Getting by with a little help from their friends, or in this case a near capacity audience, Rain A Tribute to the Beatles has returned to Chicago to play a brief but memorable concert style tribute to The Fab Four. Originally conceived as a show that featured a Southern California cover band playing the Beatle’s songbook in a tribute show titled “Reign,” founder Mark Lewis has reworked his vision into a much larger scale, Broadway caliber show. Just in case you do not know exactly who they are, The Beatles were four lads from London, John, Paul, George and Ringo, who revolutionized the look and sound of music, from pop to rock and roll. This cultural phenomenon has been brought back to life in period accurate costuming and is landing for one week at the Oriental Theatre. Featuring Steve Landes as John, Paul Curatolo as Paul, Alastar McNeil as George, Aaron Chiazza as Ringo with Mark Beyer playing additional keyboards and percussion, Rain follows the steady climb and eventual global domination of arguably the world’s first boyband. From the opening moments of the show, the audience is transported back to the magical 1960’s through projected vintage film clips and supporting sound bites. “We were a band who made it very, very big” they quipped. It is also significant to mention, all of the music heard during the show is performed live, not sung to prerecorded tracks.
The show itself was divided into multiple chronological vignettes, the initial opening graced with the iconic voice of Ed Sullivan introducing The Beatles! The audience was treated to a reenactment of the national American debut of the mop-top, Fab Four, dressed in sharp black suits with skinny ties, performing classics “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Hard Days Night, ” and “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You.” The opening set concluded with “Paul’s” stunning, solo acoustic guitar rendition of “Yesterday.” Throughout the show, multiple video screens double as the background set, alternating vintage images of screaming fans, the British Union Jack flag, floating animated yellow submarines, and photos of the attending audience members singing and dancing along. Do note, this show is performed in a traditional concert format, so the audience is repeatedly encouraged to stand, clap, sing and dance as well. It was quite heart-warming to watch the Baby-Boomers in attendance, mentally morph back into their youthful screaming teenager selves, pining for their beloved teen idols. Scream they did, loudly and often.
The second vignette had the band reliving their August 15, 1965 debut concert at Chicago’s Shea Stadium. Garbed in matching beige Edwardian collarless jackets and skinny black trousers, the kingpins of the mod youth style of the 1960’s performed “Help,” “Day Tripper” and “Twist and Shout.” The supporting background videos showcased the massive amount of adoring Beatles fans who turned out for that historic Windy City concert event, the likes of which had not been witnessed before. At the conclusion of this set, during a costume break, the audience was treated to projected vintage commercials of the time, including a Winston’s cigarette advertisement featuring an animated Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble smoking cigarettes! and a pre-Real Housewives senior citizen caught flipping tables and trashing a restaurant just because her soggy pickle wasn’t a crisp “Vlasic.” Shockingly dated examples of commercials from that era, now played straight for laughs.
The next segment, a well-timed celebration corresponding with the 50th anniversary of the release of the definitive 1967 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album which was played in its entirety. Defining the psychedelic movement of the time, the cast paraded around in proud peacock style, appearing much like a hybrid of Peter Pan’s Captain Hook and a high school drum majorette. Multimedia background images alternated between floral patterns, paisley scarves, velvet jacks and bold, acid colors. Lava lamps too, of course. The band serenaded their enthused spectators with classic hits “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” “ When I’m Sixty Four,” “A Day In The Life” and the title track “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
The final piece of the show began with sobering images from the Vietnam War and the Moon Landing, mop top styles now replaced by the antiestablishment “flower child” hippies. In voiceovers, we were informed the individual members of the band were starting to “pull apart at the seams” creatively, however each decided to come together one last time to record, Abbey Road, christened “one more incredible record.” This final set underway with the band members shouting “Chicago, on your feet” and then exploding with the rock and roll anthem “Revolution.” Waving peace symbols in the air, we were told “the war is over and… “Give Peace a Chance. ” Taking us to church, both metaphorically and physically, the audience swayed back and forth during a pointedly stunning rendition of the reassuring ballad “Let it Be.”
Rain A Tribute to the Beatles is a love letter both to the renowned and trendsetting rock and roll band as well as to their legion of fans. The Fab Four’s influence on popular culture and fashion is undeniable and arguably still resonates today. Their music clearly the soundtrack of the Baby Boomer generation, The Beatles legendary influence transcends generations. The final line of the show “Remember, long live the Beatles.” With magnificent, technologically contemporary productions like this, forgetting the Beatles and their impact will not happen anytime soon. So, “get by with a little help from your friends” and go see this show before it leaves the Windy City. Celebrating the music of The Beatles, you’ll relish Rain A Tribute to the Beatles ….” yeah, yeah, yeah!”
