NO ONE would have believed that 40 years ago one album would have made such an impact on so many people. Having sold millions of copies worldwide including an astonishing two-and-a-half million albums in the UK alone, Jeff Wayne`s Musical Version of The War Of The World`s remains one of the biggest selling albums of all time.

The Metro Arena was packed to see what creator Jeff Wayne hailed as the most ambitious tour yet. This was no idle boast with a cast including Jason Donovan, Newton Faulkner, Adam Garcia and Rock powerhouse, Inglorious frontman, Nathan James bringing the story to thrilling life.

With Jeff Wayne taking centre stage conducting the 36-piece ULLAdubULLA orchestra and the Black Smoke Band who between them created the dramatic crescendos of tension and intense beauty as the story unfolded all enhanced by gripping animations on a huge screen that stretched the length of the stage.

Projections on two screens to the side of the stage saw Liam Neeson narrating the story while his 3D hologram interacted with the cast to the extent that a supremely timed punch floored The Artillery Man, Adam Garcia.

Newton Faulkner delivered a faultless rendition of the Sung Thoughts of the Journalist, while Rocker, Nathan James brought the melodramatic edge to the Voice of Humanity.

With Jason Donovan reprising his role as Parson Nathaniel descending into madness, a far cry from his role in TV show Neighbours, his interaction with wife Beth, played by Carrie Hope Fletcher, was gripping and their on-stage chemistry was electrifying.

As the show reached its climax, we were brought up to date with NASA`s mission to Mars and with the sinister theme to The War Of The Worlds building for one last time, the NASA Controller was vaporised in one of the most astonishing spectacles ever witnessed in the Arena.

Forty years on, The War Of The Worlds remains as thrilling and enthralling as ever, the music, the visuals and the whole production was simply stunning making the 40th anniversary tour the biggest and most spectacular yet.

Mick Burgess