Customer Review

108 of 114 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent update of a classic, 26 Nov 2012
This review is from: Jeff Wayne's Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds - The New Generation (Audio CD)
Despite some reservations, I bought this blind on the first day of release since I've always been a fan of the original and have got all the different versions that's been released, the original vinyl of course (bought some 25 years ago), the remastered CD bonus track edition, the 7-disc collector's edition, the ULLAdubULLA remix albums, the live DVD and I've also seen the live show on the first tour in 2006, so I should be well qualified to comment :-)

On the whole I think it's a great addition to all the other versions. The reservation I had was in particular the choice of Gary Barlow to replace Justin Hayward for the sung thoughts of the journalist, however he actually carries himself off without too much embarrassment, but only because he manages to imitate Justin Hayward's performance quite well. Joss Stone makes it her own and her performance as a more gutsy Beth is a nice touch and brings her character up-to-date. Liam Neeson is engaging and in top form throughout, and very brave considering that he knew comparisons to Richard Burton would be inevitable.

The rest of the performances are a bit middle-of-the-road by various youngish talent. Alex Clare steps into Chris Thomspon's shoes as "the voice of humanity", Maverick Sabre takes on Phil Lynott's part as Parson Nathanial and Ricky Wilson (Kaiser Chiefs' frontman) is the artilleryman originally played by David Essex. I wish Jeff Wayne had stuck with the actor Alexis James as the artilleryman from the first tour, he was brilliant, and the powerful vocals of Chris Thompson from the same cast is sorely missed, but I suppose the purpose of this "new generation" version is to appeal to younger listeners by using contemporary pop/rock stars instead, in fact that's exactly what the original did back in the day.

The music itself is just the right mix of new and old, I was worried it would lose too much of the original "sound" like some of the remix versions which are far out and doesn't really engage the listener like the original did. However, here I think Jeff Wayne has struck the right note and it's refreshing to hear a reinterpretation with the sound of a modern production rather than a remix for once.

If like me, you've listened to the original so many times that you can recall every minute detail in your head and have grown a little weary of it, I highly recommend this version to alleviate the overexposure of the original. Apart from the original and this "new generation" version, the only other version that really cuts it is the "LIVE ON STAGE!" DVD from the 2006 tour with Russell Watson, Alexis James, Tara Blaise plus the original artists Justin Hayward and Chris Thompson. (Avoid the other live version with Jennifer Ellison as Beth, she demolishes the part.)

So, to conclude, four stars and not five since there are better versions out there, however that won't stop me from listening to this new version from now on since it's a great update with a lot of new and interesting production ideas and it's a nice change from listening to the original. The last thing worth mentioning is that this double CD comes as a beautiful miniature hardback 50-page illustrated booklet with tastefully updated artwork, all in the style of the original LP booklet.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Nov 2012 17:28:52 GMT
Last edited by the author on 29 Nov 2012 17:32:48 GMT
LAMBCHOP007 says:
I bought this today and as you said,after countless listening`s of the original its easy to pick every difference in this update.The Brave new world track on the original always sent a shiver down my spine (in a good way) despite David Essex`s dubious performance and I wanted to compare that one especially.Nice touch with the similar style on the packaging.Enjoyable but the original is still favourite.There was only one Richard Burton,sorry Liam.

Posted on 23 Apr 2013 17:13:26 BDT
D. Turner says:
Well I think the new version is brilliant! And I've played the original SO many times over the years. Liam Neeson is a worthy replacement and the new dialogue adds a lot to the story. The new effects (especially the muffling where the journalist has to hide beneath the water before being forced to the surface for air) are superb and the artwork (in the jewel case version) is stunning. A beautiful updating of a classic.
My only reservation is Maverick Sabre as Parson Nathaniel. No great singer and not a patch on the late-great Phil Lynott. Sorry Maverick!
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