Rain A Tribute to the Beatles is now playing at the Oriental Theatre through Sunday, April 2, 2017
The Glorious Corner
FAMILY’S A BITCH-THE END OF SUCCESSION — Sunday’s finale of Succession (HBO) was a mixed bag. I’ll be honest: At first I thought the finale was totally underwhelming, but after some additional thought and reading some other excellent reviews, I’ve come to the point where I now believe it was, pure and simple, how it had to end.
None more so than Joss Stone on “I Put A Spell On You.” What a voice. I’m amazed she’s not bigger; very Janis Joplin.
Also, Gary Clark delivered a blistering, amazing performance on Stevie Wonder’s “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers.” No question that he’s the next guitar-wizard. Here they both are: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvO2_noxaXQ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QO2BLAXveVo …
I watched all 9 seasons of the CW’s The Flash and the first 5 were pretty terrific. The remaining ones got poorer and poorer as the original cast disappeared one by one. Grant Gustin, The Flash, was there the whole time, but their finale last week was terribly confusing – save for a song by Tony Award winner Jesse L. Martin (for Rent) – a key member of the original cast. The last two seasons had a myriad of costumed villains, some from the comic, some not, but just wildly messed up. The CW was sold to Nexstar last year and big changes are in their future. Sad … and, CNN is reporting that Universal Music is close to snapping up the rights to the Queen-catalog for $1 billion-plus. Good for them.
Disney had it previously, but Queen’s music is more popular than ever before. It’s a real shame Freddie is not her to share in it. If you wondered the record for the biggest previously was for Bruce Springsteen’s catalog at $500 million.
The Mayor of Motivation interviews Ramon Hervey, Manager & Publicist to the Famous
Ramon Hervey has earned global recognition as a highly regarded entertainment manager, brand consultant & publicist who has represented Richard Pryor, Bette Midler, Paul McCartney, the Bee Gees, Muhammad Ali, Caitlyn Jenner, Quincy Jones, Vanessa Williams, The Commodores with Lionel Richie, the Jacksons with Michael Jackson and a whole lot more A Listers. He is the author of the book…The Fame Game: An Insider’s Playbook for Earning Your 15 minutes.
After having invested 4 decades in playing the fame game, Ramon and I sat down to talk on The Motivation Show podcast.
Ramon, why do you call fame a “game” and why did you choose that word for your book title? “Fame is unpredictable, just as are the results in a game. Everyone has failures. You hope to win, but it is not guaranteed. Only .0065% of over 7 billion people in the world are famous. There are a lot of successful people in the world that never become famous. Fame and success don’t come with a warranty.”
What does Ramon feel about luck playing a role in success and fame? “I think there is a certain amount of luck in what I do. A lot of it is timing. Timing is a form of luck.” One example Ramon gives is when Starbucks started to introduce music in it’s cafes. The first one was Ray Charles, who died shortly thereafter, which skyrocketed sales of his music. That sales surge is what Ramon attributed to luck.
The pursuit of fame…is it mostly a positive goal? “Most people don’t know what fame is til they already become famous. A lot of stars change their mind about what they thought fame was going to be. A lot of people don’t like all the baggage that comes with being famous. The lack of privacy. In my time on the planet, it has definitely changed dramatically over the past ten years.” Ramon points to Social Media and it’s impact on more people having an opportunity to become famous in different ways than were available previously.
Why did Richard Pryor, at the height of his fame, attempt suicide & what was the famous incident which almost killed him that he later confessed to as a suicide attempt? “I managed all of Richard’s missteps. He was probably the #1 black entertainer in the world at that time. It’s not my fame. It’s their fame. I think Richard always felt guilty about his fame. He didn’t think he could live up to the level of fame that he achieved. That created an albatross around his neck. It made him rely on more substances to sedate him and calm himself. He reached the point that he did not want to become that person anymore. For the longest time he said that he didn’t (try to commit suicide), he said it was an accident. Richard always found a way to market his vulnerability. All of his comedy focused on all of his missteps. He had shot all four tires on his Mercedes and told his wife during a fight that you are not going to leave in that car. He put that into his comedy. He did it the exact opposite way of what we would advise which would be to put the incidences behind you. I don’t know anyone else that was as successful as him in marketing all of the things he did wrong.”
