Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Jeff Wayne - Jeff Wayne's Musical Version: The War of the Worlds, Live on stage CD (album) cover


Jeff Wayne


Crossover Prog

3.47 | 9 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Wayne's (war of the) worlds

In 2006, Jeff Wayne finally got the show on the road, and presented his superb "Musical version of War of the Worlds" live on stage. This DVD is the film of the performance at Wembley Arena in London, United Kingdom.

The show is essentially a band and string orchestra performance with guest vocalists, recreating the music of the original album virtually note for note. Of the vocalists who graced that album, only Justin Hayward and Chris Thompson appear here. Wayne's explanation for this is that their characters are essentially ageless, whereas others such as the parts originally played by David Essex and Julie Covington require performers of a particular age. Some of the musicians who contributed to the album such as Chris Spedding and Herbie Flowers are also present.

While Wayne himself is clearly the kingpin of the project, his contribution on stage is restricted to that of conductor. This gives the performance a quasi-classical overtone. The guest vocalists perform their tasks superbly, although in some ways it is frustrating to hear so briefly from Hayward and Thompson (ex Manfred Mann's Earth Band). They wear appropriate period costumes but only Alexis James (the artilleryman) really does any acting as such, and even then this is pretty limited. Most of the visual enhancement of the story telling is provided via the giant screen at the back of the stage. This combined with some excellent lighting relates the tale in detail. The DVD can at times be frustrating, since when there are close ups of the singers or other performers, the film cannot be seen. With modern technology offering such things as various selectable angles on DVD, it would surely not have been too difficult to offer the full film as one such angle.

The opening part of the performance begins with an extended "Prologue" which provides more background on why the Martians are undertaking their destructive mission. This leads into the "No one would have believed." introduction we are so familiar with, still provided by the voice of Richard Burton. Burton is portrayed throughout the performance through the use of a three dimensional head, similar to that used in the stage show "Time". Mouth and eye movements are superimposed on the still image of his face which is projected onto the head, giving the effect that he is speaking live. While it is reasonably effective, a real narrator may have been a better option.

Apart from the minor enhancements such as the prologue, the music of performance is pretty much that of the original album. As such, there is no room for improvisation or audience participation. This is a stage show, pure and simple.

In all, an enjoyable experience, which successfully brings the music to life. While visually pleasing, the overall impact is not what might be described as stunning. Sound wise, the 5.1 surround is of a high quality. A decent, if slightly staid offering.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this JEFF WAYNE review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives