Fri, September 20, 2013

Let the Olympic Closing Ceremony rumours begin

By THANE BURNETT, QMI Agency


Adele is among the British music stars many hope will perform at Sunday's 2012 Summer Games Closing Ceremony. (Mark O'Neill/QMI Agency)


LONDON - If Sunday’s Closing Ceremony has a chance at surpassing the opening number, they better resurrect a couple Beatles.

The problem with setting the bar way up here — as my dad, who once bet us he could chug an entire bottle of cider vinegar, would have told you — is the kids then expect you to better the feat next time.

2016 host nation Brazil, even with the half-naked Rio carnival card under the sleeve, is likely developing a nervous twitch right now.

But London still has one more final act to get through on Sunday.

Though how do you top your top and out-do what you just out-did?

By budget, design and mood, the Closing Ceremony of any Olympics is the slightly pigeon-toed brother to the neighbourhood track star.

You have all the speeches to get through, they snuff out the flame instead of igniting it, officials want to take their bow and there’s things like the required playing of the Greek anthem — yes Hymn to Liberty is wonderful, Greece, but it won’t have 900 million people dancing in front of their TVs or cause 80,000 jaws in the Olympic Stadium to drop.

At the start of the Games, we’re a little drunk on possibility and wonder.

But by the end, you think you’re sober enough to drive off now.

We have seen flashes of gripping brilliance in past ends.

Including, in 2006, watching past Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan — in a move he secretly repeatedly practiced beforehand — spin in his wheelchair while waving the Olympic flag after it was passed over in Turin, Italy.

But the closing ceremony tickets are what you usually buy your dying great-grandmother who always dreamed of seeing an Olympics. You’d never give her your pass to the opening.

There are lots of rumours around this city of what this ceremony will include. I want to suggest you Tweet out “the Queen fighting a bear” and a “gag flame that keeps reigniting.”

It’s not expected to be the cerebral-cortex overload the Opening Ceremony was. Instead, with athletes and London finally able to take a breath, it will be the best concert ever to come to your town — only 100 times better and much more theatrical.

It’s called, after all, “A Symphony of British Music.”

Don’t be worried about that. The Brits have a habit of making interesting things sound lame and lame things really interesting.

Since I’ve been here, I’ve watched a documentary on the social significance of the colour white in art and something about the secret lives of bridges.

So fear not. This country has birthed some of the most influential and important pop performers of the past three generations.

Then there’s George Michael, who has already said he’ll be there on Sunday.

Muse, who sang the official song of these Games, will also make an appearance.

Likely, but less certain, are sets by the Spice Girls, Adele, Kate Bush, Take That, Madness and The Who.

Along with estimated 4,100 performers doing routines.

“It’s going to be beautiful, cheeky, cheesy, camp, silly and thrilling,” David Arnold, music director of the Closing Ceremony told the U.K. Telegraph newspaper.

Arnold has scored five Bond films. Don’t mess with him.

And the stage designer has worked with Rihanna and Lady Gaga.

As you’re reading this, their rehearsals are reportedly taking place in an abandoned car factory in suburban Dagenham, in east London.

While I know I’ll want to buy the soundtrack, I can’t imagine the last song can match the drunken awe of the very first night here.

Unless the Queen beats the bear.

Thane.burnett@sunmedia.ca

@thane.burnett