Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

January 13, 2015 at 3:04pm

Strawberry Fields Forever: Reuniting the Fab Four in Tacoma

Yup, the Four are still Fab and tribute shows abound. But Rain has the edge, including a multimedia presentation that incorporates original footage. Press photo

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I had the great privilege of seeing Paul McCartney live in Kansas City back in 1993. I traveled there from Oklahoma with my good friend Shawn and his mother, and all three of us enjoyed the show immensely. As we were creeping out of the parking lot, Shawn's mom remarked, "He was a lot better this time than the last time I saw him." Excuse me? Come to find out, she had seen the Beatles live on their 1964 American tour. She said the sound was bad. They played a dozen songs and could barely be heard over ten thousand shrieking teenagers.

In some ways, modern audiences have it better. We can listen to the Fab Four in stunning remastered stereo and mono editions. We know all the words and get to sing along with every "na" in "Hey Jude," and no one can tell us to pipe down. There will never be another Beatles. It's been 50 years now, and no one's come close. Having said that, it's still possible to recreate the experience of seeing them live. I can vouch for a group called 1964, having caught them in Arizona, and you can test the impersonation skills of Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles this Wednesday, Jan. 21.

The show features a rotating cast of musicians in a multimedia spectacular that carry the band from its jangly, Liverpudlian roots to the grand psychedelic finale of Abbey Road (in my opinion, the greatest pop disc ever recorded) and Let It Be. Since the cover band's inception in 1975, its members have played everywhere from Broadway to the Today show. Dick Clark (who'd know better?) was so impressed by their vocal talents that he engaged Rain for the soundtrack of his 1979 film The Birth of the Beatles, directed by Richard Marquand (Return of the Jedi). Expect full-scale productions of such classics as "Come Together" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." In other words, anticipate greatness.

One of the things I love about writing promotional pieces like this is I come across interesting trivia about the artists in question. Sometimes they fit into the article; sometimes not. This factoid isn't all that relevant, but it is so juicy so I have no choice but to throw it in anyway. (It's my Volcano preview; I can do what I want. Consider it my contribution to the font of public knowledge.) Back in 1977, Dr. Carl Sagan and his then partner, later wife, Ann Druyan, hit on the idea of attaching a golden LP record to the Voyager spacecraft. With only six weeks to complete the task, the NASA team was understandably frantic. Among the pieces of music they sought to include was "Here Comes the Sun." The Beatles themselves were all for it. Their label, EMI, unfortunately, owned the rights and nixed the idea on grounds of copyright infringement. Sorry, V'ger. No Beatles for you.

RAIN: A TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21, Pantages Theater, 901 Broadway, Tacoma, $29-$85, 253.591.5890

Filed under: Music, Tacoma,
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