original Broadway cast and treating us to a gentle, joyous, sometimes turbulent trip down memory lane.
The sights and sounds of the Beatles are carefully recreated by Steve Landes, Joey Curatolo, Joe Bithorn and Ralph Castelli with a helping hand from keyboard/percussion techno-genius Mark Beyer. Additionally, the light show itself is fantastic with effects ranging from the early black and white stage lighting of the Ed Sullivan Show to the breathtaking magic of the psychedelic sixties and seventies.
The actor/singers have a lot of energy, throwing themselves into their roles with vigor; and musically, aside from a couple of temporary slips, they are pitch perfect. They had the audience on it's feet many times, audience members singing along, clapping hands, stomping their feet, all of us thrown solidly into our "young time" by the guitar riffs of "George", the driving, relentless drum styling of "Ringo" and the incredible vocals of "Paul" and "John".
"Revolution" with its timeless message of hope and change had a packed audience cheering, singing, weeping, as did "Give Peace a Chance".
The familiar, almost sacred music is treated with respect and love, as are the personality recreations of the individuals. The costumes are, as far as I can remember, perfect recreations of some of the most theatrical of "The Boys'" outfits including the pirate hat George used to wear. The TV screens on either side of the theater were a bit distracting, but in the long run helped to move us from decade to decade, helping to introduce the changes in the appearance and sound of the band as it and we grow up into the turbulence and uncertainty of the '60's and '70's.
There were young people in the audience. Young. Singing and clapping along with the rest of us original Beatles fans, three of them told me of how much they loved the music. Legacy fans. Ain't it wonderful?
Rain a Tribute to the Beatles, plays this evening only at the Fox Theatre.