At 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23rd, and at 2 and 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24th, the Durham Performing Arts Center will host three fabulous, five-star performances of the 2017 tour of RAIN: A Tribute to The Beatles, co-produced by MagicSpace Entertainment of Park City, UT and RAIN. The 2017 tour — which features fresh, net sets and songs — with LED, High-Def screens giving every DPAC patron an up-close and personal view of the onstage action — celebrates the 50th anniversary of the historic release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band — which hit record stores on May 26, 1967 in the U.K. and June 2, 1967 in the U.S. — by performing the complete album live as part of a mind-blowing psychedelic multimedia extravaganza.
RAIN is the next best thing to hearing John, Paul, George, and Ringo perform live. When the curtain rises, Baby Boomers and Millennials alike will embark on a joyous romp down the long and winding road of The Beatles’ meteoric career — from the group’s formation in 1960 to its acrimonious breakup in 1970. Along the way, Steve Landes (vocals, rhythm guitar, piano, harmonica) as John Lennon (1940-80), Paul Curatolo as Paul McCartney (vocals, bass, piano, guitar) (1942-), Alastar McNeil (vocals, lead guitar) as George Harrison (1943-2001), and Aaron Chiazza (drums, percussion, vocals) as Ringo Starr (1940-) — plus Mark Beyer on keyboards and percussion — will play choice selections from The Fab Four’s songbook, complete with the Liverpool band’s trademark high harmonies. Yeah, yeah, yeah!
RAIN started as a California club band in the 1970s and went through several incarnations before evolving into the multimedia musical spectacular that made its Broadway debut on Oct. 26, 2010 at the Neil Simon Theatre and later transferred to the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Altogether, the show played for 300 performances on Broadway before closing on July 31, 2011. RAIN won the 2011 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical Revue. (Note: Steve Landes as John Lennon and Mark Beyer on keyboards and percussion were members of the Original Broadway Cast, along with Joe Bithorn as George Harrison, Ralph Castelli as Ringo Starr, and Joey Curatolo — Paul Curatolo’s father — as Paul McCartney.)
The show’s song list will hit all the high points of The Beatles’ best-selling albums, from Please Please Me (1963) to Let It Be (1970). During Act One, RAIN will raise the roof with toe-tapping, finger-snapping, dance-in-your-seat versions of “She Loves You,” “Please Please Me,” “From Me to You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “If I Fell,” “I’m Happy Just to Dance,” “Yesterday,” “I Feel Fine,” “The Night Before,” “Help!,” “Day Tripper,” and “Twist and Shout.”
At the start of Act Two, RAIN will drop the needle on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The band will play all of its 13 songs note for note, in order, including “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “With a Little Help from My Friends,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “Getting Better,” “Fixing a Hole,” “She’s Leaving Home,” “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!,” “Within You Without You,” “When I’m Sixty Four,” “Lovely Rita,” “Good Morning Good Morning,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise),” and “A Day in the Life.”
Afterwards, RAIN will add polish to a number of other gems from The Beatles’ catalog, including “Penny Lane,” “Blackbird,” “Across the Universe,” “Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da,” “In My Life,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Come Together,” “Get Back,” “Revolution 9,” “The End.” Then the group will encore with “Give Peace a Chance,” “Let It Be,” and “Hey Jude.”
In a November 2008 review of the second of group’s four previous visits to the Triangle, yours truly wrote:
“… [T]his magnificent Beatles tribute band … performs songs from all phases of The Beatles’ career, including many hits penned after the British super-group’s last [commercial] concert on August 29, 1966 in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park…. [T]hey are note perfect; and they can really rock ….
“RAIN is not just a heck of a live concert; it is a true musical extravaganza, with striking scenery and scintillating costumes. (As The Beatles’ music evolves, RAIN’s clothing, haircuts, moustaches, and beards change to reflect the then-current fashions.)
“A full-fledged multimedia presentation, RAIN creates just the right mood for each of its … musical segments by artfully projecting choice snippets of news-reel footage [with RAIN band members inserted Zelig-like], videos of vintage [television] commercials, etc., on three huge overhead projection screens to recreate the zeitgeist of the tumultuous era from 1960 to 1970….”
Overall, as I wrote way back in November 2008: “… From first to last note, RAIN goes full tilt, much to the audience’s delight…. Don’t miss RAIN: A Tribute to The Beatles. It will delight Baby Boomers as well as show their children and grandchildren what the fuss was all about….”
SECOND OPINION: Feb. 14th Raleigh, NC WRAL.com preview by Kathy Hanrahan for “What’s on Tap”: http://www.wral.com/rain-takes-beatles-tribute-to-new-level/17320271/.
The Durham Performing Arts Center presents RAIN: A TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES, performing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band live in its entirety, at 8 p.m. Feb. 23 and 2 and 8 p.m. Feb. 24 at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701, in the American Tobacco Historic District.
TICKETS: $35-$111, plus taxes and fees (Note: There will be a limited number of single $20-$30 rush tickets available at DPAC’s Blue Cross NC Ticket Center, starting at 10 a.m. the day of the performance).
DPAC Box Office: 919-680-ARTS (2787), email@example.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events-tickets/where-to-buy.
Ticketmaster: 800-982-2787 or https://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/1919062.
GROUP RATES (15+ tickets): 919/281-0587, Groups@DPACnc.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events-tickets/group-services.
SHOW: https://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/rain-1, https://www.facebook.com/events/1974666579435351/, http://www.raintribute.com/shows/durham, and https://www.magicspace.net/producing/rain-tribute-beatles.
VIDEO PREVIEWS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=KbmzQ9sHABY and http://www.raintribute.com/videos.
THE BAND: http://www.raintribute.com/, https://www.facebook.com/RainTribute, https://twitter.com/RainTribute, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rain:_A_Tribute_to_the_Beatles, and https://www.youtube.com/user/RainTribute.
PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.dpacnc.com/, https://www.facebook.com/DPACNC, https://twitter.com/DPAC, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durham_Performing_Arts_Center.
The Beatles (Liverpool, England rock-and-roll, pop, and psychedelic band, a.k.a. “The Fab Four,” formed in 1960 and active through 1970): http://www.thebeatles.com/ (official website), https://www.britannica.com/topic/the-Beatles (Encyclopædia Britannica), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beatles (Wikipedia).
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (The Beatles’ eighth studio album, released May 26, 1967 in the U.K. and June 2, 1967 in the U.S.): http://www.thebeatles.com/album/sgt-peppers-lonely-hearts-club-band (official web page) and https://www.britannica.com/topic/Sgt-Peppers-Lonely-Hearts-Club-Band (Encyclopædia Britannica), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sgt._Pepper%27s_Lonely_Hearts_Club_Band (Wikipedia).
Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail email@example.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)