Review: 'Rain – A Tribute to The Beatles' is a Magical Mystery Tour of Memories
The Fab Four brought the British invasion to St. Louis as “The Beatles” rocked and rolled into the Fox Theatre, performing hits from their earliest pop singles through their psychedelic period with plenty of heartfelt ballads thrown in for good measure. If they weren’t actually The Beatles, they were a very reasonable facsimile thereof.
“Rain – A Tribute to The Beatles” is essentially a cover band—but what a cover band. The uncanny impersonations were spot-on musically, vocally and visually, all of which combined for an entertaining evening that had the packed house singing “yeah, yeah, yeah.”
Widely regarded as the greatest and most influential act of the rock era, The Beatles still resonate today, and the show “Rain” is one of the most profitable touring productions year after year. In 2008, “Rain” ranked 17 in overall ticket sales for a touring show, band, or production according to Pollstar. And that’s going up against such powerhouse tours as Bon Jovi, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift—you get the picture.
The reason, of course, is The Beatles and their music, but also the phenomenal performances by the cast, which are mixed and matched from a core group of players on a concert by concert basis, rather than as separate touring companies.
The show got its start when “Beatlemania” closed in 1982 and some of the cast began “Rain.” It’s been running ever since, though it wasn’t until 2010 that the show was revamped and finally played on Broadway. Each song is a note-for-note recreation of the original, all played live, and the vocal exactitude to the original Beatles’ voices was remarkable. Physically, the performances were outstanding.
They looked like the lads from Liverpool, not because their faces resembled the original Beatles—two of them resembled their Beatles and two did not—but because they had their mannerisms, postures and movements down pat.
With the high quality of the mimicry (and without the distraction of almost-but-not-quite impersonations), the show becomes a rollicking—sometimes sentimental—trip through the music that was the soundtrack to so many of our lives, longings and loves.
The range of Beatles classics, including “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “Hard Day’s Night,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Let It Be,” “Come Together” and “Hey Jude,” remind us that as we grew up, The Beatles grew up musically alongside us.
The audience sang, stood, cheered, clapped out the rhythm and generally marveled at the sight, sound and most importantly, the memories.