Comment permalink

London Summer Olympics 2012: Closing ceremony rocked

A celebration of British music

I've got to say, I was pretty impressed with the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The Brits put on one heck of a music-filled show, complete with nods to some of the greatest rock acts in music history.

The three-hour (plus) closing ceremony included performances by The Who, Queen (featuring Jessie J) and the incomparable Annie Lennox. As with all of these kinds of events, the show was rather long, but the pace was quick enough that it kept my attention throughout. Rock on, Great Britain, rock on.I suppose I'll have to mention some of the non-rock British acts that performed during the Olympics closing ceremony too: The Spice Girls, One Direction (which had my niece doing back flips and screaming in a pitch that only our dogs could hear), George Michael and the Pet Shop Boys (very cool). This ends the non-rocking portion of our evening.

Let's discuss Freddie Mercury, shall we? The closing ceremony featured Freddie center stage. Footage from Queen's iconic 1986 concert at Wembley Stadium was used as the audience chanted along with the virtual Mercury, and then Brian May and Roger Taylor joined in. Together with Brit pop star Jessie J, they performed "We Will Rock You." I wasn't crazy about Jessie J in the mix (it was brutal, if I'm being honest), but I loved the Mercury bit. He remains the single greatest rock voice of all-time, as far as I'm concerned, and I miss him.

John Lennon also made an appearance, in the form of a video for "Imagine." It was quite a moving moment, and it fit perfectly into the ceremony. Russell Brand's performance of "I Am the Walrus"? Not so much.

Liam Gallagher sounded okay, as he and his band Beady Eye performed "Wonderwall." And when I say "okay," I mean not really all that great. I always thought Noel had a better voice. If the Spice Girls can get back together for the Olympics, why can't Noel and Liam? Such a shame.

Another interesting thing: A Kate Bush song made an appearance. Now, if you were watching the chopped version of NBC's broadcast, you missed this, but it was mighty interesting. Thankfully the folks over at Gawker have the video here.  And no, it's not rock and roll -- but it's most certainly art rock and classic Kate Bush.

Finally, there was a tribute to Pink Floyd, one of so many iconic British bands that it's impossible to name them all. Indie singer Ed Sheeran performed "Wish You Were Here" with members of Pink Floyd and Genesis. As he sang, a tightrope walker high above the stadium helped to recreate the cover of Floyd's 1975 album -- and yes, the acrobat shook hands with a burning man in a suit while he was balancing on the tightrope. Nifty.

All in all, I'd say the music side of the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony was pretty entertaining, though they totally missed (in my opinion) the chance to end with "We Are the Champions." Am I wrong here? I don't think I am.