The Mystique of the BEATLES can never be forgotten. Its hard to believe that it has been thirty years since the Beatles first set foot in the United States and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Little did we know back then that the band that was so fresh and vibrant back in the 1960s, would go on to actually change the course of modem pop music today. Equally hard to believe is the fact that the band, whose music has touched so many millions of peoples lives, has only been experienced in live concert by a lucky few. A lucky few who had to wait in line sometimes for days to get tickets to see the Beatles perform in a large venue with poor sound, very little lighting, and virtually thousands of screaming fans whose decibel level made the possibility of actually enjoying the band as a true musical event, impossible. Furthermore, even those lucky few who did experience the Beatles in live concert heard only a very small part of the incredible repertoire that the Beatles were to go on to write. For in those days a typical Beatles concert only lasted approximately twenty minutes, and included no material front some of theft greatest albums. This has left an incredible void in the music scene, a void that would never have been filled if it were not for a band known as RAIN, the greatest Beatles tribute to ever grace tire rock and roll scene.
Rain got their start in Los Angeles in 1975. Like many other bands in the LA. scene, Rains main objective was to record their own original recordings, and to eventually get a recording contract. But, unlike other bands, Rain had a second goal. And that goal was, because of their sincere love of the music, to become the best band in the world at duplicating the sound of the Beatles. Mind you, not just the sound of the early Beatles, but. the sound of the complete Beatles, A to Z. Rain wanted to be able to perform every song, on every album, note for note, live.
Rains basic approach to the Beatles music is extraordinary. They treat the music with the same respect that a classical musician has when approaching a classical piece. In other words, they do not merely learn a song, they truly study the song. No liberties with the music are allowed. Rains feeling is that any band can learn to play a Beatles song, but it takes a very special talent to do it right.
The secret is in the attention to detail. Every vocal part, every chord inversion1 every musical part, whether it be an orchestra part, or something as simple as a hand clap, has to be there. When all of these ingredients are added up what you have is nothing less than the greatest live Beatles experience any one can ever hope for. An experience that has earned Rain rave reviews internationally, and won them the privilege of performing on many movie and TV projects including the entire sound track to Dick Clarks motion picture, "The Birth of the Beatles".
In 1980 Rain joined forces with the stars of the hit Broadway show, Beatlemania, and became not only the greatest note for note duplicators of the Beatles sound, but the strongest, most authentic, and most exciting Beatles tribute ever. Now not only had Rain perfected the sound of the Beatles, but they had the image, look, stance, and production that left even the most die-hard Beatles fan awe struck.
In 1990 Rain did one of the most unusual performances of their distinguished careers. They, in conjunction with BeatleExpo, actually got on top of a rooftop in Seattle, and, in front of live TV cameras and a live radio simulcast, duplicated the last public performance of the Beatles (i.e. Apple Rooftop concert documented in the film Let it Be"). In this concert Rain performed every song that the Beatles did on the rooftop, in the original order, note for note, no second takes allowed. This event made them the focus of attention in articles that were covered by CNN as well as USA Today.
The talented artists, which make up the totality of Rain are as follows:
Joe Curatolo, (Vocals, Bass, Piano, Guitar) Without question, the greatest artist to ever portray Paul McCartney onstage. At the age of 17 Joey entered theBeatle sound-alike contest at the Beatlefest in New York City arid walked away with first place. He soon went on to perform in the Broadway show "Beatlemania". In 1982, Joey joined Rain.
Jim Riddle, (Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Piano, F1annonica) Portrays John Lennon. Jim joined the cast of Beatlemania back in 1980 and quickly became the center of attraction in each and every cast that he performed with. Jim joined Rain in 1983 further enhancing Rains reputation as the worlds greatest Beatles tribute. According to one critic at the Los Angeles Times, "Jim Riddles performance is incredible, often downright scary".
Joe Bithorn (Vocals, Lead Guitar) Joe joined Rain at the same time as Joey Curatolo back in 1982. After performing on the road with Beatlemania for two years, Joe earned a reputation for being an incredible guitarist. Over the many years that Beatlemania ran, there were many performers that portrayed the part of George Harrison, some could sing, some just looked the part, some were actually decent guitar players, but Joe Bithorn is in a class by himself. Joe can play any type of music,(rock, jazz, classical). He can play on any type of guitar, (electric acoustic, 12 string, guitar synthesizer). Lucky for Rain, Joe chooses to play Beatles. Joes virtuosity enables Rain to play songs that even the Beatles themselves avoided.
Ralph Castelli, (Drums, percussion, vocals) Ralph portrays Ringo Starr. An original cast member of Beatlemania in Los Angeles for five years. Not only is Ralph an excellent drummer and a fine singer, but his animated and funny personality add a great deal of energy to Rains live performance. His talents were so highly regarded by the producers of Beatlemariia, that he was picked to perform in the motion picture. Anyone who has seen Rain live will tell you, "Ralph is irreplaceable".
Mark Lewis, (Keyboards, percussion) Mark is the founding member of the group. It is universally known that the Beatles were a four piece group, so one might ask, "why does Rain have five?" The answer is simple. During the recording days of the Beatles, the group would often utilize strings, horns, additional keyboards, or an entire orchestra. This is where Mark comes into play. Due to the variety of sounds that can be reproduced electronically these days, Rain is able to venture into the era of the Beatles known as the "Studio Years". it is Marks presence in the band that enables them to perform virtually any song live. One might ask, "with modern technology the way it is today, why doesnt Rain just use tapes or computers like other bands do?". The answer to this question is equally simple. Number one, its cheating the audience, if you claim to be able to play something live, you should play it live. And number two, any band can play along with prerecorded music. But not every band can play the music live. Rain can. Rain does.
Randy Kuehn, (Audio Technician) Randy is the sixth member of the group. He has been with Rain since 1980. All of the hard work that goes into Rains strive for excellence is meaningless if when you get on stage, due to poor sound, your hard work doesnt show. It is Randys dedication that enables Rain to shine. Randy is the soundman. Not a soundman, but the soundman. It is Randys job to see to it that everything goes perfect, from the time the equipment shows up at the engagement, until the last piece of equipment is loaded into the truck. And to make sure that the sound that the audience hears is perfect. Which because of him, it always is.
It is very difficult to portray the Beatles live, if you truly want to do it right. First, you have to have the sound. Second, you have to have the ear in order to figure out the arrangements accurately. Third, you have to have the musicianship to play the musical parts, with all the right sounds, which, I might add, changed drastically over the years, and, the members have to have the talent and ability to perform their parts on several different instruments. Fourth, you have to be an incredible singer, with the ability to sing in several different styles, often in ridiculously high keys, and to be able to do this night after night. Last but not least, you have to be a great performer. This is the easy part, because when you love what you do, performing comes easy. Its easy to look like youre having fun on stage, when you truly are. It is this last ingredient that has kept Rain together for so many years, and made them a very special band. Rain is fun. And it is the sum of all of these ingredients that have earned Rain their well deserved reputation as "The Most Renowned Beatles Tribute in the World".