NEW YORK (AP) _ The only way to review the live rock 'n' roll show of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles seemed to be with a pair of Turtle authorities in tow: Matt Raeburn, 9, and Alex Raeburn, 6.

Their father had to admit that the opening night performance of the ''Coming Out of Their Shells Tour'' was far better than he had expected.

It was imaginative, well produced, technically sophisticated and surprisingly entertaining. It could serve as a model for what a kids' first rock concert ought to be.

The Turtle authorities can speak for themselves. ''It was the best concert of all time,'' said Matt. Alex, so dazzled that he couldn't speak until the next morning, pronounced his first concert ''the best thing I've seen yet.''

The show begins before the curtain goes up. April O'Neill, the TV reporter who has befriended the Turtles, appears in the audience broadcasting a live, on-the-scene report of concert preparations. The report appears on large video screens on either side of the stage.

Throughout the show, a camera follows her around the theater and her reports punctuate the music as a story line unfolds.

The Turtles - Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo and Donatello - make their grand entrance from beneath four manhole covers in a burst of fireworks, and open the show with ''Pizza Power,'' a paean to their favorite food. ''It has good guitar, a great melody, and makes me hungry,'' said Matt.

The next character to appear is Splinter, the Turtles' ninja master, a human-sized mutant rat who dispenses his philosophy in epigrammatic phrases reminiscent of Yoda in Star Wars. He sings ''Skipping Stones.''

''It's not about stones. It's about the ways of life,'' said Matt. It is the Turtles' ''most relaxing song, quiet and peaceful and good to move to,'' he said.

Roving cameramen follow the Turtles on-stage, transmitting MTV-like concert footage directly to the video screens beside the stage in Radio City Music Hall, where the Turtles will perform until Oct. 7 before beginning a 40-city national tour.

No appearance of the Turtles would be complete without an interruption by the evil Shredder, and his foot clan, a troop of ninja robots.

Shredder captures April O'Neill, disrupts the Turtles' show, and otherwise attempts to finally rid the world of the Turtles. Does he succeed?

''You'll have to see it to find out what happens,'' said Matt.

Based on the comments of the Turtle authorities quoted here, the show captures whatever it is that fascinates kids about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

As Matt put it, ''They're really funny guys just trying to save the world.''