Jeff Wayne performs his magnum opus in full at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena to mark the milestone 40th anniversary of its release.

Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of War of the Worlds was the legendary composer’s debut album, released back in 1977. The seminal progressive rock opera was derived from the 1898 HG Wells science fiction novel The War of the Worlds. The groundbreaking release itself is one of the top 40 best-selling albums of all time in the UK – an impressive achievement to say the least.

Over the years The War of the Worlds has been adapted into many different formats spanning both stage and screen. Wayne’s current jaunt brings his musical adaption of War of the Worlds to the most prestigious arenas in the United Kingdom.

Taking to the stage in front of a packed out Metro Radio Arena, Jeff Wayne takes a bow before assuming his position on a podium nestled between his 36–piece ULLAdubULLA Strings section and 9–piece Black Smoke Band.

Sitting on the left side of the stage is legendary bass player Herbie Flowers, who besides performing on the original recording also came up with the bass line for Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side”.

During the opening number of the show “The Eve of the War” Newton Faulkner, who plays The Sung Thoughts of The Journalist delivers the immortal line ‘The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one, he said’. This seems rather fitting on a week where NASA’s Insight spacecraft undertook its fact-finding mission to the red planet itself.

For this tour, Wayne has once again assembled a star-studded cast featuring Jason Donovan, Adam Garcia, West End star Carrie Hope Fletcher, Anne-Marie Wayne along with rock frontman Nathan James from Inglorious. James is truly a powerhouse vocalist and really shines during “Thunder Child”, he is perfect for this role.

There is no weak link in this uber-talented ensemble, each of these versatile artists bring this timeless composition to life and captivate the Newcastle audience during the show’s approximately two-hour duration.

The scale of tonight’s production is simply mesmerising, in what can only be described as an audio-visual extravaganza. Video walls span the rear of the stage displaying complimentary visuals that perfectly accompany Jeff Wayne’s beautiful score. This is further enhanced by Hollywood star Liam Neeson’s narrative, who appears on screen throughout delivering the role of George Herbert, The Journalist.

To add to this, a simulated invasion from a 35 foot tall Martian Fighting Machine firing flames and heat rays into the audience is the centrepiece of the stage mid-show. But it doesn’t stop here, falling leaves during “Forever Autumn” gives the show an immersive feel. Whereas the frequent appearance of cast members on the arena floor, including a grand entrance by Artilleryman Adam Garcia via a drawbridge suspended over the crowd which lowers the Coyote Ugly star into the centre of the arena brings the audience close to the heart of the action. To complete the show a NASA news reader is vaporised in front of our very eyes.

It goes without saying that tonight’s performance was simply out of this world.

Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of War of the Worlds
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Event Date: 01-Dec-2018

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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