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Story by Andy Argyrakis
Similar to the Beatlemania tribute mounted in the '70s, the increasingly popular "RAIN" revitalizes that concept with a little help from modern technology to stage an authentic rock n' roll show, augmented by film clips, archival footage and other friendly bits of nostalgia from the bygone era. However, much of the band's ability to transport fans to that era stems from the instrument replicas and costumes, which accurately portray each period (including the band's rise as mop topped British invaders to its hippie-centered conclusion).
Of course, the songs took center stage and there were plenty to document across the two hour evening, which was probably even more comprehensive than an actual Beatles concert, especially considering the band stopped touring by the latter half of its reign. The chronologically sequenced set included spirited renditions of "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "This Boy" and "A Hard Day's Night," all of which demonstrated The Beatles' simple but contagious shake-up of the global music scene. A little later, songs like "Help!" and "Day Tripper" found the group expanding upon its original innocence in favor of a slightly more experiential direction that would be fully realized in the second half of the night.
In fact, these hat tippers looked like they stepped straight off the album jacket of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, performing several true to form covers from that conceptual classic (including a riveting rendition of "A Day In The Life"). Even with the more psychedelic mindset of the material, there were still plenty of sing-a-longs in act two, from "Get Back" to "Let It Be" and "Hey Jude," suggesting that the second part of The Beatles' cannon was just as strong (and perhaps even more artistically enlightening) than the first. All the while, RAIN sounded like a reincarnated version of that very act, making this touring spectacle the next best substitute for the band that rewrote the rock n' roll rulebook.
"RAIN- A Tribute To The Beatles," continues at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre through February 13. For more information, visit www.raintribute.com or www.broadwayinchicago.com
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