Sunday, February 18, 2018

Rain Reigns

Been a while since we blogged a bit, so got a lot of catching up to do.  Let's start it off with a bit of a Magical Mystery Tour, shall we?

Me lovely bride Jackie surprised me with a delightful Christmas gift, that being a pair of tickets to see Rain, the Beatles tribute band performing at the Wang Theatre in Boston.  My wife knows I'm a bit of a Beatles enthusiast, though I pale in comparison to the like of my brother, Jimmy, or our late friend, Martin Brewer.  But I'm not too shabby when it comes to the Fab Four.  They are literally the first band I remember listening to as a young lad.  Partly because it was the only music that my brother played at all hours of the day, but also because the music resonated with a young Lad from Lowell.  My respect and admiration for the entire catalogue of their music over such a short span of years has only grown exponentially over the ensuing decades.

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
Sadly, I've only seen Sir Paul live, and wasn't able to catch the others during their heydey.  But somewhere in the early 1980s, my brother took me to see Beatlemania, one of the early national touring Beatles cover band, and it was certainly the next best thing available at the time.  (Rain predates Beatlemania, by the way.)
Flash forward nearly 30 years, and there I was sitting with thousands of other Beatles enthusiasts at the Wang, eagerly waiting to see this incarnation of tribute bands.  Rain has previously played on Broadway, and features a somewhat chronological history of the band, playing nearly three dozen of their songs during the 2 1/2 hour performance.

The foursome were joined on stage by Mark Lewis, the band's manager, founding member and keyboardist.  Opening the night was Chachi Loprete, whose local Breakfast with the Beatles I've been listening to on Sunday mornings before our group runs for years.  He gave away an LP version - they still make those?!? - of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the album released more than 50 YEARS AGO (June 1, 1967), to a trivia question answer winner in the audience.  So for those Beatles fans among us, here you go:  On the album cover, Paul McCartney wears a powder-blue military style uniform, sporting an OPP badge on his left arm.  What's the OPP stand for? (See below)
Answer?  O.P.P. stands for the Ontario Provincial Police.  The patch was apparently given to John Lennon the day after their August 17, 1966 concert in Toronto, Canada by a summer student working in the garage of the Police Headquarters as the group was being transferred to a police van for the trip to the airport.  So there you go, your Beatles news nugget this fine winter morning!

And with that, we were off to the Ed Sullivan show, February 9, 1964 (four months before I made my own debut), and the British Invasion had begin, with more than 70 million viewers tuning in to watch the Lads from Liverpool in their Chesterfield suits.  Truly, Beatlemania had begun in earnest.

Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name
Nobody came
Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave
No one was saved

From there, Rain moved on to the raucous sounds from August 15, 1965, when the Beatles took the stage in their nehru jackets at Shea Stadium in front of 55,000 screaming fans, most of whom probably couldn't hear a single note from the Fab Four over the ear-shattering screams of the throngs of hysterical fans.  Ron Howard's recent documentary Eight Days a Week captured the manic insanity of this event quite nicely, and at the same time, sadly.
From there, it was on to one of the greatest concept albums of all time, played in its entirety, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 

I read the news today, oh boy
About a lucky man who made the grade
And though the news was rather sad
Well, I just had to laugh
I saw the photograph
This next pic goes out to my brother, the encyclopedia of all things Beatles.

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?

Newspaper taxis appear on the shore
Waiting to take you away
Climb in the back with your head in the clouds
And you're gone

You say you'll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it's the institution
Well, you know
You'd better free your mind instead

The group veered away from the full Beatles setlist only once, and perhaps fittingly given the nation's current unrest, with Lennon's  Give Peace a Chance.

All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance 

The long and winding road, that leads, to your door
Will never disappear, I've seen that road before
It always leads me here, lead me to your door

Take a bow boys, you done the Beatles quite honorably. 

I'd like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition.

For more info about Rain, visit the band's website here:

And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love
You make