CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The second to last show of the Clay Center's Broadway in Charleston played Tuesday night to an almost packed house. "Experience the Beatles with Rain" was a two and a half hour trip back in time.
While Rain -- a spot-on Beatles cover band -- played everyone's favorite tunes, two giant screens flanked the stage reeling through period appropriate news clips, sound bites of Beatles interviews and psychedelic visuals. It was all a bit overwhelming at first.
However, it was quickly easy to see the large crowd had come to immerse themselves in the experience. Far enough from the stage and with the aid of all the special effects it was easy to temporarily lose one's self and slip back in time. In fact, it all felt uncannily real.
The concert began on the set of The Ed Sullivan Show with four bright-eyed mop-topped young men playing early songs like "She Loves You," and "I Wanna Hold Your Hand."
In between the time periods and minimal set changes, old commercials and songs played across the large screens.
When the curtain rose, the audience had been propelled forward to 1965 as the Beatles conquered Shea Stadium. Songs like "Day Tripper" and "Help" filled the auditorium as clips of the Shea Stadium audience looped across the monitors, complete with the original fans fainting, screaming and being dragged off by security.
As the curtain fell again and commercials for cigarettes, hair relaxers, detergents and shampoos filled the screen members of the present day audience could be heard nervously giggling and whispering "I remember that!"
When Rain again took the stage they had morphed into the Beatles of the Sgt. Pepper era. Some albums, like Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, are meant to be taken as a whole. This is probably the hardest of the Beatles albums to pull off because any cover band can play a song or two but to re-create the experience of the album without playing it in its entirety is difficult.
With the help of special effects and some prerecorded instrumental back up, Rain was able to accomplish this feat pulling the audience in and creating that special feel with only a few of the more well-known songs like "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "When I'm 64."