The Beatles back on stage ... kinda

Ed Symkus

Joey Curatolo has been Paul McCartney almost as long as Paul McCartney has been Paul McCartney. He and Steve Landes were both members of the Beatles stage show, “Beatlemania,” which started in 1978.

 “ ‘Beatlemania’ was a generic show,” says Curatolo. “It was more of a look-alike than sounding like the Beatles.”

 In 1983, he and Landes jumped to “Rain: The Beatles Experience,” which plays theColonial Theatre in Boston, Feb. 6-8. “This one is put together to our tastes,” says Curatolo “It’s more in-depth.”

 “The big difference is that ‘Beatlemania’ played the same 30 songs for its whole 10-year run,” adds Landes. “And it was much more focused on the multimedia; the Beatles and what we were doing as a band was almost secondary. So we’ve tried to reverse that. Our show is about the band, and we strive to authentically replicate this music, the records as you remember them, only live.

 “There are more than 200 Beatles songs to choose from,” he adds, “and we rotate them.”

 Landes proudly claims that they can play every one of them, “but there are some that we choose not to do. I don’t think that every Beatle fan would want to hear ‘Revolution 9’ every night. We’ve really honed the act to songs that we know will work with an audience.”

 “It’s really about pleasing three generations of Beatle fans,” Curatolo explains.

 “But we also do some obscure stuff,” he adds. “We’ve done ‘You Know My Name,’ ‘Martha My Dear,’ ‘Honey Pie.’ We get out there.”

 The show includes costume changes, along with films that give a taste of the times. In telling the story of the Beatles, it starts out in the Ed Sullivan era, with songs that were performed on the “Ed Sullivan Show,” then moves on through the Shea Stadium period, “Sgt. Pepper” and “Let It Be.”

It’s as if you could force the Beatles to perform their whole career in two hours,” says Landes, with a laugh. “We play the songs, use authentic guitars and drums, and go through costume changes and various looks. My hair miraculously grows to hippie length in the course of the show.”

 Curatolo refers to “Rain” as a capsule of the ’60s with the music of the Beatles as a storyboard. The visual element — much of which goes on during costume changes — includes video montages that show newsreels and TV commercials from the ’60s, and insert the cast members into pieces of film that originally showed the Beatles.

 There’s one other component that most tribute bands would likely choose to skip over, but members of Rain all agree is the way to go: Their live performances even include the fluffed words and the blue notes — in other words, all of the flubs — that are on the Beatles records.

 “People don’t realize that these songs are engrained in our psyche so well, that if those pieces are not there, then it sounds like something is wrong,” says Curatolo. “We try to dissect every little thing — the words, the mistakes. There were a lot of little clams they did on some of these recordings. And we cop it.”

 “Rain” runs at the Colonial Theatre in Boston on Feb. 6 & 7 at 7:30 p.m., and on Feb. 8 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $36-$60. Call 617-931-2787.