Monday, 13 August 2012

London 2012 Closing Ceremony - Did it really celebrate 50 years of great British music? Here's my take on things...

London 2012 is over.  And, I have to admit, for someone who wasn't altogether that bothered about the games in the beginning, I actually felt a little sad last night as the Olympic torch was extinguished.  I ended up really getting into the spirit of things so, yes, I guess Olympic fever finally got me too!  But what a great Olympics it was - I think London did a cracking job of hosting the games, and Team GB did us proud. Well done those athletes!

So, onto last night's closing ceremony.  Did I enjoy it?  When it finally got going, yes, I did, actually.  Once George Michael hit the stage it started to feel like the party had really got started and, I have to say, considering what that bloke's been through lately I thought he looked pretty good!  Didn't sound too bad either, although, I have to admit, I was never too sure who was miming and who wasn't last night, because some of them certainly were, I'm almost positive of that!

Anyway, the closing ceremony was supposed to be a celebration of 50 years of British music (and fashion and culture, I know, but I'm kinda concentrating on the music) and in my opinion that's a pretty difficult thing to pull off when you think of the music and the artists Britain has produced in the past 50 years.  I mean, we're talking everything from The Beatles to The Rolling Stones, Adam and the Ants to Cliff Richard, The Sex Pistols to Shirley Bassey.  So I was a bit perturbed to see One Direction pop up last night but what can you do?  This is what British music is right now, whether we like it or not, and I can't really sit here and whinge on about manufactured bands when I'm a Take That fan, but more about them later.

The Kaiser Chiefs
However, there were some great performances at that closing ceremony.  I thought The Kaiser Chiefs tackled 'Pinball Wizard' brilliantly, I love Annie Lennox so really enjoyed 'Little Bird' from her, and Ed Sheerin also pulled off Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here' (one of my all-time favourite songs), which I was quite sceptical about him being able to do, to be honest, because I'm such a huge Pink Floyd fan.

Fatboy Slim spun those decks of his and got me dancing in my seat, and even The Spice Girls had me tapping my fingers on the arm of the sofa, although I was quite amused to see Posh Spice - the just-a-touch-too-skinny-in-my-opinion Mrs. Beckham - almost lose her balance on the top of that taxi when she dared to let go of the safetly rail for a second.  Not wise in those heels she was wearing, really.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Muse, considering they're a band I can either take or leave, but they rocked that stadium, despite the fact the whole thing was overrunning massively by that point.  And, of course, you really couldn't celebrate 50 years of British music without a nod to probably one of the greatest rock bands in British history - Queen.  Freddie Mercury was, in my opinion, a legendary front man and I'm not sure we'll ever see anyone like him again, so it was good to see that even a video of him played out on huge screens could get the crowd going as much as if he'd been there in person.  I mean, let's not forget this was the man who probably, single-handedly, breathed new life into Live Aid around tea time when everyone was starting to flag a bit.  And nobody can deny the guitar-playing genius of Brian May.  However, getting Jessie J to sing 'We Will Rock You'?  I question that decision meself, but I'm a bit of a rock purist I suppose.  And she shouldn't be anywhere near a classic rock song like that.  I know Queen have been doing some dates with former American Idol contestant Adam Lambert, and I would have loved to have seen him perform with them and yes, I know he's American, and this was a celebration of British music, but I could have forgiven that just to hear a Queen song sang how it should be sang.  Got nowt against Jessie J in general, she's just not my thing.  Oh, and while we're on the subject of Jessie J, I think it was the appearance of her, Tinie Tempah and Taio Cruz that I least enjoyed.  In fact, once Tinie Tempah started - I think it was singing, I'm not altogether sure that's what we're supposed to call it - I could have sat down and cried at what British music has become.  That's just my opinion, of course, and I am middle aged now so I'm probably not really supposed to like all that stuff anyway (and I don't - I hate it!), but once you start messing about with a Bee Gees classic, that's when I really get upset!  The aforementioned threesome did a version of probably my favourite Bee Gees track, 'You Should Be Dancing', which was actually fine, up to a point, I mean, do we have to stick a bloody rap in the middle of everything now?  Is it compulsory?  Is there an unwritten law in the music industry that we're not aware of?  Because, y'know, there are some things that really don't need to be brought up-to-date, and that Bee Gees song was one of them.  Some things really can be left in the 70s and still sound good.  It's where they belong.  So leave them there.

Take That at the London 2012 closing ceremony
Anyway, I'm beginning to sound like a female Victor Meldrew now, so, moving on - and a performance that I didn't really think I'd see, to be quite honest.  And that was the appearance of Take That singing 'Rule The World'I know they'd been rumoured to appear, but what with everything that Gary Barlow's been through over the past week or so I just didn't think they'd be there, but they were, and they sang that song incredibly well, considering.  It brought a tear to my eye, and I have every respect for Gary, I really do.  That must have been hard, but you pulled it off, kid!  You did it!

And with Roger Daltrey and The Who closing the whole thing down, it was goodbye to London 2012.  So, did it really celebrate 50 years of great British music?  Sort of.  We had nods to some of the true greats such as David Bowie, John Lennon, The Beatles and Queen, but we also had a glimpse of how bland music has become over the years with the appearance of One Direction, amongst others - I mean, they churn out good pop music but that's all it is.  And I guess what that closing ceremony really made me think about was, are we ever going to have another Pink Floyd or Queen, or are those days now well and truly gone?  Because, if they are, then I'm quite happy to live very much in a musical past.

But I'd like to thank Kim Gavin and his team for putting on a show that reminded me of just how much music means to me.  A great job was done on that score.

And, on that note, I'm now off to dig out a playlist on my iPod that reflects some of that great music from our past, starting with a little bit of the aforementioned Pink Floyd, I think...


  1. I must say, I really enjoyed the closing ceremony - not to mention the opening ceremony and just about everything really! And I was like you, unsure about the wisdom of London hosting it, not that bothered about sport in general and anxious about the possibility of terrorism. I didn't really like all the music last night, but it was flawlessly pulled off. A seamless production - as far as I could see - with no tiresome pauses waiting for the next group or artist to set up. It zipped from one to the next. Great job.

  2. although I did not watch either ceremlony ,the commentsi have heard have all been great, to see some of the best of British