It was a beautiful day in Philadelphia, unseasonably warm and sunny for the end of January, and then RAIN came. Maybe RAIN should come more often for us old enough to have experienced the real deal and even for those who weren’t born yet. Rarely have I seen an audience so whipped up emotionally and affected by what they saw on stage. And off.
It wasn’t all on stage that did it. It was on the three big screens that flashed back to the day with newsreels, commercials, old photographs, television shows, graphic and psychedelic-tweaked images from the 60s and 70s that brought back the era of the greatest band held in audience memories. If not in their minds already, here was a history montage for the young.
At times it was an almost psychedelic experience. We were enthralled, dazed, amazed and hypnotized–if you can be that all at once. As a concert venue, it was a phenomenal mix of some of the most innovative and memorable songs ever written by the legendary Beatles and all that went with each live performance, and as theatre, RAIN’s performance was so dead-on, catching every nuance of the original performances, “note-for-note” as advertised.
The Beatles broke up the year I graduated from high school. For me, it was a non-event–not because I wasn’t a Beatles’ fan–but because I never worshiped at the musical altar. But seeing this audience swoon at the altar, dance and sing in the aisles like teenagers of that day, hearing of one woman who fainted when she saw John Lennon, it is obvious The Beatles were more than a band to many. I always appreciated The Beatles‘ music; I saw it had a unique appeal but I was too young at the time to recognize the group’s musical genius. I see it now.
There were young people in the audience, including my 13-year-old son who knows more Beatles‘ facts and trivia than I do, truly enjoying the show as much as those older members of the audience who remember rather than have to learn a history lesson. Perhaps the young enjoyed it more because they didn’t have to wait years for the complete exposure; they found it one place at one time.
RAIN pulls all the honesty, the music, the playfulness and the history into making The Beatles experience “come together.” It’s an interesting theatrical spectacle, too–especially when audience members whose ages differ by 50 years are affected so profoundly by an identical performance. In truth this performance was part Beatles and part RAIN. At this point nothing matters but the fantastic experience.
RAIN: A TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES
January 31 – February 5, 2012
Academy of Music
Broad and Locust Sts.