With The Nickel Slots preparing for our show at the Woodland Opera House, I was reminiscing about when my brother Chris and I were kids and the Beatles tribute band Rain performed there. I must have been in 6th grade and I remember our dad provided the sound system for that show. Having grown up listening to my parents’ Beatles records, I was really excited to hear this band. I was well on my way to being a guitar geek at that point and I already knew all of the period-correct instruments that the Beatles played, so I was ready to see how authentic Rain’s tribute was going to be.
I remember Rain taking the stage, and I remember how disappointed I was that the bass player was not left handed. It threw off the photographic image of the Beatles I had fixed in my mind with Paul’s and John’s guitar necks creating that famous symmetry of the Fab Four’s stage presence. As they ripped into their set I quickly forgot about the right-handed bass player and couldn’t believe how incredible they sounded. Using a period-correct Hofner Bass (Paul), Rickenbacker 325 (John), Gretsch Country Gentleman (George), and a Ludwig vintage drum kit (Ringo), they sounded exactly like the Beatles!
As they played through the classic time periods of the Beatles’ musical catalogue, they changed into various costumes and used different guitars. As Rain returned to the stage in their Sgt Pepper’s uniforms, “George” switched to his famous Gibson SG, “John” played rhythm on an Epiphone Casino, and “Paul” strapped on a Rickenbacker 4001S bass. Rain took the audience on a journey from Meet the Beatles and Rubber Soul to Sgt. Pepper’s and The Magical Mystery Tour, where they finished their set looking like they just walked out from the famous Abbey Road album cover and right onto the stage of the Woodland Opera House. I remember them speaking with English accents and mimicking the Beatles’ body language. It was a memorable performance and I left feeling like I heard the Beatles live. At least after all these years that is how I remember it.