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‘Rain’ brings the ‘Beatles’ back to Fresno, this time to celebrate ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’

THEATER REVIEW

Editor’s note: I’ve seen the national tour of “Rain” before, so I thought it’d be fun to get a younger perspective of the updated version that came through town last night. Paige Gibbs is a Fresno State journalism major in my advanced editing class. Here’s her take on the Fresno tour stop. — DM

By Paige Gibbs

Yes, I wasn’t born when “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was originally released over 50 years ago.

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Kasper Gailey, 13, shows his true Beatles colors Thursday night at the Saroyan Theatre. Photo / Paige Gibbs

But “Rain,” last night’s Beatles tribute at the Saroyan Theatre, proved to me that The Beatles are still relevant and their music is stretching through the ages to generations well beyond their time.

Every age group was represented at the show, from the young at heart to those born in the 21st century.

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Dedicated fans attended outfitted with their own renditions of Sgt. Pepper-style military uniforms in neon pink and candy apple red. Peace signs and phone flashlights held up like lighters abounded.

I’ve only seen historical footage of the Fab Four, but “Rain” perfectly captures John, Paul, George and Ringo as I know them from the recording of the 1964 Ed Sullivan Show.

No small detail is left out, from John’s bouncing knees to Paul’s head shimmy. Even Ringo is back on the drums bopping in time. The accuracy is uncanny.

Every song is played completely live, even bringing in a fifth member to play instruments featured on studio recorded songs.

The sheer stamina of the musicians is impressive. The show ran over two hours with a short intermission. (But for the band, this is a costume change.)

The LED light show is fun and psychedelic. Giant screens behind the band play clips from the national tour and other entertaining multimedia. Cameras opposite the stage project capture audience members singing and dancing along.

“Rain” is light-hearted and imaginative. It effectively portrays the group’s growth as a band, experimentation with drugs and Eastern influence, and eventual breakup. For those who love the Beatles and the “Sgt. Pepper” album, there were no lonely hearts Thursday at the Saroyan.


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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

donaldfresnoarts@gmail.com

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