If you go
Who: Rain – Tribute to The Beatles
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Powers Auditorium, 260 W. Federal St., Youngstown
Tickets: Call 330-744-0264
260 W Federal Plaza, Youngstown
By John Benson
For more than two decades, John Landes has being singing “All You Need is Love” to audiences of Rain — Tribute to The Beatles, which makes its Youngstown debut Wednesday at Powers Auditorium.
However, the Fab Four experience recently received a face lift of sorts after spending nearly a year playing on Broadway.
“It was an amazing experience, something that really helped us up our level,” said Landes, who plays the part of John Lennon. “We really wanted to make this the perfect Beatles show, the best that can be out there, and so Broadway helped us to do that with adding all of the visual candy — more sets and costumes and multimedia.”
Basically, the concept of the show is the same, with the added bells and whistles taking audiences back to iconic moments in the band’s history, including background stage sets from “The Ed Sullivan Show” and the “All You Need Is Love” music video. Actually, the notion of a Beatles tribute show reaching Broadway shouldn’t come as a surprise considering more than 30 years ago, “Beatlemania” was the rage.
Not only did that Fab Four walk down memory lane touring the nation for years, but Landes and his Rain — Tribute to The Beatles bandmates, Joey Curatolo (Paul McCartney), Joe Bithorn (George Harrison) and Ralph Castelli (Ringo Starr) are veterans of both productions.
“The thing about ‘Beatlemania’ is it was almost a show about the ’60s that had Beatles music attached to it,” Landes said. “We always wanted to flip that around, so our show is about The Beatles, about the music. It’s replicating the greatest music ever written and recorded for the rock genre and performing it live on stage as authentically as possible.”
Part of that live experience for the casual fan includes the majority of The Beatles hits, while Landes said diehards get more than a few nuggets. Obscure tracks include “Rubber Soul’s” “Girl” and “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” as well as The White Album’s “Mother Nature’s Son” and “Hard Day’s Night’s” “I’m Happy Just to Dance With You.”
So what does Landes feel Lennon would say about this Beatles tribute act?
“I hope that he would see that what we do, we do out of love and respect for everything that he and the other Beatles accomplished and were trying to put out into the world,” Landes said.
Fixated on The Beatles since the age of 10, the precocious Landes, a Philadelphia native, taught himself guitar by listening to the group. By age 13, he was fronting a top-40 cover band, and at 17, he joined “Beatlemania.” He joined Rain — Tribute to The Beatles in 1998 and hasn’t looked back.
Perhaps there is no one better to ask whether The Beatles mantra “All You Need is Love” is truly all one needs?
“That’s very true,” Landes said. “That’s the foundation; that’s what life is all about.”