By: Matt Wolf
If you were to ask a group of people, “What band/singer do you wish you could have seen live in concert?” who would they say? I’d imagine Elvis is one most people would mention. I would also think that Freddie Mercury with Queen would be another. For me, I would have loved to have seen Buddy Holly or perhaps Whitney Houston. Speaking of Buddy, I’m excited for the chance to “see him” and Roy Orbison in lifelike hologram form at the “Rock ‘N’ Roll Dream Tour” this October at Eccles Theater. But of all the bands and singers and musicians around I would have to think if you asked someone who they wish they could see in concert it would be The Beatles. Even when they were together and all the band members were alive they didn’t play live nearly as much as people would have liked. Unfortunately, John Lennon and George Harrison have passed. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr still tour on their own, but what would it be like to have seen The Beatles in concert? Well, that’s where RAIN comes in. They put on a show that gives you as close a look as you’re ever going to get.
Now there are several Beatles tribute bands out there. And when I say several I mean hundreds if not thousands. But few can truly pull it off. Beatles songs are amazing so when you hear them it’s easy to just enjoy that masterpiece without picking it apart. But when you think about it, did it sound like The Beatles at all? Or was it just a good song. So many tribute bands dress like the “Fab 4”, but they don’t sound like them. RAIN is the exception to all of that. They sound like The Beatles, they look like The Beatles and they play like The Beatles. They have mastered the art of what a tribute band should be. We here at Utah Concert Review don’t often review tribute bands because it can be a little weird covering people pretending to be other people. But when it’s done as well as RAIN does it, it needs to be covered. I mean their bassist played left-handed!
RAIN, named for the b-side track of “Paperback Writer” has been doing this since 1975. And while the cast has changed over the years, founding member Mark Lewis has been sure to keep the attention to detail strong so that the audience gets the performance they’re hoping for. Keep in mind that most times, when you go see a tribute band it’ll be at the fair or Taylorsville Dayzz or something like that. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve seen many tribute bands at fairs over the years. But when you’re seeing a tribute band at a beautiful venue like Eccles Theater, you’re going to expect the best. And that’s what you got.
The show works through The Beatles catalog chronologically beginning with their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Songs like “All My Loving” and “A Hard Days Night” give way to “Twist and Shout” and “Yesterday” which then give way to “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” and “Day Tripper”. I can’t even say I felt nostalgic because one, I wasn’t alive when they were together, and two, The Beatles music is still so present and relevant today. As much as I love their album recordings it was so cool to get to hear so many familiar songs played live. And RAIN is playing totally live.
Not only does RAIN cover the various eras of The Beatles music, but while they move to the next albums they change their look to fit that time in The Beatles career. For example, when the band came out for the second act they were all dressed in The Beatles pastel military attire from the cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”.
The special part of this tour is RAIN is celebrating the anniversary of “Abby Road”. “So you’re telling me we’re going to hear a bunch of awesome songs from The Beatles but you’re also going to feature one of my favorite albums?! Yes, please!”. Of course songs like “Come Together” and “Here Come’s the Sun” were featured, but it was a treat and a half to hear songs like “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” and “You Never Give Me Your Money”. I can’t imagine songs like that are played too often on other tours.
There was really only one song to finish the show. RAIN returned to the stage to perform “Hey, Jude” and I must admit I got chills. I mean, I had chills several times through the show but these were chills on top of chills! Hearing Eccles Theater ringing with the voices of the audience singing along was a wonderful thing. You just sit there anticipating the moment when you get to join in with the “Na Na Na Nana Na NA!”. When the song gets to that point it’s impossible to hold back. Audience members young and old seemed delighted to be singing along.
I could go on and on about each song and each era that was performed but if you like The Beatles, you get it. If you don’t like The Beatles, well I just feel sorry for you. The show was pure magic. There is nothing like hearing a good song from The Beatles done right. And RAIN absolutely does it right.