Last night I had the pleasure of going to see Jeff Wayne conducting the 10-piece Black Smoke Band and 36-piece ULLAdubULLA Strings playing his version of the The War of The Worlds, I have loved this since I was a kid (it must have been the prog rock that Jeff used back 1978 production) but also the voice of Richard Burton (as George Herbert, The Journalist) that haunts the whole thing – and in particular with this production his hologram hangs over the CIA in Cardiff.
We were treated the brilliant vocal talents of Justin Hayward (The Moody Blues) and Chris Thompson (Manfred Mann’s Earth Band ) who were in the original recording and they were accompanied by Rhydian (off the telly) as Parson Nathaniel who did his own camp opera version of the character that Phil Lynott originally played, his wife was played by Liz McClarnon who was in a girl pop band Iam told my the Mrs.
My surprise of the night was Jason Donovan as The Artilleryman (played by a certain sheddie lady’s favourite David Essex in the original) – of course it would be no surprise to Jason’s fans, as he has done so many other musical theatre shows but his maniacal singing in the 2nd half (Brave New World) was great..
The visuals and effects were exciting from where we where sitting and smoke and fire effects added to the atmosphere, but it was the music that shone above al,l the mixed of the orchestra and rock band worked just as well today, as it did in my bedroom in the 80s on cassette – some of the tracks were a little dated but maybe retro is the word to use nowadays.
The Black Smoke Band were top notch and some perfect guitar solos and banging percussion.
I love the long pieces like the “Horsell Common and the Heat Ray” but the more popular and well know “Forever Autumn” got the most reaction from the audience- it’s a shame that the falling leaves from the ceiling did not reach us 😉
A great “modern/interwebby” audience participation feature was that punters were asked to Tweet to the shows stream @twotwofficial and certain ones where picked to appear on the giant screen at the back in the break.
It was a great way to engage the audience in the interval and we got a few “I Love you Jason” and “Terry from Barry visiting the show with his mum”, a few of mine ended up on screen as well – which was nice.
Waiting for @twotwofficial to start the food/drink prices are not the only thing out of this world (@ Cardiff International Arena)
@twotwofficial brilliant prod rock with 3d wossnames
Anyway tickets may be still available for the rest of the tour, its not cheap but if you are a fan well worth it.