It 'RAIN'ed Beatles hits at Popejoy


Not only did Beatles-tribute band, RAIN, honor the legendary rock band by playing most of their hits last Tuesday night at Popejoy Hall, they celebrated the Fab Four for what they gave to the world through their music.

The first Beatles thing you see is trivia questions on the sidescreens. And let me tell you, they were pretty hard. If it hadn't been for my husband, Matthew, one of the biggest Beatles fans in the world, I would have got a grand total of two or three answers correct.

After the questions, we sat back, relaxed and rode the nostalgic roller coaster for more than two hours of sheer Beatles pleasure. The show began with the sidescreens showing pictures from the early '60s, and then footage of an Ed Sullivan impersonator, with hunched shoulders and crossed arms, mimicking Sullivan's introduction of the Beatles, but this time it was RAIN.

For more than 20 years, RAIN has been portraying the mop tops on stage. They've taken their show to Broadway and all the way "Across the Universe." Tuesday's performance was the second time the group has made its way to Albuquerque.

The quartet went through several costume changes — including wigs and facial hair — over two acts. As the Beatles changed their individual appearances over the years, so did the members of RAIN for each musical era. First it's the mop tops, then it's slightly longer hair, then it's even longer hair and facial hair, until they dropped the matching suits in favor of more casual clothing.

For the "Sergeant Pepper" album, they don colorful military costumes along with flowers on stage, just as the original John, Paul George and Ringo did when they posed for the album cover. And then they do their "Abbey Road" medley — they're again true to appearance.

Throughout the performance, the time, actions and even instrumentation were duplicated to perfection. This wasn't only a cover band — the members of RAIN are true musicians.

The group does music from all the various incarnations that the Beatles went through, from their first live U.S. appearance on Feb. 9, 1964, all the way up through "Abbey Road" — their final album. And the most commendable facts of this and every performance is that all the music is live, and note-for-note true to the originals.

As RAIN began to near its end, after a delightful jam session, which the Beatles themselves never did publicly, I found myself thinking about what isn't here — and probably should never be here. Though the faux-boys do seem to grow a bit older through the show, they never grow any older than the day each song was created.

Marriages and divorces are left out, not to mention an extremely bitter breakup, during which each Beatles member recorded separately and left it to the studio to paste things together. Most of all, there is absolutely no reference to the cancer that took George, or the late-night bullets that silenced John. There is certainly no mention of the fact that these two guys are dead.

Looking around me, to all the people of several generations bouncing where they stood at their seats and singing the "Na-na-na" to "Hey Jude," I understood suddenly what RAIN really is. It's a chance for us to grab hold of history — including our own — and rewrite it all with a happy ending.

My biggest fault with the show is that I wanted more. More, more, more, but doing "the more" that I wanted would put the show at about nine hours, which might be asking a bit much.

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