I am old. I saw the “real” Beatles on August 13, 1966 at Olympia Stadium in Detroit for my girlfriend Jackie Esse’s 16th birthday. Do the math.
RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles, co-presented by Virginia Arts Festival and Seven Venues, will be at Chrysler Hall in Norfolk on Wednesday, May 2 at 7:30 pm
RAIN, sometimes called “the next best thing to seeing The Beatles”, will be better than seeing The Beatles. Old Olympia Stadium was jam-packed on that hot August night so long ago. It was jam-packed with 15,000 screaming teenage girls. We had great seats. I saw the Beatles but I didn’t hear them. The 15,000 girls (with a few parents along for the ride) never stopped screaming. It was thunderous. It was continuous. I’ve never experienced anything like it, before or since.
I am so excited that RAIN, the “number one Beatles tribute band” in the world, will be performing in Norfolk this Wednesday night at 7:30. RAIN began in southern California by Mark Lewis. Mark was “blown away” when he first saw The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. At 12, he was already an accomplished pianist. He went out the next day and bought the “Meet the Beatles” album. He has loved The Beatles and their music ever since.
He formed the band “Reign” in the mid-70’s. His band played original music and some Beatles covers for fun, in bars around southern California. They had a real knack for not only sounding but looking like The Beatles. Thirty-five years later, Reign has evolved into RAIN. They have “mastered every song, gesture, and nuance of the legendary foursome.”
RAIN is doing something not even the original Beatles were able to do. They will perform every song from “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” live onstage. When Sgt. Pepper was released in May of 1967, it was considered something never heard before. It was radical, with cutting edge recording technology and a full orchestra. The Beatles could never make a live performance sound like the recording.
RAIN will perform the entire Sgt. Pepper album, along with all the other Beatles favorites, like “I Want to Hold Your Hand, “ “Hard Day’s Night,” “Let It Be, “ “Come Together,” and “Hey Jude.”
Just typing the names of these songs takes me back to specific times and places in my life. I can picture standing outside my Home Ec. class in 1963(I told you I was old), waiting for the teacher to let us in. Maureen Davidson announced that she was saving up her money to go to Liverpool so that she could meet The Beatles in person. Maureen was 13 years old. This was 1963. The Beatles hadn’t made it to the United States or the Ed Sullivan show. We were already singing “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and arguing about which Beatle was the cutest.
Mark Lewis says, “The Beatles influenced popular music on every level one can imagine. They experimented with sounds, and different styles of music. The music of The Beatles will last forever, and there will be bands doing what RAIN is doing today a hundred years from now.”
On Wednesday, I will get to hear the fantastic music of The Beatles. It will transport me back to the time when I thought George Harrison was the cutest, because he seemed so mysterious. The crowd will not be screaming throughout the performance, but there might be just a little screaming at the end, from me.
For more information and to purchase tickets to “RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles” go to vafest.org