‘Happy and glorious’ Olympics come to rocking end
The great festival that began with the stirring resonances of Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony came to a poignant end with a light-hearted pageant of British popular culture.
An exploding Reliant Robin featured, along with Take That and the Spice Girls, the voices of John Lennon and Freddie Mercury, Tim Spall as Winston Churchill, Julian Lloyd Webber, Kate Moss in Alexander McQueen, an airborne Darcey Bussell, Madness, the Pet Shop Boys, Ray Davies singing Waterloo Sunset, and the thousands of athletes from 204 countries who had kept us enthralled and enraptured.
To follow Boyle’s Isles of Wonder with Kim Gavin’s Symphony of British Music was a bit like switching from Ready Steady Go! to Top of the Pops, albeit with the same mind-boggling shuffling of scenery, dazzling choreography and brilliant use of lighting.
British sports cars of the 1960s circled the track and giant models of the Albert Hall and the Shard were replaced by a shattered sculpture reformed to create the face of Lennon while the crowd sang the words to Imagine.
It was, as promised, more cacophonous than symphonic. Bradley Wiggins will have loved the parade of 50 Vespas and Lambrettas, lights blazing and raccoon tails rampant, that accompanied Kaiser Chiefs’ ardent version of Pinball Wizard.
PHOTO: Jessie J performs during the closing ceremony at Olympic Park.
Jessie J, Tinie Tempah and Taio Cruz performed from moving Rolls-Royce convertibles, like an extended advert for the best of British bling, while Russell Brand sang I Am the Walrus from a psychedelic bus that metamorphosed into a giant transparent octopus from which Fatboy Slim delivered a short DJ set. When the Spice Girls sang from the top of black cabs, the Olympics seemed to have turned into the Motor Show.
Last of all, after the speeches, Rio de Janeiro’s preview of 2016 and the extinguishing of Thomas Heatherwick’s cauldron, came the surviving members of the Who, closing the Games with the adrenaline shot of My Generation, although the real anthem of London 2012 had undoubtedly been David Bowie’s Heroes.
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