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Experience The Beatles With Rain at the Pantages

by Tony Medley

A few years back I was sitting with friends at Joni’s Coffee Roaster in Marina del Rey when the subject of Bruce Springsteen came up. When many of the people said how much they loved Springsteen’s music, I asked them to name his five best songs. They were stumped. The only one anyone could think of was Born in the USA. So I asked them to hum the melodies of some of their favorite Springsteen songs. Not one person was able to hum one melody that Springsteen wrote.

I said if somebody asked me to name my five favorite Beatles songs, it would take me a while to sift through them because I could probably come up with 50 off the top of my head. If they asked me to hum some melodies, I’d have to decide among all their melodies that waft through my head, like Yesterday, Let It Be, I Want to Hold Your Hand, Michelle; the list would go on and on.

There is no comparison between the quality of the music written by The Beatles and the quality of the music written by Bruce Springsteen. That’s proven by the band Rain, which tours the world performing a Beatles concert, with Beatles look– and sound–alikes. Thirty-five years from now does anybody think that there will be look- and sound-alikes of the E Street Band touring the world to sold out audiences?

The concert starts with videos of the current event from the 60s, like the hula hoop, Chubby Checker’s twist, and The Kennedys in the White House. It segues into the concert with Ed Sullivan introducing The Beatles on his television show in 1964, at which point the curtain rises and there are the mop top Beatles singing, I Want to Hold Your Hand.

Performing before a packed house at the Pantages, Steve Landes, Joey Curatolo, Job Bithorn, and Ralph Castelli, play the roles of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, respectively. Landes has Lennon down cold. His stance at the microphone playing the guitar is exactly as Lennon did, and his voice is an amazing replica. The others are high quality musicians. The arrangements are identical to the Beatles’ recorded performances of the songs, and the music rocks. The audience was up and down throughout the evening, clapping and singing along to the familiar songs, encouraged on by the performers, closing, naturally, with a rousing rendition of Hey, Jude.

The concert proceeds through the several stages of The Beatles’ short, seven-year life in the limelight, from mop tops to Sgt. Pepper to Abbey Road, with costumes to boot.

There is a camaraderie at these concerts. We all have something in common; we are all Beatlemaniacs. We got there early and sat in the Bar and talked with strangers about The Beatles. It was a wonderful feeling.

Last year I had press passes and sat up front. This year I wanted to experience as just a normal person in the audience and sat in row QQ, in the Orchestra but near the rear of the theater, under the balcony. I thought the sound was too loud, but it might have been because of the balcony over our heads because last year I don’t remember it being that loud and I was much closer.

There’s no way they can play the entire repertoire of Beatles music, but I was disappointed that my favorite Beatles song, Here, There, and Everywhere was not on the list.

I can’t understand why everyone wouldn’t love The Beatles’ music. However, even though my friend who accompanied me is not a Beatles fan, she loved the show.

May 13, 2013