Monday, June 08, 2009

The War of the Worlds

Last evening Roma and I went along to The O2 to see Jeff Wayne's musical version of The War of the Worlds. TWOTW is the only vinyl LP I ever owned (I preferred cassette tapes) and I really like the music. It is the 30th anniversary tour - the original double LP being released in 1978. Jeff Wayne himself conducted proceedings with a great orchestra supported by The Black Smoke Band. I expected special effects and was not disappointed. The O2 was full - mostly with middle aged people like myself. One of the great things about The O2 is that you can get a beer and bring it in to the show (which I did).

The show featured a hologram of a youthful Richard Burton who was the narrator in the original version, however he is unfortunately dead and cannot take part in the show. So too is Phil Lynott. But Justin Hayward was there and got a great reception for his rendition of Forever Autumn. Jennifer Allison was excellent as Beth, with great performances too from Shannon Noll as Parson Nathaniel, and Chris Thompson (formerly of Manfred Mann) as the soldier. A Martian tripod descended onto the stage during the show, which was cool, but it tended to block out a lot of the screen behind. The movie part was good - mixing old photos, cartoon drawings, animations, and film. All was excellently timed. Pyrotechnics too!

One of the interesting things about the show was that you could order a copy of a recording of the concert to be picked up straight after the show. For €25 I thought this would be an excellent souvenir - so did about 1,000 other people. There was a half hour queue after the show to pick them up. I'm listening to the CD right now as I write this and the quality is excellent. The show itself is was just a bit too loud. The recording (as it live) also has a few inadvertent additions from voices probably of the guys making the recording. This adds unnecessary authenticity - the TWOTW folks should work on this. Also, disappointingly, the tracks are not tagged - so quite a bit of work is involved if you want to have artwork and track titles available on your iPod. Of course as I am in the audience, my applause and cheers are on the CD (along with everyone else's) - this is a first for me to be on a CD!

Overall, a great show. There are a few slow moving parts, but it is faithful to the original recording. Well worth seeing - very powerful orchestral stuff.

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