What a strange year it has been. It’s hard to believe that it had been over a year since there was a concert at The Maverik Center! What a way to make its return to concerts than with the music of the greatest band in rock history, The Beatles. RAIN- A Tribute to The Beatles is the premier tribute band of The Beatles. They are in the midst of performing a three-show residency at The Mav. Today there will be a show at 3:00 PM and 8 PM. This show should not be missed by any fan of The Beatles. You’ll have a hard time convincing yourself that you’re seeing RAIN and not the actual Beatles.
Before we discuss the concert a huge ovation is needed for The Maverik Center and Magic Space Entertainment for being able to carry out this event. They took every precaution to ensure a safe environment. The floor seats were all spaced in groups of two or four with a six-foot radius around each group and the arena seats spread out in the same way. I sat in a section of two and there was a ton of space around me. There were hand sanitizer stations places throughout the entire venue. And when the concert was over I could see the arena staff sanitizing every seat in preparation for the upcoming show. We all really want concerts to keep returning so it was comforting to see things taken so seriously to ensure that happening.
The concert followed The Beatles catalog in chronological order with the entire evening beginning with “All My Loving”, the song the band played on the Ed Sullivan Show. The show where they made their American debut. The first thing I noticed was just how good they sound. But the challenge for RAIN is not to only sound good, but to sound like The Beatles. No easy feat. I’m happy to report that they sound very much like The Beatles. If you close your eyes it’s as if you’re listening to The Beatles.
But that’s the beauty of it. If you keep your eyes open, you feel like you’re actually watching The Beatles. It’s clear to me that RAIN- A Tribute to The Beatles puts in the time to get the movements and mannerisms of Paul, George, Ringo and John. I mean, I spoke with Paul Curatolo, (Paul McCartney), last week over Zoom. But he was unrecognizable as Paul Curatolo on that stage. He was Paul McCartney.
It’s more than the wigs and the suits. Like pretty much everyone ever, I’m a huge fan of The Beatles, and I have watched enough performance videos of the band to recognize their subtleties and stage mannerisms. So to watch the points, the head shakes, the smirks or the playing style replicated to exactness is something to behold. The same goes for Steve Landes (John Lennon), Alastar McNeil (George Harrison), Aaron Chiazza (Ringo Starr). They really do embody the Beatle they’re performing as.
As RAIN moves us through our Beatles journey, they change into the appropriate Beatles attire for that era. Of course, they started with the mop tops and skinny ties, then move to the Shea Stadium concert gear. It seemed the biggest crowd favorite was when they donned the military attire from the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band era. Those shiny pastel colors really popped. That era of Beatles music is so good! They got the crowd going with songs like “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”, “I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends” and “When I’m 64′.
The Beatles famously didn’t tour in the latter part of their career. I think one of the best aspects of seeing RAIN is being able to see and hear those songs live that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to experience in that manner. It gives us an idea of what The Beatles might have sounded like if they had toured later in their decade of brilliance. Songs like, “A Day in the Life”, “Ob-Bla- Di, Ob-Bla-Da”, or “Revolution” have that extra impact because we never saw The Beatles do those songs on a tour. But at The Maverik Center, we did!
I imagine among many other reasons they didn’t tour was the fact that their later songs would have required a multitude of touring musicians to recreate the sound produced on their albums. In RAIN’s case, they’re able to do this with one additional member of their band. Mark Beyer on keyboard covered everything from a horn section to orchestral arrangements, to piano for RAIN. He spent most of the time towards the back corner of the stage, unnoticed. His contribution was definitely noticed in the music. Without him a lot of music would have had to be prerecorded and there was no need for that with Mark on stage.
As I mentioned, this was the first concert at The Maverik Center in over a year. This was also RAIN’s first concert in over a year. Like many bands, they were all ready to tour for 2020 and that was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I think of all the things that I was impressed by, the flow of this show was most impressive. You would never have known there was any kind of hiatus between shows with how smoothly this show flowed.
I had the opportunity to move about the arena to take these photos. It didn’t matter where I was, the sound was really good, and there wasn’t a bad spot to watch this show. From the video montages while the band changed, to switching instruments, the technical side of the show seemed to go on without a hitch. That’s not easy to do with so much time off.
The Friday night crowd was pretty good. They did seem a little out of practice. Maybe being spaced out made people feel more exposed, but their faces were saying, “I’m loving this show!”, but their bodies seemed a little reserved. And when it came time for certain sing alongs, they really held back on their vocals. Having seen RAIN a couple of times before, I’ve heard crowds sing as loud as they could during these songs. That’s not to say people weren’t enjoying themselves, because they absolutely were. I just think they might need another concert or two under their belt to get back into the swing of things. But for those heading to the April 10th shows, feel free to let those vocals fly when the time comes!
So it turns out, a 90 minute RAIN concert goes by really fast! They sang 25 songs and still the show flew by! You can kind of tell the show is coming to its end just by the era of music they’re playing. So when “Get Back” started I thought, ‘Oh wow, they’re almost done!’. I could have listened to them for another hour. With a hit list like The Beatles, it’s impossible to sing every hit song they have in one show. Unless it’s three hours. I mean, Paul McCartney does three hour shows and you can still leave thinking, “Oh wait, he didn’t sing that one song.”.
So imagine a 90 minute RAIN show. Their setlist was so full of hits from every era that it wasn’t until the next day that I thought, ‘Hey they didn’t play “Let it Be” or “Helter Skelter!”. It was impossible to leave The Maverik Center disappointed.
From Steve Landes’ (John Lennon) rousing, “Twist and Shout, to Alastar McNeil’s (George Harrison) heartfelt, “Here Comes the Sun”, to Aaron Chiazza’s(Ringo Starr) head bobbing, “I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends” to the show closer, “Hey Jude” sung by Paul Curatolo (Paul McCartney), the night was a huge success. Concerts were back in The Maverik Center. Things felt normal for once. RAIN is a band that any fan of The Beatles should see. They take all of the steps you hope a tribute band would take in honoring the band they’re portraying. These lads have chosen the best band ever and they have absolutely risen to the occasion.
For tickets to the April 10th shows go to axs.com
All My Lovin’
Please Please Me
I Want to Hold Your Hand
Hard Days Night
If I Fell
Can’t Buy Me Love
I Feel Fine
Twist and Shout
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
With a Little Help From My Friends
Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds
Drive My Car
When I’m 64
Sgt. Pepper’s Reprise
A Day in the Life
Here Comes the Sun
Article By: Kevin Rolfe