“Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles” pays apt homage to the Fab Four


Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles played three shows on March 3 and 4 at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Minneapolis, to the great delight of everyone on hand.

Which, frankly, is understandable. Aside from George Harrison, yours truly never found the band to be all that impressive. Even this reviewer, though, had to be blown away. One, the Beatles’ exhaustive catalog is indisputable evidence of pop-writing genius. Two, these guys (Mac Ruffing as Paul McCartney, Jimmy Irizarry as John Lennon, Chris McBurney as Ringo Starr, Tom Teeley as George Harrison, and Chris Smallwood backing up on piano), channel Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr beautifully, hitting both broad strokes and nuances, to quote strong Beatles influence Chuck Berry, “like a ring in a bell.”

The format revists the career of the most important group in the history of popular music, era by era. It’s a revue. Frankly, at lot better than most. What’s uncanny is how faithful the production is to the Beatles’ image and sound. Which makes the night an evening (two hours that go by in the blink of an eye) of theatrical magic and much musical fun. “I’m Happy Just to Dance With You” arrests, credited to the McCartney-Lennon songwriting team (the only way you could ever know who actually wrote what song was who sang lead) and written and recorded for the flick A Hard Day’s Night, giving Harrison a chance to stand center stage before he had developed sufficient writing chops. He already had, though, that intriguing, signature vocal style.

It doesn’t matter who your favorite Beatle was, each one is done justice.  It doesn’t matter if you’re too young have been around for the Beatles. This homage to history, like the music, itself, is timeless and reaches across generations. It’s hard to find an artist or band anywhere in rock or pop music that doesn’t owe a nod to these four musicians. 

For a chuckle, interspersed video segments take a look back at just how corny the ‘60s were when the Fab Four hit it big. When the Beatles helped usher in the advent of underground rock (the Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, and eventually the Jimi Hendrix Experience). They led the legendary British Invasion and forever changed American music. Nothing to sneeze at, huh?

Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles is, indeed, fitting tribute.

Coverage of issues and events affecting Central Corridor communities is funded in part by a grant from the Central Corridor Collaborative.