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Rain experiences ‘A Day in the Life’ of the Beatles

Nicole Lasee, Entertainment Editor
February 27, 2013
Filed under Entertainment, Top Stories

“I Rain, I don’t mind, shine the world looks fine,” said John Lennon.

A tribute band to The Beatles, Rain, visited the Brown County Arena Feb. 21. Rain is a multimedia production that included a video montage to salute The Beatles’ reign.

Invading America in 1964, The Beatles received more screams and swoons than any other group. The Beatles are still known as the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed act in the history of popular music.

Intrigue over The Beatles has spanned decades. Emerging from Liverpool in the 60s, The Beatles embodied the ideals of the era’s sociocultural revolutions. No one compared to them from their sound to their clothes. Even their hairstyles were distinct.

The Beatles staged their first American show Aug. 15, 1965 at the Shea Stadium in New York. Beatlemania was in full swing. The outdoor performance set records for attendance and revenue generation. Film footage taken at the outdoor concert shows teenagers and women crying, screaming and fainting. Four musicians turned the youth of the day into adoring fans for a lifetime.

The line-up consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. Throughout their albums, the band explores pop ballads, psychedelic rock, classical elements and other innovative musical techniques. The Beatles left 24 recorded albums for fans to experience time and time again.

Ending their musical stage career in 1969, The Beatles became introspective, spending their time in the studio writing and recording songs they would never perform.

The vision of Rain is to fill the musical void The Beatles left.

Starting in 2010 as a Broadway play, Rain now travels worldwide. The four members who played at the arena were Ian B. Garcia as Paul McCartney, Jimmy Irizarry as John Lennon, Chris McBurney as Ringo Starr, Jimmy Pou as George Harrison and Chris Smallwood on keyboards.

Rain presents a assortment of The Beatles’ whole career and tries to touch on each masterful moment.

Rain follows The Beatles, starting with their famous appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964 to the “Abby Road” era before they broke up. Rain ventured to Sgt. Peppers’ reign, an album never performed live. The Beatles recorded this album with a full orchestra in the studio among other percussionists.

“They have a lot to live up to playing Sgt. Pepper live,” said audience member Jim Kunstman. “They did look the part though. I never got to see George, John died when I was 15, and I’ve seen Ringo once and Paul twice. I really enjoyed the Rain show and they do look just like them.”

Kunstman and his wife Kelly heard about Rain from friends who saw them at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.

“They’re keeping the memory of The Beatles alive in a good way,” Kelly Kunstman said. “They’re doing a phenomenal job covering the greats. ‘Day in the Life’ is my favorite, or ‘Let it Be.’”

The selection process for Rain was tremendous. Rain consists of 12 rotating members who make viewers double-take because of their flawless resemblance to The Beatles.

“We see a Beatles cover band, American English, every year in Appleton,” Jim Kunstman said. “The quality of Rain’s music and the vocals are the same, but Rain has the screens and visual elements American English doesn’t have the budget for. I consider myself a Beatles professional, and Rain physically looks the part and their mannerisms are down, but Paul needs to be left-handed.”

Ringo impersonator Chris McBurney got his ticket to ride in 2011. Since his start, McBurney works day and night to learn how to emulate The Beatles.

“I didn’t realize what I was hearing until I started to delve into them and learn a note-to-note recreation of their songs,” McBurney said. “The ‘White Album’ was a huge part of my musical career. It was my first exposure to The Beatles and there are so many different, creative songs on the record. It was weird things in my ears I had never heard before.”

Rain practiced it’s performance to duplicate the streaming videos playing on screen. Every movement, walk-up and guitar placement was calculated.

“It’s a pretty amazing honor to be able to emulate The Beatles,” McBurney said. “They’re such a huge part of our culture. There are some skeptics who say, ‘Why don’t you play original music? Why ride on someone else’s coattails?’ But no one says those things to classical musicians. No one tells Yo-Yo Ma to stop playing Mozart. To me The Beatles are modern day classical music.”

McBurney plays with other bands in New York but said he has to get his Beatles fix in every day.

“The Beatles are set apart from other artists in their time because of the strong songwriting team of Lennon and McCartney and how they craft their songs,” McBurney said. “There’s just something special about all four of the guys and their chemistry. They fit in a perfect time and place in the 60s and moved with the world. Everything from their clothes, to their political ideals – they were right at the pulse of everything.”

Rain continues on their North American tour. The band will travel across the U.S. until May, ending in Honolulu, HI.