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The Next Best Thing to Hearing The Beatles Perform Live, “Rain” Returns to DPAC on April 29th and 30th

The Durham Performing Arts Center will present "Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles" on April 29th and 30th

The Durham Performing Arts Center will present “Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles” on April 29th and 30th

Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles — the next best thing to hearing John, Paul, George, and Ringo perform live — will return to the 2,700-seat, state-of-the art Durham Performing Arts Center, in the Bull City’s American Tobacco Historic District, for two high-octane performances — at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 29th, and Thursday, April 30th. A live multimedia musical spectacular, Rain takes Baby Boomers and Millennials alike 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 Jimmy Irizarry (vocals, rhythm guitar, piano, harmonica) as John Lennon (1940-80), Ian B. Garcia (vocals, bass, piano, guitar) as Paul McCartney (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 — 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 extravaganza 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.

“We’ve completely revamped the show over the last couple of years,” says Mark Lewis, the group’s founder, manager, and original keyboardist. “It’s been a ‘work in progress.’ We’re traveling now with these LED [high-definition video] screens that are beautiful.

“In short,” Lewis sums up, “we’ve basically upgraded and renovated the show visually and musically…. It’s like a whole different show….”

He adds, “We sat down a couple of years ago and rebuilt the show from the bottom up. If you liked the show [when it last played DPAC on Jan. 17th and 18th, 2012], you’re gong to be blown away now…. I can guarantee that you’re going to be floored by how much better the show is now.”

He adds, “We’ve changed our musical content around, so we’re not returning with the same exact song list…. Our visual content and our video content has been completely revamped. It’s much more alive and dynamic than the regular projectors that we used to have.

"Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles" recreates The Fab Four's historic February 1964 appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" (photo by Cyllavon Tiedemann)

“Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles” recreates The Fab Four’s historic February 1964 appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show” (photo by Cyllavon Tiedemann)

In a November 2008 review of the group’s second of three 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 five 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….”

During the group’s November 2008 Triangle appearance, the First Set recreated The Beatles’ historic February 1964 performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” with the performers wearing custom-tailored Saville Row suits and Beatle boots and mop-top haircuts. The Second Set combined songs from Beatles’ movies, such as mock rock documentary A Hard Day’s Night (1964) and Help! (1965), with highlights from the 1965 Shea Stadium concert, which was performed in tan Nehru jackets. The Third Set reprised chart-toppers from the “Sgt. Pepper” era, with Rain wearing the colorful faux-military band costumes from the “Sgt. Pepper” album cover.

After an intermission, the Fourth Set showcased songs from the Flower Power Era, such as “Hello Goodbye,” “I Am the Walrus,” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”; and the Fifth Set recreated some of the best songs from The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” period, including “Get Back,” “Revolution,” and “Give Peace a Chance.”

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….”

"Rain" recreates The Beatles August 15, 1965 Shea Stadium concert (photo by Cyllavon Tiedemann)

“Rain” recreates The Beatles August 15, 1965 Shea Stadium concert (photo by Cyllavon Tiedemann)

Rain manager Mark Lewis touts the 2015 edition of the show as the best ever, and stresses the performers must be exceptional actors and musicians who can look like, sound like, and play like The Beatles, note for note. “It really is a very special type of gig,” Lewis says. “I am very proud of the guys in this band. We’re cruising with all cylinders blasting.”

He adds, “[Rain] is a show; but when you get drawn into it, it becomes a Beatles concert…. It transcends being just a show or just a concert…. It’s a combination of the two.”

SECOND OPINION: April 23rd Durham, NC Herald-Sun preview by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: (Note: You must subscribe to read this article).

The Durham Performing Arts Center presents RAIN: A TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES at 7:30 p.m. April 29 and 30 at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701, in the American Tobacco Historic District.

TICKETS: $40.90-$86.05 (including fees). Click here for DPAC Special Offers.


DPAC Box Office: 919-680-ARTS (2787),, or

Ticketmaster: 800-982-2787 or

GROUP RATES (15+ tickets): 919/281-0587,, or

SHOW: and





KIDS AT DPAC: On its website, the Durham Performing Arts Center writes, “All guests require a ticket, regardless of age. Children under the age of 6 will not be admitted to the theater. Children must be able to sit quietly in their own seat without disturbing other guests. As a further courtesy to our guests, DPAC recommends one parent or chaperone for every one child in attendance.”


Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles (tribute band): (official website), (Internet Broadway Database), (Facebook page), (Twitter page), (Wikipedia), (YouTube channel).

The Beatles (English rock group, 1960-70): (official website), (Facebook page), (Twitter page), and (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 and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)

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