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Jeff Wayne Jeff Wayne's Musical Version: The War of the Worlds, Live on stage album cover
3.47 | 9 ratings | 3 reviews | 56% 5 stars

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DVD/Video, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Intro
2. Prequel
3. The Eve of the War (part 1)
4. The Eve of the War (part 2)
5. Horsell Common and the Heat Ray
6. The Artilleryman and the Fighting machine
7. Forever Autumn
8. Thunder Child
9. The Red Weed (Part 1)
10. The Spirit of Man
11. The Red Weed (part 2)
12. The Artilleryman Returns
13. Brave New World
14. Dead London (Part 1)
15. Dead London (Part 2)
16. Epilogue (Part 1)
17. Epilogue (Part 2) (NASA)
18. Credits

Total Running Time approx: 110:00

Line-up / Musicians

- Jeff Wayne / orchestration, conductor
- Justin Hayward / guest vocalist
- Chris Thompson / guest vocalist
- Russell Watson / guest vocalist
- Tara Blaise / guest vocalist
- Alexis James / guest vocalist
- Richard Burton / spoken word
- Black Smoke Band
- ULLAdubULLA Strings / orchestra

Releases information

2006 Universal pictures DVD 824 5521
Also released as special 2 DVD version

Thanks to easy livin for the addition
and to ProgLucky for the last updates
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Buy JEFF WAYNE Jeff Wayne's Musical Version: The War of the Worlds, Live on stage Music

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War of the WorldsWar of the Worlds
Sony Uk 2009
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Jeff Wayne's Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds, The New GenerationJeff Wayne's Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds, The New Generation
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2012
$5.25 (used)
War of the WorldsWar of the Worlds
Sony 2003
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War of the Worlds  (+4 BonusWar of the Worlds (+4 Bonus
Sony 2000
$10.33 (used)

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JEFF WAYNE Jeff Wayne's Musical Version: The War of the Worlds, Live on stage ratings distribution

(9 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(56%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(22%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

JEFF WAYNE Jeff Wayne's Musical Version: The War of the Worlds, Live on stage reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 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.

Review by Heptade
3 stars Who would have believed, in 2005, that across the vast gulfs of time, Jeff Wayne would be able to bring his disco-prog concept album to the stage? Anyway, he did indeed, and to make it work, he came up with the innovative concept of having the full band and string section on stage, with the cast singing in front of them (and acting sparingly), visuals projected on the background, a life size plastic fighting machine and a giant head of Richard Burton hanging to the left! Sort of a pseudo musical slash rock concert atmosphere. It toured the UK to great acclaim and packed arenas, showing that a lot of people have fond memories of the original album.

Positives: The band is cracking, and it's great to watch virtuosos like Herbie Flowers and Chris Spedding at work. The sound is great. The backdrop visuals greatly contribute to the atmosphere. Justin Hayward, Chris Thompson and new cast members Alexis James and Tara Blaise do a great job on their vocals and "acting". Wayne's look of pleasure while conducting is oddly touching. The second disk is packed with revealing interviews and featurettes about the "making of". Not something you'd watch much, but very interesting.

Negatives: Russell "The Voice" Watson butchers Phil Lynott's original role as the Parson with his pseudo- operatic caterwauling, and to make matters worse, comes across as a complete prat in the interviews. Be off, Russell! The giant head of Burton is a little ridiculous to look at, especially since his mouth moves, but the rest of his face remains impossibly immobile! Not lifelike at all. The new animated prequel in which the Martians discuss their plans for conquest is kind of silly too.

With a few small quibbles, I like this DVD. If you love the album, you'll find it very interesting. If you went to the shows, it will bring back happy memories. If you live outside of England, it's the closest you'll come to being there. If you have no idea what this review is about, then you don't need this at all!

