Sunday, August 1st at 2:00 p.m. on WPBT2
– The RAIN Beatles Tribute Band “Comes Together” –
Feb. 9, 1964 was Sunday night that would change the course of popular music, popular culture — and history, forever! Millions of Americans tuned into The Ed Sullivan Show to watch a group of four mop-topped Englishmen in dark suits who called themselves The Beatles. What they witnessed was a new and exciting brand of melodic, guitar-and-harmonies-driven rock 'n' roll that was as infectious as it was original and unique. Little did the members of the current day Beatles Tribute Band, RAIN, know that they would themselves come together in a band, forging a career that would keep them together longer than The Beatles! Throughout this time, RAIN band members have raised the bar for professionalism and preservation of the legacy of The Beatles recorded music on stage to wildly enthusiastic audiences. Spanning the generations, RAIN audiences include older fans who never got to see The Beatles perform live and fans who were not yet born when The Beatles hit America. Regardless of age, the RAIN Beatles tribute band delivers a performance that is as entertaining as it is technically on par with The Beatles original works.
The story of the RAIN Beatles tribute band actually begins in the mid 1970s when keyboardist Mark Lewis joined forces with four other local musicians who together formed the band that was originally called “Reign” and played throughout the Los Angeles/Orange County, CA area. With their mutual love for the music of The Beatles, Reign was in high demand to play Beatles music and rode an enormous wave of nostalgia for the band that had broken up in 1970. Before long they had built a strong devoted following in and around Los Angeles. Following numerous misspellings in the media and advertising, “Reign” became RAIN (also the title of a 1966 Beatles single). A big break came for the RAIN Beatles tribute band when Dick Clark hired them to record the music for the 1979 made-for-TV movie Birth of the Beatles.
The intention of the touring RAIN Broadway show was not just to cover Beatle songs, but to take it to a new level – to perform songs that The Beatles had never performed live, and play them note-for-note, just like the records. At this time, ‘tribute bands’ were non-existent.
Since the 1980s, for the five longtime RAIN band members – Joey Curatolo (vocals, bass, guitar, piano), Joe Bithorn (vocals, lead guitar, guitar synthesizer), Ralph Castelli (vocals, drums, percussion), the addition of Steve Landes (vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica) in 1998 — all of whom performed in the hit Broadway and touring productions of Beatlemania — and Mark Lewis, RAIN’s founding member (keyboards, percussion), the music is first and foremost. For more than two decades, the RAIN Beatles band has distinguished itself by focusing on details, always being faithful to The Beatles with the ultimate goal of delivering a perfect note-for-note performance. All the music is performed live, with no pre-recorded tapes or sequences. They approach The Beatles music with the same respect a classical musician treats classical music. RAIN band members worked hard for many years, studying each song, each note, movement and nuance…both vocally and musically. Today, they have a repertoire of over 200 Beatle songs. The members of RAIN are extraordinarily talented musicians in their own right and this becomes more evident with each show they do. RAIN audiences experience their own personal journey back to a time when Peace and Love was everyone’s mantra.
It’s difficult to believe that it has been more than four decades since The Beatles first came to America and that two of our beloved idols left us too soon. Equally hard to believe is the fact that this band, whose music touched so many millions of people around the world, was only experienced live in concert by very few. Their final concert tour was in 1966, long before the release of many of their classic albums such as “Sgt. Pepper,” “The White Album” and “Abbey Road.” This left a tremendous void in the music world and concert halls which now has been filled by the RAIN Beatles tribute band.
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