Fri, September 20, 2013

Burnett: Mediocre ending to spectacular Games

By THANE BURNETT, QMI Agency


Fireworks light up the sky at the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium August 12, 2012. (REUTERS)


LONDON - That was not so great Britain.

Down through history, we've witnessed remarkable endings.

Outlaw lovers being gunned down in 1967's Bonnie and Clyde.

General Custer's last stand.

My epic break-up with trampy Megan Finn in fifth grade -- in front of the entire freakin' gym class, including Mitch Abbot who was welcome to her.

The list of great finales goes on and on and ends somewhere around Armageddon or maybe when we get floating cities.

But on that list, you likely won't find the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics here in London.

Though, let's be honest, the music was pretty awesome -- if you, as someone tweeted, listen to classic rock stations.

These games started with the best Opening Ceremony of any modern Olympics.

That ceremony, called 'This is For Everyone', was like a triple shot of espresso -- injected directly into your temple.

On the other hand, Sunday night's Closing Ceremony, 'A Symphony of British Music', was the soundtrack you buy at Starbucks while waiting for your skinny Macchiato.

The Opening Ceremony we didn't understand, but it simply didn't matter.

The closing Ceremony we did understand, but it simply didn't compare.

But perhaps there was no way to find a bookend to compete.

Glorious Games in the middle, the closing was always destined to be just a very good 'knees up' British good-bye party.

They did bring out the heavy artillery.

If you're a British pop star and either you or your tunes weren't in the Olympic Stadium, um, you're not really a British pop star.

Oh my, was that Kate Moss on a catwalk in the middle of it all? Wasn't she in the papers stumbling out a club the other night?

And the Spice Girls riding on top of British cabs asking if we really Wannabe? Well sure, I guess.

The moments the closing truly resonated and moved were when the screens flashed the emotions of the athletes.

But the night was built on music.

Other than acts like One Direction, Taio Cruz and Jessie J, this was largely my generation's Closing Ceremony, thanks to performances by The Who and Annie Lennox.

Suddenly I was in my last year of high school.

I hated that year but the music was good.

And I don't recall the Pet Shop Boys being so creepy.

Though Ray Davies could have just kept singing for three hours.

But he stopped, the athletes paraded in and dancers built a pyramid out of 303 boxes -- one for every event. Then some kids sang John Lennon's Imagine, which you knew was coming, right?

George Michael sang and I wondered how crowded the buses would be leaving the stadium.

Wonderfully weird Annie Lennox came in on a black boat and there were flashes of the opening all over again.

Brit comic and former Mr. Katy Perry, Russell Brand sang 'Pure Imagination' from atop a psychedelic tour bus, but it never -- as we all imagined -- blew up.

He said he was the Walrus. Two Beatles spun in their graves.

The world was set right by Eric Idle singing 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life'. At least we could all agree on Monty Python.

Freddie Mercury appeared on a screen, there was a guitar solo that took too long and, soon after, the Olympic flag was handed to a dancing Rio -- and legendary Pele -- who will try to beat the beginning, middle and end in 2016.

"We lit up the the flame -- we lit up the world," said Sebastian Coe, chair of London's organizing committee.

"These were happy and glorious Games," agreed Jacque Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee.

It all rang true, but it was the beginning and middle and not the end we will remember.

Perhaps it's just hard to get excited about a reception at the Hilton when the wedding took place at the Vatican.

Thane.burnett@sunmedia.ca