Thursday, April 29, 2010

RAIN, My Inner Fangirl, And A Palindrome...

Well, the final night of three for Beatles tribute band RAIN concluded a few hours ago.
Why do I tell you this?
Well, I thought you might like to hear about it.
Oh, come now, are you sure you don't want to?
Are you going to change your mind?
I hope so, 'cause I'm doing it anyway.

The evening was entertaining, of course, however, the bang for my buck was to watch for, as I would call it "what the lads would do".
Before we recount the show, I'll give you a run-down of my thoughts on each individual.
I don't remember their real names, so I'll just refer to them as Fake-John/Paul/George/Ringo.

Fake-John : When impersonating John Lennon, you walk a fine line between authenticity and caricature; his toes crossed that line occasionally, but, to an untrained eye, he was more than passable. I thought he held onto early Beatle John a little too long (John did not bounce about like a nervous kid in 1968), but, as I said, more than passable.
He also, on occasion, had the "Lennon tune" as I've heard it called before. John's range is incredible, and it's hard for an impersonator to replicate... he hit it a few times, but let his Scouser accent rule a little too heavily in places.

Fake-Ringo : How effing hard is it to impersonate Ringo? Not very. Though, F-R's drum solo on "The End" was brilliant... you may as well have taken a studio outtake and played it, definitely a highlight of the performance.

Fake-Paul : The Precious has such a distinct voice, it's incredibly difficult to replicate. Hell, even Paul sometimes doesn't sound like Paul... then, of course, you just glaze over with a contented grin on your face, saying "he's The Precious, he can do what he wants". I have heard worse F-Ps, but I've also heard better. At least, F-Ps that didn't sound like Fake-Georges. I think this F-P used to play George, but they replaced him with... uh, we'll get to that in a moment.
As far as "what the lads would do", I didn't think F-P really came alive until the end of the first act, where they came out in the Pepper suits. Everything until then was just a warm up for that guy, I guess.
Another thing that confused me about F-P was that, when he had the bass out (or, as I like to call the Real Hofner, "The Hof"), it was, indeed, a left-handed bass; but whenever he would play guitar - be it acoustic or electric - they were right-handed. (Paul, for those who may not be aware, is left-handed.) Wrap your brainbox around that one.

And, last but not least (though I'll be the judge of that on THIS blog, thank you)...
Fake-George : I have to admit, I'm probably the most judgemental about F-Gs than the others. I have to put it down to the fact that I once had a fabulous experience with a Fake-George (he thought I was special, and I thought he WAS George Harrison... even Paul himself said that that particular George impersonator was like playing with the real man... and I'd ruddy well believe it), so I was spoiled, never to return to a fair world of judging F-Gs again.
This F-G, however, makes me cringe a little bit.
I watched with anticipation for "The George Dance"...

He'd done at least five numbers before he whipped it out (missing several opportunities to dazzle us), and even then, it looked as though F-G had had a double knee replacement operation.
Then, of course, during the second act, he gets to sing.
As the acoustic demo version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps begins to play, I wait anxiously to hear if he sounds as much like George as Fake-Paul does.
Oh. My. GOD.
Fake-George sounded more like this...

Yes, Fake-Paul sounded more like George than Fake-George could hope to.

Oh well... such is life!
Now, on to the show!
These guys performed some very ambitious numbers, and some I'd like to see The Fab Four, my favorite Beatles tribute band (the one with Could-Be-The-Real-George) attempt, such as This Boy, The End, Norwegian Wood, and In My Life, not to mention starting out While My Guitar Gently Weeps in acoustic.
As far as the music goes, though, I had one major complaint: they omitted verses from songs! I can think of quite a few that they took out, for reasons unknown, but were very blatant. Questionable, indeed.

There was a lot of, what I would venture to call "flash and dash" in the show.
They spent quite a lot of time/effort/money to recreate things like the first landing in America (no, not the Pilgrims, keep up with the program!), a few press conferences to use between set changes, and a recreation of the Apple Rooftop concert, not to mention the other videos they used that didn't even have the Fake-Beatles in them.
Speaking of set changes, there were a lot of them. That curtain must've gone down three or four times before intermission so the set could be changed, and the performers could, too, filling the emptiness with vintage commercials for Winston cigarettes and Prell shampoo.
They closed the second act with "A Day In The Life", and quickly ran off for another set/costume change.
To keep the psychedelic feeling going, they FINALLY played some Donovan (yes, I'm pathetic, I kept an eye out for him, bouncing excitedly in my seat, then complaining loudly when you could barely hear him). Surprisingly enough, when they came back onstage, they played from the Magical Mystery Tour LP, which, in my opinion, they should have included in the Pepper/Summer of Love package... after all, it was released in '67, too, AND it was the Pepper reject pile! Use your heads, kids!

Something I just loved that they did during the second act would have to be the acoustic set. They went back to Rubber Soul ('65, and they're dressed like they're going to have a stroll across the zebra crossing at Abbey Road?) for Norwegian Wood, and And I Love Her, before going into the travesty that was While My Guitar Gently Weeps, breaking the acoustic feel with the best thing about the whole performance, the electric guitar solo at the end of While My Guitar Gently Weeps.
Then, of course, off for another costume change.

Favorite numbers of the night, you ask?
Well, funny you should say, for I have something prepared!
From the first half, the ambitious This Boy...

I was surprised they did that one... it shows off the famous three-part harmonies in heavenly golden layers, with a fabulously Eddie Cochran solo from John. Pure gold from the guys, and a stand-out from Rain. Boy, I'd love to see The Fab Four do this number!

From the second half, Norwegian Wood...

Fake-John hit his peak with this number. He sounded fabulous, and I was incredibly surprised. This was a very brave song to perform, because it was the first time the fellas used sitar in a song. I waited for them to pull out the giant string instrument, only to hear a country-fied, twang-tastic guitar replacing the original sitar piece. Appalling, but the best song of the second act, nonetheless.

Another thing I have fun with at these kinds of shows would be watching the fans.
Being incredibly proud of the fact that I have seen The Precious myself ten times (yes, ten, count them, you use up both of your hands, and almost have to take off your shoes!), I wore my latest concert shirt (except mine has three-quarter length sleeves), as did my mother.
As we walked in the door, a little boy, probably no older than nine, shrieked with glee, pointed at my mother's shirt and excitedly shouted "PAUL MCCARTNEY! I LOVE HIM, ESPECIALLY SAY, SAY, SAY WITH MICHAEL JACKSON!" I was proud for The Precious in that moment.
The best fan moment of the evening, though, was when the band played Revolution!
The entire back row (all four of us) shouted and raised peace signs in the air at exactly the same moment... it was as though it was choreographed. A beautiful moment, as the whole back row took in the scene. To which I must say "GO, BACK ROW!"

Overall, it was a highly enjoyable evening, filled with laughter, gigglefits, and the occasional breakthrough of raw potential.
There were no Yoko jokes (though, in one of the videos, I think I spotted Heather Mills), so these guys are A-OK so far as I'm concerned.

Speaking of Yoko, she posted a very interesting link over at Imagine Peace yesterday, and I suggest everyone take a look at it... I know I did, and I am now (quick, cue the music!)...

We'll now close this incredibly boring post with a dedication to a fellow Macca fan...

Ricky The K's Solid Gold Time Machine

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