Reporting Pat Ciarrocchi
By Pat Ciarrocchi
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The next best thing to seeing the Beatles in concert is on stage now at the Academy of Music. The show is “RAIN—A Tribute to the Beatles.”
The production also brings Lansdale native Steve Landes, who has the vocal and instrumental role of John Lennon, home to Philadelphia.
“It’s huge shoes to fill, believe me,” says Landes.
With five performances between Thursday night and Sunday afternoon, “RAIN” is a show that Landes says is actually a rock concert.
“By the end of the show, people are up singing and dancing. There is no way to see the Beatles out there anymore, and people long for it.”
“RAIN” is a note-for-note reproduction that is all live on stage.
“We take great pains to replicate the music as authentically as possible,” says Landes. “I get the wonderful part of being John Lennon up there for a couple of hours.”
Landes grew up in Lansdale, Montgomery County, where his parents bought him a guitar at the age of 10, and his father taught him the chords to Beatles’ songs. The rest, he improvised, and it was good enough to build a music career that took him to Broadway for “RAIN.”
The best part?
“When the curtain goes up, and we are replicating February 9th, 1964—The Ed Sullivan Show. People’s eyes go wide.”
When you hear the music, it’s hard to imagine that John Lennon, who was killed in 1980, has been gone for 32 years. But Landes, who has been recreating his music for 13 years, says Lennon’s music has a message that’s still relevant today.
“Yes, there are some things that separate us…if we let them. But at the end of the day, it’s all about realizing that no matter what we believe, no matter where we come from, we’re all just the same. We’re all one people on this earth.”
He emphasized, “John Lennon’s message was about bringing people together.”
And that’s what “RAIN” is doing too.
For tickets and times, visit www.kimmelcenter.org.