Seeing The Beatles live, without the time machine

    Photo by Joan Marcus/Auditorium Theater Roosevelt University.

    It’s time to put away those old records and greatest hits CDs and experience the Beatles live with RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles. Journey back with the four member cast of RAIN as they cover all The Beatles’ hits ranging from their first album to the psychedelic ’60s and the long-haired hippy days.

    Incorporating historical video footage from the 1960s, RAIN creates create a once-in-a-lifetime concert experience. The entire show can be better described as a rock concert than as a musical. Unlike traditional musicals, RAIN has no plot or storyline. This might sound blasphemous to musical theater buffs at first, but it actually works. The purpose of the musical is not to tell the story of The Beatles, but to pay homage to the band by recreating music history.

    By using three video screens and live camera projection, RAIN gives audience members, even those in the very back, an up-close-and-personal view of the band. The lyrics and history behind the legendary Beatles repertoire is enough to entertain the audience for the full two hours. Somewhat ironically, the cast of RAIN have been playing together twice as long as The Beatles themselves did and used The Beatles’ albums like textbooks, referring back to them to ensure the authenticity of their performance. Unlike traditional cover bands or impersonators, RAIN treats The Beatles’ catalog like classical musical, sacred and timeless.

    “They’re the Mozarts of pop,” RAIN keyboardist Mark Lewis said. The concert starts off with footage from The Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 and covers songs from the Sgt. Pepper era through the Abbey Road years. Footage of screaming fans and crazed, crying girls immerse the audience in the 1960s culture of good music and good times. RAIN features five different scenes and costume changes from the Ed Sullivan Show, Shea Stadium, the Sgt. Pepper era, the flower power age and Abbey Road. The show ends by paying homage to the Beatles’ glory with a slide show accompanied by “Imagine” and other classics.

    The music in the show is simply stunning. With such beloved songs as “Hey Jude” and “Eleanor Rigby,” and such classics as “Revolution” and “Come Together,” the performers are faithful to The Beatles’ sound and will immerse you in the culture and craze of the ’60s. The cast of RAIN truly embodies the spirit of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr and engages the audience with an authentic Beatles experience. RAIN takes cover bands to a new level, performing songs that even The Beatles never played live. Even the stage-set up and the iconic hairstyles and costumes are exact replications of The Beatles’ past.

    RAIN is truly a spectacular celebration of The Beatles and their influence. Three generations of Beatles fans — from five-year-olds to baby boomers — filled the theater, proving that Beatles music is indeed universal. By the end of the show, the entire audience was up on its feet, rocking away. Again though, traditional musical theater lovers beware — this musical is not your typical show and has no plot or storyline. However, for younger, die-hard Beatles fans, this is a chance to finally experience the ecstasy of a Beatles concert without going back in time.

    RAIN — A Tribute to the Beatles is playing at the Auditorium Theater of Roosevelt University for a limited engagement March 3 – 8, 2009. Tickets are $35 – $75 and can be purchased online at


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