There will be no dark satanic mills in Sunday night’s Olympic closing ceremony. The theme instead will be: Party.
Danny Boyle’s brilliant Olympic opening ceremony, a narrative of British history and culture, was as dark and ever-so-lightly cynical as it was merry. By all accounts, Kim Gavin’s closing version will be just plain merry, a celebration of British music and the athletes, especially the home-grown heroes who made London 2012 a knockout success.
Gavin is the artistic director and former ballet dancer who created Take That’s acclaimed Circus tour. He has said his Olympic wind-down will be "an elegant mash-up of British music, a rich tapestry of British culture and life…something people will remember for years to come."
Unlike Boyle’s extravaganza, where most of the highlights were kept secret until the last minute, the lineup in Gavin’s show have been heavily leaked. The show will feature a mix of recorded and live music, and the musicians who are to appear in the flesh are making Britons smile with excitement.
The artists to appear life include Ray Davies, the former Kinks front man who made Lola one of the most beloved songs of all time, Annie Lennox, the Pet Shop Boys, Fatboy Slim, The Who, Madness, Jessie J, George Michael and, for a special treat, Kate Bush, who has made only the rarest of appearances since the late 1970s.
While Gavin has given the impression that his show will feel somewhat unstructured compared to Boyle’s masterpiece of precision and timing – the opening ceremonies were practically flawless – the reality is bound to be different. He has been given a 20-million pounds budget (Boyle got 27-million pounds) and a cast of more than 4,000 (compared to Boyle’s 10,000), meaning the show will, without doubt, be slickly produced, with no shortage of tricks.
Certainly it appears that no expense is being spared to sex up the performances – the artists will not just stand on stage to belt out the pop, rap and rock songs that made them famous. For instance, the Spice Girls, according to the Telegraph newspaper, are to perform on top of London black cabs. At one point, a giant inflatable octopus is to appear onstage and comedian Russell Brand will reportedly sing the Sex Pistols’ Pretty Vacant on a bus.
The model Kate Moss is due to strut her stuff on a giant catwalk and Eric Idle is to sing Monty Python’s Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life after a human cannon ball performance.
After the music and circus acts end, the athletes will come arrive, or at least those who have not bolted for home –the Games started way back on July 27. Unlike the opening ceremony, where the athletes paraded in country by country, they will appear en masse, though the flag bearers of each country will file in first. Britain has picked gold medal Finn sailor Ben Ainslie to lead the formidable Team GB, which had won 62 medals by Sunday afternoon, 28 of them gold. Team Canada plumped for bronze soccer medalist Christine Sinclair.
When the athletes finish their stuff, no doubt to an ear-splitting roar from 80,000 spectators, some of whom paid more than 1,000 pounds for tickets, London 2012 will give way to Rio de Janeiro 2016. At that point, the stadium will go into carnival mode, with samba, Amazon natives and, no doubt, scantily clad dancers
It’s here that we may see some surprises. Pele, the legendary Brazilian soccer player, is rumoured to be on the Brazilian guest list.
One thing is certain. After the frightfully creative opening ceremony and the undoubtedly splashy and energetic closing ceremony, the Brazilians will have a hard act to follow.
The closing ceremony starts at 9 p.m., London time and is scheduled to go until midnight. But if everyone is having a good time, lateness will be tolerated.