Event: War of the Worlds

I’m going to take a wee break from chronicling my trip to New York to post about The War of the Worlds.  I went to see the 30th anniversary live show of Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds on 20 June, the night before I flew to New York.  Of course, a more diligent blogger would have come right home and blogged about it that night but I trust you won’t judge me too harshly! 

In case you’re wondering what I’m going on about, I’ll give you a brief recap.  In 1898, the infinitely talented H. G. Wells wrote The War of the Worlds.  In 1938, a radio dramatisation of the story led to a mild panic amongst listeners owing to its format of simulated news broadcasts.  I doubt many people truly believed the Martians had landed but in the months before World War II, reports of poisonous gasses and invasion would have been frightening if heard out of context.  In 1978, Jeff Wayne released a musical concept album based on the book.  The double album was about 90 minutes long and it tells through music and song the story of the Martians landing and their attempt to take over Earth.

It begins exactly as the book does: “No one would have believed in…

[press play]

I have to apologise. My simple little point-and-click camera might be okay for photographs but it takes shocking videos of limited length.  If you did listen to the clip above, you may have recognised the opening chords.  This version is actually quite famous.

For me personally, this was a very exciting event.  I’ve been a fan of this version for so many years that I know the entire double album off by heart and was absolutely thrilled to have the chance to see it performed live.


They had a full orchestra and Jeff Wayne himself conducted.  He received such a loud applause when he walked out onto the stage.  You can just see him there on the screen above.


The story is narrated by The Journalist and was originally performed by Richard Burton on the 1978 album.  His image was computer generated during the performance and his original narration used.  Justin Hayward performed the parts of The Journalist that were sung.  I almost fainted when I saw him there on stage (luckily I was seated).  This wonderful man was the lead singer of the Moody Blues and his voice is still really good.  There were actors playing the roles of The Artillery Man, Parson Nathaniel, The Parson’s Wife Beth, Carrie and the Voice of Humanity too. 

Look! Justin Hayward!  Sorry, I was a bit too far away to get decent photos of the cast.

It’s probably worth mentioning that I refused to watch Tom Cruise’s film on principal.  I’m just not a fan of Tom Cruise, his Mickey Mouse voice, the fact that he broke Nicole Kidman’s heart or the fact that they took my beloved War of the Worlds and set it in the modern day.  So this was the first time I’ve seen a proper model of the Martian fighting machine and it was awesome!

I took my brother along with me because Stephen had no idea what it was all about.  We had a fantastic night and I loved the performance so much that I’d certainly consider going again. If I have a spare £50 lying around and they come to the UK.

In the meantime, I’m going to Mika on Friday (Ste likes him and I won tickets) and both Pixies and Shpongle in October.  It’ll be the second time I see both those bands.

28 comments on "Event: War of the Worlds"
  1. I just got that book out of the library today!!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this moment from your life in a very passionate way...I enjoyed it. Cheers

  3. The original movie was awesome in every regard. I remember watching it awhile back and it still gives me the creeps, but in a good way.

    I rented the Tom Cruise version and honestly can say it wasn't as bad, as I expected. I wouldn't run out and buy the movie, but watching it once didn't kill me.

    I've never heard of the musical version, before reading this blog. Interesting, I might have to see if my library has it.

  4. Had the double album on vinyl in my teens, got the DVD of this show now. It must have been a great experience to see this live.


  5. I went to see the musical last christmas at sheffield, it was a christmas present off my mum for my brother and I, we grew up with the sound track but our partners were a little bemused by our uncontrolable child like excitment but they said they enjoyed it... all in all it was great, loved every minute of it!

    I even played the album at a metal new years eve wharehose party back in 2000 when everyone was winding down...

  6. Wow! Your blog is so inspirational! I hope that mine can be the same for others...


  7. Ciao Emm, Thanks again, you know I love your descriptions! Nice post about this musical
    PS: so Tom Cruise has a Mickey Mouse voice? ahahhahahahahahaah
    Have a nice week! ITalo

  8. My second job, when I moved to London in 1988, was working for Jeff Wayne. One item I still have is a signed copy of the War Of The Worlds album he gave me. It's packed away at my MIL's but I still have it.

