The London 2012 Games Goes Out in Star-Studded Bang!
It was a rockin’ end to the 2012 Olympic games! Name a British band from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s or the aughts and chances are they appeared live or in a taped tribute during the Olympics closing ceremony. It was a musical extravaganza that celebrated the vast array of British music, fashion and automotive traditions.
For big names there was Queen and The Who. For new wave –Madness and The Pet Shop Boys. For heartthrobs –the guilty pleasures of the scandalous, George Michael and teeny bopper delight, One Direction. Only Annie Lennox’s number touched upon the weird gothic vibe that coloured the Opening. Only punk rockers weren’t represented though many would have liked to see The Sex Pistols sing “God Save The Queen”.
The weirdest and most quirky parts were Fat Boy Slim deejaying from the glass skull of a huge, undulating octopus (better than it sounds) and comedian, Eric Idle being shot out of a canon before singing a sappy song (pretty old school).
The much-publicised reunion of The Spice Girls was a highlight - if not a puzzler – as not every viewer understands how they became the biggest selling girl group of all time. Victoria Beckham joined the other Spice Girls dancing on the roofs of cabs but it was Mel B (Sporty Spice) who stole the moment.
The cameras loved her singing front and centre in a spangled body suit. Poor, Victoria (Posh Spice) hardly got a good shot, but it was clear all the Spices were in great shape and ready for their close-up.
Earlier, it was Jessie J. who captured the attention of the crowd. Unlike other singers who performed truncated versions of their hits, Jessie J got to sing four songs.
She even sang with “Queen”, taking the lead in “We Will Rock You”. Jessie J in her skimpy costume, undulating hips and sleek black hair was not the traditional picture of “stiff upper lip” British-ness so heavily conceptualized in parts of the Opening Ceremony.
But, if one had to pick a star that outshone all others, it would be Olympic Stadium!
Never, anywhere has any stadium been so glorious as this one! From the aerial shots, it looked as if a big, blue throbbing Martian spaceship had landed next to the London Eye and the new Orbit.
Inside the stadium, each seat was framed by groups of lights, which were part of a coordinated light show. The lights were so spectacular that it made one look back in embarrassment at the days when holding up a lighter was a big deal.
The “taste of Brazil” section - as the torch was passed to the next host city - seemed like a low-key “Carnivale” compared with everything that came before. It was nice to see the greatest footballer of all time, Pele, but the tease was more like Cirque du Soleil doing the samba. It’s a good thing Rio has four years to catch up to the polish of London.
As the big show winded up, there seemed to be a palpable sigh of relief spreading through the stadium. London had had a lot of pressure on its shoulders and to many people’s surprise they pulled it off. The Games went off extremely well and it was one heck of a party!
The Who, ended the show still sounding like the powerhouse band they were in the 60’s. As they sang, “My Generation” - red, white and blue fireworks shot from the stadium. It could not be a more spectacular sight and a perfect way to end seventeen wonderful days that took seven years to plan. Thank you London for a great show! May things be as bright when you wake up Monday morning.