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Rain - A Tribute to the Beatles On Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Rain is entertaining and engaging!

The song "Rain" was the B-side of The Beatles' "Paperback Writer" when singles were released on 45s. Today, it is also the name of a Beatles tribute band. Rain has been together longer than the originals. They have mastered the music and muse to craft a live concert that captures the spirit of The Fab Four both visually and vocally. The show pays tribute to the Beatles and the decade that hosted their rise and fall - the turbulent 60's.

We attended the afternoon performance of Rain on February 19, 2011 at the Brooks Atkinson Theater in New York City. Rain will be at Brooks February through May of 2011 and there is also a touring version of the production.

The Brooks Atkinson Theater is an intimate and ornate theater with good sound. On both sides of the stage were screens designed like old TVs where Beatles' trivia was posted prior to the concert. As the show started, music and scenes from the era flooded the theater as a big TV lowered center stage for Ed Sullivan to introduce Rain.

The show that unfolded over the next two and half hours presented the music of the Beatles in the most iconic and historic settings associated with the influential lads from Liverpool, England.

The opening set was black and white with arrows to resemble the original layout of the now legendary Ed Sullivan Show appearance. Rain emerged sporting suits and mop top haircuts and performed animated versions of "All My Loving" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand".

After greeting the crowd they continued to play up-tempo Beatles tracks from the '62 - '65 catalogue. Throughout the show, the band members spoke to the audience and prompted participation. The early period also included Paul on an acoustic guitar singing the moving "Yesterday" with some strings piped in adding to the sentiment.

The curtain went down as shots of Shea Stadium circa 1965 flashed on the side screens with added commentary from The Beatles. Rain reconvened wearing tan coats and the backdrop was the historic baseball field with stadium lights. Unlike the 1965 concert where it has been reported that you could not actually hear The Beatles, this mix was improved. The music was prominent and included an energized "Twist and Shout" that had fans on their feet twisting and shouting along.

The side screens were utilized again to air comical commercials, scenes from the hippie movement and music from the psychedelic era. Rain returned clad in the colorful uniforms from the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover which was the backdrop behind Ringo. Present was a fifth Beatle in dark colors to add keyboards to the more complex music of Pepper. The title track along with other songs from the later 60's were well performed by Rain.

"Are you enjoying the show? Three generations of fans out there - this is for all the young at heart," Rain stated as they progressed into the crowd pleasing "When I'm Sixty-Four". The first set ended with John at the piano performing a lavish version of "A Day In The Life" enhanced with colorful graphics on the screens.

After a short intermission, Rain emerged garbed in hippie attire and performed an array of songs including a winsome cover of "I Am The Walrus". Changing gears, John, Paul and George sat on stools armed with acoustics for a series of softer songs including a spot on "Norwegian Wood".

The music of Hendrix and images of the times were shown as the set and clothes were switched to Abbey Road. Rain poured themselves into a colorful "Come Together" with some subtle changes to it. The second set closed with a riveting "Revolution".

Since this show was presented as a concert, there was an encore. John came out wearing an army jacket and led the crowd and band through "Give Peace A Chance". "Let It Be" featured a fine guitar solo from George and "Hey Jude" had the crowd singing and swaying ending the event on a high note.

As long time Beatles fans, we found Rain to be thoroughly entertaining and engaging. We were immersed in the magic of being at a hypothetical Beatles' show in the 60's. During the performance fans were smiling, cheering and singing along. When the lights came up it was clear that the cast of Rain had recreated the Beatles and flooded the hearts of fans with music, melodies and memories in the process. So, in 2011, even though two legendary members have passed on, and Paul may or may not be dead, thanks to Rain - the Beatles are alive and well on Broadway.

Related Links: For more information on RAIN and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- | Brooks Atkinson Theatre

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