  9. Wow. What a post. I read the whole thing.

  10. http://bailey-jean.blogspot.com

    would love some support/followers to get me started!


    great blog!

    i live near london and love it, yet to see war of the worlds but looks fantastic!

  11. I did not know there was a musical version of this tale! I'll have to see if it's available at the local library :)

  12. update: it is!!! I've put in a hold request! :)

  13. Wow, this much have been amazing. I remember my mom playing me the cassette of these many moons ago. I was just a kid, but I was terrified.

  14. nice! the pics remind me of the Lion King musical i saw while i was in London.

    looks like u enjoyed urself! :-)

  15. Very good! I never like War of the Worlds much, but now you make me wanna read it! (I'm not a particular fan of Tom Cruise either)

  16. Absolutely fascinating entry, thank you so much for leading me here. I have been reading your past entries and will certainly continue visiting here, you have a great blog! Nice "meeting" you.

  17. nice concert and great picture...thanks

  18. Always thought that Tom Cruise's films are overrated. Hmm, waiting for lunch time before watching that clip. :)

  19. Looks like an amazing show; I'm a big fan of the old (1960 ?) Time Machine film.

  20. Hello, there. Hope I do not sound too silly but I'm a "stalker" and I like your blog very much. I'm Brazilian. I've been to London in JAN of this very year. That's why I looked for a blog like yours. And it's awesome. Congrats!!!!

  21. You should see the movie F is for Fake...the last movie Orson Welles completed in his lifetime...brilliant work.
    On another note Emme...How the hell did you take those pix??? Well here in Korea they would have snapped my camera in two!! Brilliant covert ops if you had to smuggle in your camera.

  22. I remember watching Tom Cruise's War of the Worlds and wondering when it would end (it dragged on forever, and not in a good way). So you're definitely not missing anything, and looks like the show you went to was great!

    And to get back to the comment you left on my France blog (if you can even remember, it's taken me forever and a day to get back to you!), yes, (sadly) I am home. I live in the US, in the great state of Pennsylvania. I am still blogging, but I'm afraid my life at home is far less exciting than the life I lived abroad. Guess I just have to plan a trip back there soon! :)

  23. Wow, that sounds awesome.
    Great, great blog, luv!


  24. @ London Belle: Did you enjoy it? I managed to get "Time Machine" out.

    @ Baron: It is always a pleasure! Thank you for your reward!

    @ Phoenix: I never knew there was an earlier movie - I shall try get hold of it!

    @ BBE: Aaaah, a kindred spirit! Yay!

    @ Ben Tilford: Another kindred spirit! I was also quite childlike but my brother was totally accommodating which is why I took him instead of my husband.

    @ Nikk: Nice blog! Maybe put a little bit in about how you like the pieces.

    @ Italo: Aah, it is no secret that I am NO fan of Tom Cruise!

    @ Heini: thanks.

    @ Theresa: Wow. Wow, wow, wow. That impressed me and made me all fangirlish! How amazing! Was he nice to work with?

    @ Abe: Cool! I am glad you read it!

  25. @ Bailey-Jean: All you have to do to generate a blog following is to write consistent, good quality posts!

    @ Lynne: Did you get hold of it???

    @ Lauren: Yeah - it was quite scary to see the live action! Well, I suppose "exhilerating" is a better word.

    @ Ash: Heh. I believe Lion King is very good but I am not a fan.

    @ Celeste: I'm working backwards through my entries trying to catch up with comments. How strange that we should be at the point where we "met"! I feel like we are already old pals.

    @ Sani: Thank you!

    @ CK: yeah, I also think he is overrated.

    @ The Reasonable Christian: Thnak you!

    @ blessingsgoddess: Wow! I did not know about the 1960 film. I hsall have to try see both of these old films.

    @ Doute: Hi! That's okay. You don't sound like a stalker. Welcome!

    @ Marilyn: Ha ha! Cameras were allowed in this performance but we weren't allowed to use flashes. There is no way I would risk losing my camera and I hardly ever use it when it is not permitted.

    @ Slynnard: Yeah, that is why I staretd this blog actually. To look for all the touristy things that we miss in daily life. You'd be surpruised how many people would like to see Pennsylvania. You should take some photos and tell some stories!

    @ Raya: Why thank you! Glad you liked it!


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