When asking Ramon about what type of confident personality one has to have to become famous he says, “I do believe you have to have a big ego and a certain amount of self confidence to be successful. Every famous person I met took a different path to get it and they all loss some level of fame at some point.”
Can you give us an example of someone you managed very well? “I am very proud of my relationship with Bette Midler. She helped to blossom my career. I was never her manager, but I was her publicist. I did work in a management capacity…she didn’t have a manager. I have a great appreciation and fondness for her. Also, working with my ex-wife Vanessa Williams on her crisis management. I did not know her at the time she was embroiled in the Miss America controversy. She resigned here title and I am glad she did. We got married and had three kids together and I managed her career. It took ten years for her to get her life back after she resigned from the Miss America pageant where she was just called Vanessa Williams without alluding to any prior controversy.”
In discussing his earlier years, Ramon shares two musical giants that helped shape his career. “In my book, I try to enlighten people about the trajectory of my own fame. My first client I got to work with was Paul McCartney. My initial task was to put together a press kit. That shaped my next 4 or 5 years when I got an opportunity to work with Quincy Jones who is the first client I brought to Rogers & Cowan who I was working with at the time. He was someone I treasured to be in his presence because he had so many great stories and so much great insight.”
Ramon muses in his book about fame, that the more you get, the harder it is to manage. I asked him if there are any other examples like that. “Probably the worst case scenario was Rick James. He had a very troubled childhood. For him, fame meant he put himself above people. He created a lot of bad blood. The way that he treated people. A lot of people did not want him to win. He always had a great fan base, but I think his fame was toxic for him. He self-destructed. He was obsessed with fame and all the hoopla and perks. He loved being the king of everything. He was very demanding. He did not know how to manage his fame.”
In closing, I ask Ramon, what he is most proud of. “I am proud of my reputation. I have never been sued. I’ve always approached business with a great deal of integrity. I’ve always worked really hard. I’ve always tried to be honest with my clients. Authentic and transparent. I think that is much better than being a yes man.”
So when I think of fame, I think of getting the best table in the best restaurants. I think about people idolizing me. I also think about people interrupting my conversation and my meal for photos and autographs. Do I really want that…or do I just want a nice, quiet, peaceful meal. Hmmm…some food for thought. How about you? Do you want to be part of the Fame Game?
You can listen to Eli’s podcast The Motivation Show on any podcast listening app or use this Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/show/3NVmTDAvGbzooN8TCW7tuN. To contact Eli or to have him speak at your event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Glorious Corner
LASSO’S MOM CITY — I believe that the best ever episode of Ted Lasso was dropped this week, entitled Mom City. It started off innocently enough with Ted leaving for work and walking right past his mother! He realized it and turned back to her. Turns out she had been in London for a week and was just now seeing Ted.
Also, Harry Nilsson’s “Puppy Song” was a key musical moment in the EP. Harry, we love you!
SHORT TAKES — The #1 iTunes song currently is Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got To Do with It.” Much deserved … Producer Joel Diamond used to live at 220 Central Park South in NYC. His building was torn down and re-built. It is now part of what they call Billionaire’s Road. WSJ-reporter Katherine Clarke’s new book is about just that.. Via Random House, Billionaire’s Row is out on June 13 …
We dropped the name of new Latino-artist Sasha Prendes last time; we just saw a teaser clip for her new video “Shake This.” Check it out here: https://www.sashaprendes.com/video … Micky Dolenz headlined at this week’s Abbey Road On The River and delivered his usual high-octane performance.
He leaves for England this week for the James Burton & Friends/One Night Only event June 4 at London’s Palladium … Terry Jastrow interviewed by Brad Balfour for his podcast this week …
ENDQUOTE: Via Deadline: The View’s Whoopi Goldberg Claims ‘American Idol’ Led To The Downfall of Society. Ouch! Check it out here: https://deadline.com/2023/05/the-view-cohost-whoopi-goldberg-claims-american-idol-led-to-downfall-society-1235380500/ … Happy Bday Buddy Blanch and Bobby Shaw!
Memorial Day Playlist
As you lay out by the pool, the beach, Central Park or on the sidelines of a parade, T2C offers you music to celebrate and get you in the mood.
Events in June
Gay Pride, Bryant Park Picnic Performances, Movie Nights, Lincoln Center Summer for the City (Midsummer Night Swing), Juneteenth, New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks, Tribeca Film Festival, Free Outdoor Concerts, Museum Mile Festival, the Puerto Rican Day Parade and that’s just the beginning!
