For more than 40 years, Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles has enthralled fans of the band with not only musical recreations, but elaborate sets, evolving multimedia and a little bit of acting.
The show even landed on Broadway in 2010-11 and is regarded as the longest-running Beatles tribute act.
Named after the song that first appeared as a B-side to “Paperback Writer” in 1966, Rain will visit the Fox Theatre on Sunday for one show, the scene of an extended run in 2009. Among the band’s usual canon of Beatles songs, they will perform “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in its entirety to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the iconic album.
Naturally, the band members have shifted over the years, and the current lineup includes some Rain history – bassist Paul Curatolo, who plays Paul McCartney, is the son of longtime Rain member Joey Curatolo (now the show’s musical director).
Curatolo the younger, 28, checked in from Florida this week, where the new Rain tour just launched, to talk with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Kaedy Kiely of The River (97.1-FM) about what fans can expect from this latest magical mystery tour (hear the full interview at www.971theriver.com).
Q: Tell us about this year’s show and what you’re doing differently.
A: It’s completely new and updated and fresh. We’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of “Sgt. Pepper.” That album still holds up with being innovative in terms of the sounds they used. Learning how to do that live was really something else; it took a lot of work and know-how.
Q: Is there a song that was particularly challenging to translate?
A: “She’s Leaving Home” is one of the most famous ballads. It’s all orchestra and Paul’s vocals, so that was interesting for our keyboard player to sample all of the strings live on stage. It’s so rewarding. Every night I get to step into that record and our audience gets to watch it come to life.
Q: How do you describe the show to people who haven’t experienced it?
A: It’s one of a kind now. It’s been deemed a jukebox musical, but it’s a concert hidden in a Broadway show. It has theatrical costume changes, LED screens, different videos and re-enactments. It’s kind of walking the audience through the iconic career of the Beatles.
Q: How is one chosen to be a member of Rain? Is there a certain criteria, like, you have to look like the guy you’re playing?
A: My father is an original cast member of the group (also as McCartney), so I’m a full-bred – I’ve been in training since I was born! For the other guys, the music comes first. Being an A-class musician and singer is really the first qualification. We’re so lucky that the look and mannerisms and personalities all line up. Everybody fits their slots so effortlessly.
Q: What was it like growing up with your dad in the band?
A: I was definitely aware of it. I was a musician in my own right. I started as a drummer, and the other instruments just happened. I would help dad carry his guitars and costumes and help set up and tear down (the stage), so to get this opportunity to wear his shoes is so amazing to me.
Q: How difficult is it to play bass upside down (to emulate McCartney’s left-handed playing)?
A: At the beginning it was challenging. But now it’s like a baseball player, like a switch hitter. Now my left hand has finally given in.
Q: Have you met McCartney?
A: No, I haven’t met Paul yet. Fingers crossed. I’d like to meet him as just a fan. I’ve learned so much from his music, so I’d like to meet him just to say thank you. We know (the Beatles) know about the show and we hope that they like it and that they know we’re paying tribute. We’re their biggest fans and want to celebrate their legacy.
Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles
5 p.m. Sunday. $35-$85. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 1-855-285-8499, http://www.foxtheatre.org.