As promised by the band members themselves in the Q&As they’ve provided us (see links below), there were indeed some new songs in the latest show Rain: The Beatles Tribute brought to Seattle, along with a more interactive set up.
Not only do the screens mounted on each side of the stage post trivia questions and show vintage commercials and film clips, cameras also sweep the audience, capturing the dancing and singing along to the well-loved classics that everybody at the January 30 show knew by heart.
The show, which plays at the Moore Theatre through February 3, follows a chronological format, featuring six different eras of Beatles: Beatlemania, A Hard Day’s Night, Shea Stadium, Sgt. Pepper, All You Need Is Love, the “White Album,” and Abbey Road-Let It Be.
The set design changed to match: large arrows pointing down at the stage, in imitation of the set when the Beatles first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show; flood lights emulating the glare of sports arena Shea Stadium. Backdrops were utilized to display appropriate imagery as well: Yellow Submarine-inspired visuals during psychedelic/flower power era; Abbey Road graphics at the show’s end. It isn’t simply a concert; it’s a multi-media experience.
Throughout the evening, band members continually urged the audience to participate; by clapping hands, singing along, standing up. The message was clear; Rain doesn’t just want you to watch the show, they also want you to join in on all the fun they’re having. And every time the audience was asked to stand up (prior to “Twist and Shout” and “Get Back,” with everyone remaining on their feet through the encore), it brought a welcome does of energy to the show.
James Irizarry was best of the faux Beatles in his performance as John; he had Lennon’s nasal vocal quality down pat. Joe Bithorn, as George, got a huge ovation for his guitar solo in “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (a George song, though the solo was originally performed by Eric Clapton). During “The End,” the concluding part of Abbey Road’s second medley, he also distinguished himself by playing all three of the guitar solos that were originally performed in turns by Paul, George, and John.
The majority of the set list was drawn from the group’s hit singles. But there were a few lesser known numbers in the set, especially in Act Two’s acoustic sequence, which featured “Blackbird,” “Two of Us,” and “In My Life.” Act Two also had a more relaxed feel; Act One recreates Beatles shows of the time, but the group gave no concert tours after 1966, allowing Rain to imagine how the Beatles might have presented themselves without having to follow a pre-set format.
Though coming to a natural conclusion with “The End,” the crowd wasn’t ready to let Rain go. The encore highlighted the peace-and-love side of the group (as had the ending of Act One, with footage of an atom bomb going off displayed during the concluding note of “A Day In The Life,” while Douglas Cox/Ringo definitely stood up in front of it, flashing a peace sign). The show finally ended as so many of the real Paul McCartney’s shows do; with a mass sing along to “Hey Jude,” which left the audience thoroughly satisfied.
On January 31, a press conference with Rain was held at the Edgewater Hotel, where the Beatles stayed when they performed in Seattle in 1964. John Lennon Examiner covered the event.
John Lennon Examiner also reviewed Rain’s February 2 show.
Act One: “She Loves You,” “Please Please Me,” “From Me To You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “I’m Happy Just to Dance With You,” “Yesterday,” “Help,” “Day Tripper,” “Twist and Shout,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “With A Little Help From My Friends,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise),” “A Day in the Life”
Act Two: “All You Need Is Love,” “Magical Mystery Tour, “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Blackbird,” “Two of Us,” “In My Life,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Come Together,” “Get Back,” “Revolution,” “The End”
Encore: “Give Peace a Chance,” “Let It Be,” “Hey Jude”