Well… the Olympics are over. I have a lot of emotions about this. But instead of telling you about my favorite Olympic athletes (Daley, Blake, Pistorious, Sinclair) or my favorite moments (Brent Hayden getting a medal, Epke Zonderland killing his high-bar routine and winning gold, Usain Bolt’s general showmanship) this post will focus on the music of the closing ceremonies. And there was a lot of it.
Opening section – A Day in the Life in London
Emeli Sande singing “Read all about it”- She sounded good, but I wish they’d started with something a bit more upbeat. Aside: Apparently all that text covering the piano/cars/etc. was works of great British authors.
Madness singing “Our House” (in the middle of our street) – including marching band and huge street party. Good idea to start the party with a song that pretty much everyone knows.
Petshop boys, if you’re not singing “Go West” I’m not sure if I’m interested (this was “Westend Girls”). But props to them for taking it all so seriously in those black dunce caps with their orange dunce cap rickshaw drivers.
One Direction! I love these little scamps. And, as I have mentioned before, I love songs that involve a clapping section.
Ray Davies singing Waterloo Sunset – I get the feeling that Mr. Davies is well-loved in Britain. Some very strange imagery was happening during this number. I don’t pretend to understand. But overall, a nice performance of a nice song.
Main Event – Symphony of British Music
(They set up the stage while Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” was playing. I love that song. People may be more familiar with the Placebo version.)
Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody” (just a snip) to get us going.
John Lennon/Children’s choir singing “Imagine” – I guess you can’t really have a tribute to British music without incorporating this in some capacity. The part where they made the puzzle that looked like Lennon’s face was very cool.
George Michael – “Freedom” and “White Light” – There were parts of White Light when I thought “wow, he sounds amazing” and then I realized the microphone was down at his side. Interesting. But I’d say he’s still got it. More or less. Aside: his dance moves are the best.
Kaiser Chiefs and their biker gang sang the Who’s “Pinball Wizard” and they were sounding really good. I liked this a lot.
A Bowie montage – no trip to London would be complete without one.
OH GOD IT’S ANNIE LENNOX. She was looking effin’ possessed in her demonic flying ship. And sounding fabulous as she sang “Little Bird”. Aside: I love that CTV cut to Mark Tewksbury singing along as everyone else took photos.
Ed Sheeran and his hoodie singing Pink Floyd – I wonder if any of the athletes outside of English-speaking Europe, Canada, and the USA are aware of this person and his music. I bet the team from Brazil is like “what the hell is this?” But he is so cute with his ginger bedhead. I want him to be my little brother.
Russell Brand as Willy Wonka – Definitely unexpected and hilarious. And surprisingly not a totally awful singing voice.
Fatboy Slim – That’s what Fatboy Slim looks like? Who knew? Great music though.
Jessie J/Tinie Tempeh/Taio Cruz – She has a fantastic voice, and an equally fantastic aversion to pants. I’m not sure that Tinie Tempeh was an obvious selection for this, but good for him for getting invited. And I don’t know why, but I find Taio Cruz very appealing. I think it’s largely because he’s British. They all sang their own songs and then “We Should Be Dancing” from the BeeGees. This trio was likely inserted into the program when the producers realized that a lot of the Olympians are younger than 19 and would never have heard of half the acts before.
SPICE GIRLS! This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. WANNABE! SPICE UP YOUR LIFE! I love that they rolled up in cars that suited their Spice personality. Was it me, or did it seem like Mel B’s mic was up like 3 notches higher than everyone else’s? Were they lip-synching? Maybe. Doesn’t matter. They are fantastic. I’m so glad this happened.
Oasis – Good old “Wonderwall”. And then they were introduced as “Beady Eye”. What? When did that happen? Because that was most certainly a Gallagher brother. He sounded… well… he sounded like he’s done a lot of living since Wonderwall came out.
Eric Idle (of Monty Python fame) – Always looking on the bright side of life is probably easy to do when Victoria Secrets Models spontaneously appear behind you during your performance. In my humble opinion, this number went on for a bit too long, however I loved seeing Harry and Kate bobbing and whistling along.
Muse – Truth be told, I’m not 100% wild about “Survival” (the official song of the Olympic games). I prefer the “Uprising” era of Muse. They started off ok (although you couldn’t hear the piano he was playing at all), then it got very, very theatrical for my tastes… like bordering on Fred Mercury-esque. Although it was actually followed up by a Freddy Mercury tribute of sorts. So… maybe that was on purpose? I don’t know. I wasn’t sold.
Queen & Jessie J (this time in a different nude bodysuit…at least she’s consistent in her nakedness) – there was a crazy (long) guitar solo from Brian May and then “We Will Rock you” (the original Jock Jam) with no shortage of vocal acrobatics from Miss J. Sometimes less is more.
Take That – I love boy bands. It’s a well documented fact. My love for these guys goes back to “Back for Good”. The always dashing Gary Barlow is in the midst of a serious family tragedy, so it’s pretty amazing that he still did this performance. One major missing component though – where was Robbie Williams?
The Who – Teenage Wasteland (or as many of us know it – the opening credits from CSI NY) and several other classics. It was a great performance from some guys who really know how to rock.
And now… for my own Awards Ceremony:
Most “This is irrelevant to the Olympics” moment – section dedicated to British models and designers… because models are such shining examples of athletic accomplishment
WTF Awesome moment – Russel Brand as Willy Wonka
WTF No Thanks moment – Matt Bellamy’s over-emotive performance and shiny suit
Best Harry Potter moment – Wormtail as Churchill
Most “seriously?” moment – “Beady Eye” performing Wonderwall. Just be Oasis.
Best “Did anyone else see that” moment – When Posh Spice almost lost her balance on top of her Posh mobile. God love ya Victoria Beckham.
Most disappointing moment that never happened – Adele? Where are you? I thought you would be there. I was legitimately disappointed. Damn you Perez Hilton for getting my hopes up.
Most questionable use of Bollywood backup dancers – Eric Idle
Most bizarre stage prop – giant blow-up Octopus
Most hilarious juxtaposition of luxury good with lyrics re: not caring about material possessions – Jessie J in Rolls Royce Phantom singing “Pricetag”
Dreamiest performers I’m too old to say are dreamy – One Direction
Person in the audience I most want to be best friends with – Kate Middleton. Obviously.
Most exciting moment – Spice Girls, no question.
So that’s it. The Olympics are done. Now I have no idea what to do with myself all day, but I suspect I’ll get into Shark Week in a big way to fill the void.