War of the Worlds Newcastle Arena 27th April 2006

War of the Worlds Newcastle Arena 27th April 2006
waroftheworldstixI have the War of the Worlds album, so couldn’t resist going to see the concert. The pre-show publicity says it all: “For the first time ever, this highly anticipated classic album will now be staged as a full live production, featuring Jeff Wayne conducting The Black Smoke Band and the 48-piece ULLAdubULLA Strings. Moody Blues frontman Justin Hayward will feature in the show and, through the magic of modern technology, Richard Burton will be SEEN and heard in his role as ‘The Journalist’ in the musical spectacular of the year. To set the scene, Pink Floyd’s legendary set designer, Jonathan Parke, will be bringing the Martian invasion to life. Since it’s original release in June of 1978, ‘Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War Of The Worlds’ has grown into a true classic; garnering a new generation of devoted followers whilst still inspiring the faithful listeners from the past decades. Inspired by the HG Wells novel, the album features a compelling blend of prog rock and classical and literary influences….the album has enjoyed huge success and critical acclaim across the globe with around 13 million records sold and numerous accolades acquired. The War Of The Worlds initially spent over 260 consecutive weeks in the UK albums charts (now approaching 300)…”
Jeff Wayne: “I have waited for almost 28 years to present The War of The Worlds – combining the excitement of live performance complemented by various technological ingredients that will hopefully give our audiences, a night to remember.”
waroftheworldsprogThe show featured an all-star cast: A “virtual” Richard Burton: a large bust of the Journalist with a projected image; Justin Hayward; Alexis James; Chris Thompson; Russell Watson; Tara Blaise and Rachael Beck (all on spoken words and vocals)
The Black Smoke Band: Jeff Wayne (conductor), Chris Spedding (guitar), Herbie Flowers (bass), Tom Woodstock (guitars, keyboards), Laurie Wisefield (guitars, mandolin), Accy Yeats (drums), Julia Thornton (percussion, harp, keyboards), Steve Turner, Neil Angilley & Kennedy Aitchison (keyboards).
The Performance:
The Coming of the Martians: The Eve of the War, Horsell Common and The Heat Ray, The Artilleryman and The Fighting Machine, Forever Autumn, Thunder Child
The Earth Under the Martians: The Red Weed (Part 1), The Spirit of Man, The Red Weed (Part 2), Brave New World, Dead London, Epilogue.
The concert was very much a musical as much as it was a rock performance. It was a hugely enjoyable experience; very spectacular, although a little “lost” in the vastness of an arena setting. And “Forever Autumn” as sung by Justin Hayward is a beautiful song.

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