Until September 29 every summer in Times Square, NYC, TSQ LIVE showcases hundreds of artists, performers and cultural producers and this summer 80 free events hosting over a dozen incredible New York-based institutions and collectives, including Pioneer Works, NEW INC, Children’s Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Ailey Extension, New York Live Arts, OTA Entertainment, Soul Summit, Rash Bar, and Elsewhere.
6/1: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park New York City Opera: La Bohème
6/2: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Jazzmobile: The Steven Oquendo Latin Jazz Orchestra
6/2: Billy Joel @ MSG
6/3-4: Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit atUniversity Place, starting at East 13th Street and continuing south along the east side of Washington Square Park to West 3rd Street.
6/7 until September: Little Island Tony and Grammy Award winners in The Glade, late night djs, drag bingo, and dance parties in The Play Ground, weekly artmaking activities for all ages and Teen Night every Friday.
6/7 – 18: Tribeca Film Festival will take place movie theatres, rooftops and various venues throughout NYC, such as the new Pier 57, Beacon Theatre, the Angelika. The premiere of Let the Canary Sing with a performance by Cyndi Lauper or The Closing Gala: A Bronx Tale, followed by a conversation with director and star Robert De Niro, producer Jane Rosenthal, and writer and co-star Chazz Palminteri.
6/8 – 8/6: Shakespeare in the Park – Hamlet
6/8: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Contemporary Dance: Robin Dunn, The Lite
6/9: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Contemporary Dance: Dance Heginbotham, Jennifer Muller/The Works
6/9 – 11: @ Citi Field Governors Ball Music Festival – The contemporary music festival for music lovers by music lovers. With 60+ artists of all genres across 4 stages, there is something for everyone, including delicious restaurants, food trucks and menus.
6/9 – 18: River to River Festival The festival takes place in a variety of public venues that canvas all of Downtown New York – from Chambers Street down to the southern tip of Manhattan and across the island from river to river.
6/11: National Puerto Rican Day Parade Fifth Avenue, 44th to 79th Street
6/12: Bryant Park Movie Nights Almost Famous (2000)
6:13: Museum Mile Festival on Fifth Avenue from 84th Street to 109th Street: The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Neue Galerie New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; The Jewish Museum; Museum of the City of New York; El Museo del Barrio; and The Africa Center.
6/14 – August: Dancing Under the Stars (formerly Midsummer Night Swing), free outdoor movies, dancing, singing, readings, celebrations, flamingos, disco ball, poetry, Mozart, concerts, crafts, Juneteenth and much more!
6/15: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Contemporary Dance: Terk Lewis + Kayla Farrish
6/16: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Contemporary Dance: Soles of Duende + Josh Johnson
6/17-25: Gay Pride The Rally, The March & Pride Island. The 2023 theme is “Strength in Solidarity” and Christina Aguilera is headlining NYC Pride Island on Sunday, June 25th at Brooklyn Army Terminal. The festivities begin with Family Night and the Rally and culminate with PrideFest & The March. Other events include Pride Island and the annual Dance on the Pier, following the parade wrapping up Pride Week in a grand fireworks display.
6/16 – 18: Juneteenth is a celebration of June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas, which declared the ending of slavery in the USA. The three day Juneteenth in NYC festival kicks off Friday with a virtual summit, Friday night is the Celebration of Black Kings, Saturday is Festival Community Day and the festival culminates Sunday with a Parade, Fashion Show, Food trucks Field Day and more. Monday, June 19th, is a national holiday, with government, banks and post offices closed. More Info: Junteenth NY
There are dozens more Juneteenth celebrations throughout all 5 Boroughs, including BBQs, the NYC Parks Department, Seneca Village, Broadway, Lincoln Center, concerts, shows, theater and more.
6/17: The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is the nation’s largest art parade where 3,000+ participants dress in hand-made costumes.
6/ 19: Bryant Park Movie Nights Amistad (1997)
6/23: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Emerging Music Festival: Psymon Spine, THUS LOVE, Katy Kirby
6/24: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Emerging Music Festival: Ky Vöss, Seramic, Miss Grit, Dead Tooth
6/26: Bryant Park Movie Nights Mean Girls (2004)
6/30: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Jalopy Theatre: Michael Daves Quartet ft. Tony Trishka, Yacouba Sissoko, Terrell King
6/30: Intrepid Museum Summer Movie Series: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
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