The Closing Ceremony 2012: A Tearful Goodbye?

So everybody was tuned in to the Olympics Closing Ceremony last night, as ‘England let its hair down’ and the athletes could enjoy a party knowing their hard work and persistence with training was well rewarded. The theme of the closing ceremony was that of Great British music, and boy, did we deliver. We wanted to make a great first impression with our opening ceremony, and wanted to leave a lasting one with the closing ceremony. Challenge accepted and executed! Mission Olympics 2012 complete.

The stadium was brought to life by striking artwork on the floor of the Union Jack (I’m still not sick of seeing that everywhere yet!) and famous London landmarks such as Big Ben and the London Eye were lit up in fantastic blue lighting and shrouded in newspaper-style paper. This was a symbol to show we have free press over here. There was an extreme air of mystery surrounding the stadium as every body was wondering who will be performing to the world.

As the famous gongs of Big Ben echoed round the stadium, it looked as if New Years Eve had arrived early when the crowd chanted with each haunting chime. The crowd got very over-excited, and at one point were counting ahead of the gongs. When we got to nine, none of knew what to expect. One thing’s for sure, a Reliant Robin exploding with Batman and Robin emerging from it was the last thing to cross my mind. Madness’ performance of ‘Our House’ got everybody in the crowd singing and dancing along, with performers in the stadium re-enacting “a good ol’ knees up!” street party, reminding me of all the Jubilee celebrations we had earlier this year. It was a great first song, as it told everyone in the crowd that, by the way, in case you didn’t realise – you’re in LONDON baby! We are hosting this for the rest of the world, and we are so happy that you’re here!

Excellent percussion group ‘Stomp’ really got the crowds going in rhythm with them as they featured several times throughout the production. Even though it was still London’s ceremony, it gave us a little hint of Rio too, as well as a general party atmosphere. It was so nice to see something that was not as staged as the Opening ceremony, but more relaxed and lenient.

David and his wife Samantha dance the night away with Boris Johnson

Sentimental bits: The athletes arriving into the stadium through the crowd was really great to see. The athletes could experience first hand the support and gratitude we have for their hard work and perseverance, and the crowd got to feel really involved with the ceremony itself by communicating with the athletes. Elbow’s music provided a beautiful emotional backdrop to the colourful scene that lay before us. Annie Lennox gave a haunting and eye-catching performance,  as did the long-anticipated Spice Girls. The LED black cabs were a great touch, but not as good as London mayor Boris Johnson and Prime Minister David Cameron boogying along to the hits of the Spice Girls. That may have been my highlight. Oh wait. Ed Sheeran. His performance of Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ was underestimated. Just a young lad wearing a hoodie with an acoustic guitar, his casual performance had me gripped. It showed that we don’t have to glam up everything in sight to make it impressive.

Other big names such as George Michael didn’t disappoint with his entrance with ‘Freedom’, although I don’t know about you, but I found his second song was a bit away with the fairies. We could have had a rendition of ‘Faith’, George!
A performance that was relished by all was for sure, without a doubt, from Freddie Mercury. It was unbelievable how a man who has been dead for nearly twenty-one years managed to get a crowd of 80,000 going. Brian May’s guitar performance was predictably impressive, and Jessie J’s accompanying singing was a huge surprise. I felt a little underwhelmed when I saw who was going to play Mercury’s part, however she really stepped up to the game and got the crowd joining the party.

Take That had the honour of singing ‘Rule the World‘ as the magnificent and eloquent copper petals slowly died out. The crowd were hugely behind Gary Barlow, whose wife tragically gave birth to their stillborn daughter, Poppy. It was truly inspiring seeing Barlow perform with ease and dignity, in what we can assume to be a massive tribute to his daughter.

With the opening ceremony, I think everybody was concerned about the impression we would be giving the rest of the world, hoping they would understand British culture. This time round, It was more: ‘We don’t care if you get this or not, we hope you do, but at the end of the day this is a party for London 2012. This is how we do it over here. Enjoy!’ As we wipe a (happy) tear away saying goodbye to London 2012, we can only await to see what happens at Rio at the 2016 Olympics.

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