It’s the opening chord to the Beatles song a Hard Day’s Night that has been a debate among die-hard fans and musicologists for years. On Friday, the audience at the South Okanagan Events Centre will get their shot to decide if Experience The Beatles with Rain have it right.
“We have been messing with that as well. I just play a G over a D bass chord fifth. I have no idea what they do on the guitar,” said Mac Ruffing who plays Paul McCartney in the show. “There could be some piano on there. It is just so awesome. That song is in the show so you’ll hear it.”
It was three years ago, Mac Ruffing got a call to audition for Rain in Philadelphia. A few days later he found out he was chosen to play Paul and went out on the road for weeks just watching and learning about the show. Now he has over 200 shows under his mop top. But the Beatles catalogue of music is no stranger to him. Ruffing played in another Beatles band that travelled around, on a much smaller scale for years. But with his day job being a land surveyor/engineer and with the economy drying up, Rain poured in just at the right time.
The passion for the Beatles came to him as a toddler. His older teenage sisters were struck with Beatlemania and it was passed onto him. As a teenager he first learned to play the drums, and one day just happened to come across something special in a Cleveland music store.
Whether it was fate or not, the musician fell in love with a Hofner violin-shaped bass like the one Paul McCartney used with the Beatles and still uses today. Later in life he crossed paths with another Hofner while he was in Japan and, on a whim, bought it. And just like McCartney’s Hofner, this bass was left-handed, posing a dilemma for the righty Ruffing.
“It took about six months before I could even do a show. I stood in front of a full length mirror, because it is all just a mirror image of what a right-handed player does, and it is just getting your hands to do what they are supposed to do. That is how I started playing the bass and picked up on the Beatles records and learning the parts,” said Ruffing.
He still hasn’t switched over on the guitar, smaller strings and having to put together chords makes that a little more tricky.
“I see people scratching their heads sometimes, wondering what is going on with me. It’s kind of funny,” said Ruffing.
McCartney is Ruffing’s favourite because of his voice and songwriting skills, but he said nothing compares to the unique combination of the four Beatles.
“Their music is timeless and still stands up 50 years later since Love Me Do came out,” said Ruffing.
Rain isn’t the first, or last, Beatles nostalgia tribute group. But, Ruffing said they raise the bar to preserve the legacy of the immortal band’s music. The show has been on Broadway and perfecting for over two decades with members held to a high expectation of studying each song, each note, movement and nuance until perfected.
“It is a notch above the majority of other groups out there. We have video, stage sets, six costume changes, the instruments and a production crew that travels around with us. The show is so successful because we re-create the sounds and everything you heard on the records as close as possible on top of the visual. It is a trip through the 60s through the music of the Beatles,” said Ruffing.
Tickets to Rain can be purchased at the SOEC box office, Penticton & Wine Country Visitor Centre, by phone at 1-877-SOEC-TIX or online at www.ValleyFirstTix.com.