Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles Plays at the Saenger Theatre
By Hana Frenette
Have a little help from your friends and maybe you’ll end up on Broadway. It might help if you possess the talent to perform every Beatles song note for note and can mimic every gesture of their performances down to a head nod.
Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles is coming to the Saenger Theatre before they make their Broadway debut on Oct. 19.
“It’s one of the most popular and most award-winning Beatles tribute shows,” said Kathy Summerlin, marketing director of the Saenger Theatre. “We had a lot of requests for it way before we booked it.”
Mark Lewis, original keyboardist-turned-band manager, started the band in 1975 in California.
“Originally, when we first got together, our goal was to put out our own original records,” Lewis said. “We always loved doing Beatles songs, and then the idea of doing an entire Beatles set came up.”
The band began playing Beatles cover sets in bars and nightclubs around southern California.
“The Beatles were broken up and weren’t touring, so there was a great demand to hear their music live,” Lewis said. “And back in those days, nobody really imitated them.”
Rain made a name for themselves with the Beatles’ fans and became popular with the nightclub circuit.
“We brought in a good crowd, and a club owner would call us up and ask for us to come back,” Lewis explained. “Then an agent said he’d heard of us and then, the next thing you know, we’re Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles.”
Several band members left around the time Rain started to rise in popularity, and a few members from the tribute band Beatlemania were incorporated into the mix.
“In 1979, Dick Clark hired us to do the soundtrack for ‘Birth of the Beatles,’” Lewis said.
“Birth of the Beatles” was made only nine years after the Beatles announced their breakup, and is the only biopic about the band that was made while John Lennon was still alive.
After the band began to gain notoriety, Lewis stepped away from the performance side and stepped into the role of band manager.
“I began handling all the business aspects and it just seemed to work,” Lewis said.
Rain performs songs of the Beatles from the days of “The Ed Sullivan Show” to the “Sgt. Pepper” and “Abbey Road” eras, including many songs that the Beatles never played live.
“In 1966, the Beatles became a studio band, primarily,” Lewis added, “so all the songs from ‘Revolver,’ ‘Abbey Road,’ ‘The White Album,’ and ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ were never really performed live.”
Rain has spent years mastering every nuance of the Beatles’ live performances and has been called the best Beatles tribute band to exist.
Thousands of performances and practices have led to their success and their recent addition to the Broadway lineup.
“Sometimes I honestly have to pinch myself,” Lewis said. “I only ever dreamt that we would make it to Broadway.”
Rain will perform for 11 weeks on Broadway. You can catch a pre-Broadway performance at the Saenger Theatre on Oct. 5. This is your chance to relive the 60s and reminisce about the greatest pop band of all time—or if you weren’t alive then, this performance will give you the chance to pretend you were.
RAIN: A TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5
WHERE: Saenger Theatre, 118 S. Palafox Place
DETAILS: ticketmaster.com, or pensacolasaenger.com