Long-time locals know that the group – a Beatles tribute show that frequently ranks among the top 20 touring acts in North America – cut its teeth in Reno and Tahoe showrooms. Ironically, Rain’s increasing success, including a recent run on Broadway, has led to fewer local performances, even though three of the original members still live in Reno.
Friday’s concert – one of five scheduled as part of the Pioneer’s Broadway Comes to Reno series – marked the first time Rain has delivered a public show here in nearly a decade, and time hasn’t diminished the act. These days, Rain is a full-on multimedia spectacular, complete with videos, costume changes and a parade of Beatles hits.
Although band members don’t call themselves by the names of the original Fab Four, there’s no question they’re trying to give audiences a true Beatles experience. Everything from the clothing that the performers wear to the instruments they play appear vintage, and the music is astonishingly well rendered. Reno’s Joey Curatolo is Rain’s version of Paul McCartney, and his voice is remarkably similar. Likewise, Steve Landes does a fine job singing John Lennon’s melodies, and Joe Bithorn slices through George Harrison’s guitar solos as though he wrote them. Ralph Castelli, another Reno local, plays all of Ringo Starr’s drum parts with finesse, while also doing a reasonably good job mimicking Ringo’s quirky vocal style.
Because Rain plays all its music live – and because the band plays tunes the Beatles never attempted anywhere but a studio – keyboard player Mark Beyer is a huge part of the show, providing everything from strings on “Eleanor Rigby” to horn lines on “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Before The Beatles broke up, the group cranked out some mind-numbingly complex orchestrations using multi-track recording technology, and it's a tribute both to modern equipment and the excellent musicians in Rain that they are able to recreate these sounds on stage.