Smile Politely

An apt time for a Beatles tribute

rainWith the onset of Beatles video games and the newly remastered Beatles catalogue, an entirely new generation is being exposed to the music of the Beatles via the vocabulary of today. Ironically, camp and kitsch have been used in the continuous promotion of the Beatles for decades.

So with warm arms, Champaign-Urbana will greet RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles when they take the stage at the University of Illinois Assembly Hall tonight.

All veterans of the late 1970s Broadway musical, Beatlemania, RAIN’s four primary performers have certainly logged their fair share of tributary hours. Moreover, the members have more than 4,000 shows under their belt together. Combine that amount of dedication with an intense arena-sized multimedia experience and RAIN will, pardon the pun, shower you with mind-blowing accuracy only matched by the originals.

Like most Beatles tributes, RAIN traces the Beatles’ rise and fall chronologically with five sets from five distinct eras (1964 Ed Sullivan, Shea Stadium, Sgt Pepper, Flower Power and Abbey Road). Where RAIN pioneers new territory is with the addition of live performances of Sgt Pepper through Abbey Road material which was never performed live by the Fab Four.

Having seen, or experienced rather, the Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil incarnation of the Beatles, RAIN may be perhaps a step down on the multimedia ladder, but a step up on live musicianship. That can only be a good thing as most of those Cirque du Soleil performances are better experienced in the Las Vegas setting, state of mind or lack thereof. If you’re after that vibe, RAIN will have a comparable visual assault featuring a “multi-dimensional” event with five different scene/costume changes, three video screens, live camera projections, craftily edited television commercials, and historical footage from the 60s.

As with any sort of tribute, expect a little campiness. Given that the Beatles were at one point the kings of camp, expect RAIN to likewise turn it to eleven. But for the diehard fans and even their kids these days, RAIN will have a little something for everyone (but don’t expect any caricatures of Yoko bugging out or Phil Spector brandishing guns during the closing sets).

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are still available ranging from $35 to $48. U of I students receive a $10 discount and discounts are available for groups of ten or more.

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