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
4 stars "Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds Musical Stage Show" is a sheer delight from start to finish. I bought this DVD after being treated to the stage show in Australia. I enjoyed seeing this phenomenal performance live in Melbourne and especially seeing Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues was a spine tingling moment. It was terrific to see and hear original album vocalist Chris Thompson singing 'Thunder Child' also. He sounds as powerful as on the album. When Hayward sings "the chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one" I think it took me way back to my childhood when I used to listen to this album repeatedly on vinyl. The DVD captures the essence of the live show though it is missing the elements of the dazzling light show and that massive war machine that descends to the stage.

The music as a visual feast works on many levels. We can marvel at the images on the massive screen as we watch the orchestra blaze away on note perfect renditions of the album classic. Spedding and Flowers are back to revisit their musicianship. Sadly no David Essex or Phil Lynott. Jeff Wayne's arrangements are nothing short of mind bending, with powerful violin sweeps and science fiction effects used to maximum effect, including the unscrewing of the cylinder, searing heat rays, screams, cylinders falling on a house, and the martian howls. Richard Burton is personified on a huge sculpt with his face projected on to it, cleverly syncing his lips to the original narration with eyes blinking and eye brows raising occasionally. It is unnerving when Burton speaks of the martians emerging from the cylinder, their scales "glistening like wet leather, as the clumsy body heaved and pulsated." You can hear the disgust in his voice in these moments. He is also able to exude great sorrow and empathy when his beloved Carrie is gone and has an air of excitement as the Thunder Child vessel valiantly steams forward to meet the martian invaders head on. The more recent shows ditched the sculpted head and replaced it with laser projected CGI, which is way better.

The song 'Thunder Child' is a very powerful composition on the album and Thompson stands centre stage and belts this out with the same passion and exuberance as on the album. he waves goodbye to the boat that holds Carrie and a swarm of survivors. The next act is certainly not as powerful as the first, with fire and smoke emitting from the war machine. However Act II features a wonderful version of 'Spirit of Man' with Russell Watson as the priest, and Tara Blaise as Beth; "there must be something worth living for, even something worth dying for, and if one man can stand tall there must be hope for us all". She looks and sounds beautiful and very close to the album so good with Julie Covington. I prefer Phil Lynott but Watson is tolerable as the Priest. The version I saw live featured Shannon Noll who has a better voice as the Priest. The red weed is captured sonically with very doomy keyboard work. As it crawls across the land turning everything red we are able to watch on the huge screens the artist's interpretation using CGI and actual artwork inspired on the album. I wish there had been a feature where we could just listen and watch the screen images as they look amazing.

Eventually the narrator meets another character that would try and coerce him in to a foolhardy plan. The meeting with the Artillery Man played with passion and drive by Alexis James, is quite inspiring at first as the madman dreams of a new empire constructed underground so that the martians can no longer "clap eyes on us." He dreams of a world with hospitals, schools and cricket grounds built right under the martians noses, "right under their feet". He imagines capturing one of their fighting machines and then "wallop! Our turn to fight, woosh with our heat ray! Beating them at their own game. Man on top again!" Of course it is a forlorn idea and there is no way it can be done. During this song a steel bridge descends on the stage and is used to good effect as the Artillery Man climbs literally up onto his own Empire. He looks out into the crowd and toasts a glass of champagne but hten looks very worried as a martian machine is heard coming towards him. As he leaves the stage he salutes the appreciative audience.

As the narrator muses on this and walks off into the empty streets we hear the bone chilling cry of the martian but it sounds elongated and painful; "Uuu-llaa-aaaaaa!" the narrator resolves to give himself over to the martians as he can no longer live without his beloved Carrie and knowing the earth belonged to the martians. The lighting goes greener and redder for a while until we see the images of the crows tearing at the red shred of the martian's hood. There are then images of mankind celebrating freedom and redemption from martian subjugation. All of the main players come out and bow to rapturous applause. The loudest applause of course goes to Mr Wayne himself. He smiles and is generally content wth the response to his master creation. The NASA epilogue follows with creepy effects and images and thus the show comes to a head. A great show in any format this is worth shelling out for. The special features are lengthy docos and how the machine was constructed, as well as interviews and assorted extras.

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