‘Rain’ delivers downpour of Beatles’ hits

Submitted photo Paul Curatolo serves as the Paul McCartney surrogate in “Rain — A Tribute to the Beatles,” which comes to Packard Music Hall on Oct. 27.

WARREN –A lot of sons end up in the family business.

In the Curatolo family, that business is being Paul McCartney.

Paul Curatolo’s father, Joey, played McCartney in “Beatlemania” and originated the role in “Rain — A Tribute to the Beatles,” which started out in lounges, played 300 performances on Broadway in 2010-11 and has toured ever since.

Paul — yes, he’s named after that Paul — grew up around the show, although his first instrument wasn’t a left-handed Hofner bass, it was a drum kit.

After joining the pop band Wayward at age 14 and recording five albums, Curatolo went to “Beatle boot camp” with his dad to succeed him in “Rain” (his father still is music director for the touring production).

“It was a lot of one-on-one coaching, six months of learning Sir Paul’s bass playing technique and writing style and guitar playing technique,” Curatolo said during a telephone interview from a tour stop in Morristown, N.J. “Then we delved into his vocal inflections. The music comes first. That’s the most important part of celebrating The Beatles.

“Then I went down the rabbit hole on YouTube, studying not only The Beatles’ live performances and videos, but also McCartney’s solo work. … You’re never quite finished. There’s always something new, something you’ve never seen them do before.”

Curatolo anxiously is awaiting Peter Jackson’s upcoming six-hour documentary on the making of the “Let It Be” album, both as an extreme Beatles’ fan and for the professional insight it may provide.

Curatolo described “Rain” as, “The Beatles Anthology in concert form. It steps into the 21st century with giant LED screens and connects the audience with the music. A lot of fans say it’s like they stepped into the album.”

Because of the costumes, LED screens and video components, “Rain” is more like a theatrical event than a tribute band. That said, the production coming to Packard Music Hall next week isn’t identical to the one that played Broadway a decade ago. Curatolo said changes are made for each tour. In 2017 “Rain” celebrated the 50th anniversary of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by playing the iconic album in its entirety, and the current tour spotlights the greatest hits of the “Abbey Road” album.

But once the tour setlist is chosen, the production doesn’t veer from it (so shouting out a request for “Revolution 9” or some other rarity is futile).

Many of the songs performed in “Rain” never were played for a live audience by the Fab Four, nor were they intended to be.

“A lot of their recording innovations still to this day are unmatched,” Curatolo said.

As a result the foursome (Curatolo, vocals, bass, piano and guitar as McCartney; Steve Landes, vocals, rhythm guitar, piano and harmonica as John Lennon; Alastar McNeil, vocals and lead guitar as George Harrison; and Aaron Chiazza, drums, percussion and vocals as Ringo Starr) becomes a quintet with a keyboard player to handle all of the orchestral bits needed.

Curatolo deftly deflects the question of his favorite Beatles song — “It depends on the day, it depends on the mood,” he said — but he seems particularly fond of that “Rubber Soul” / “Revolver” period when John, Paul, George and Ringo were transitioning from a boy band that churned out one hit after another to a the more adventurous, album-oriented artists who delivered “Sgt. Pepper.”

‘Wearing those cool paisleys and suedes and shining a light on some of the better records they made before segueing into the psychedelic summer of love is really rewarding,” he said.

If you go …

WHAT: “Rain — A Tribute to the Beatles”

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28

WHERE: Packard Music Hall, 1703 Mahoning Ave NW, Warren

HOW MUCH: Tickets range from $35 to $79.50 and are available through Ticketmaster.


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