London 2012: Olympic Games close with spectacular party
Britain’s most famous, from “Winston Churchill” to Big Ben, from The Spice Girls to black cabs, from Kate Moss to The Who, all appeared as part of the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
A Symphony of British Music was a celebration of one of Britain’s biggest exports - music.
It all started with a performance from Emeli Sande, who sang Read All About It on a stage featuring models of London’s iconic structures including Big Ben, the London Eye and the Gherkin.
A scene called Rush Hour took viewers through a day in the life of London, from surise to sunset as theatre group Stomp, hanging from scaffolding, began playing music using the models of London’s icons.
Julian Lloyd Webber and the London Symphony Orchestra performed Edward Elgar’s Salut D’Amour, and London gospel choir Urban Voices Collective performed Because by The Beatles.
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Winston Churchill, played by British actor Timothy Spall, then brought the cacophony to a stop, reciting Caliban’s speech from The Tempest which was read by Kenneth Branagh as Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the opening ceremony.
The London Symphony Orchestra, Urban Voices Collective and The Massed Bands of the Household Division performed God Save the Queen, following the entrance of Prince Harry - representing the Queen - and International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge, whilst the Union Flag was raised by representatives of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.
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Rain clouds on the floor cloth were then pulled away to reveal an artwork by one of the world’s most famous living artists, Damian Hirst, which showed the Union Jack.
Madness performed Our House, before the Household Division Ceremonial State Band performing Blur’s Parklife joined by the Hackney Colliery Band, while performers recreated scenes reminiscent of the street parties held earlier this year to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee.
As the day in the life of London drew to a close Ray Davies performed Waterloo Sunset whilst Britain’s Got Talent winners Spelbound performed on iconic London landmarks before Emeli Sand� returned with a reprise of Read All About It.
The 10,000 athletes of the Olympics came into the Stadium together, reflecting the global solidarity of the Olympic movement.
Dhol drummers played while 303 white boxes, one for each sport, were brought into the Stadium to Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill, and scenes from the Games were played on video screens.
The men’s marathon winners then had their victory ceremony, which is traditionally part of the closing ceremony. The medals were presented by International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge.
A tribute then took place to the 70,000 Games Maker volunteers who have been central to the Games’ success.
Some of Britain’s most famous artists took to the stage to play their own music and classic British songs, while original recordings of other British classics were played.
During a compilation of David Bowie songs giant pictures of Britain’s most famous supermodels, including Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss were wheeled in, before being ripped down to reveal the supermodels themselves wearing bespoke creations by iconic British fashion designers including Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood.
Other performances included Russell Brand singing Pure Imagination from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Eric Idle performing Always Look On The Bright Side of Life with a selection of characters including Morris Dancers, rugby players, Bhangra dancers and a battalion of the Roman Army.
He said: “I’m delighted to be an Olympian, and proud to have been chosen to represent my country at Show Business. I’m hoping for a Brass Medal.”
The Spice Girls reunited for the ceremony singing their debut song Wannabe as well as Spice Up Your Life, the latter on top of sparkly London cabs, while London mayor Boris Johnson and Prime Minister David Cameron danced along in the audience.
The section included in Chachi Calencia, alias The Rocket Man, being fired across the Stadium from a cannon.
The Olympic Flag was lowered to the Olympic Anthem sung by the London Welsh Male Voice Choir and the London Welsh Rugby Club Choir before being handed over from Mayor of London Boris Johnson to Mr Rogge, who presented it to Mayor of Rio de Janeiro Eduardo Paes.
This marked the start of the Rio 2016 artistic segment ‘Embrace’ from creative directors Cao Hamburger and Daniela Thomas, featuring street cleaner Renato Sorriso, singer Marisa Monte, rapper BNeg�o, actor-singer Seu Jorge, model Alessandra Ambr�sio and an appearance by Pele.
London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games chairman Seb Coe and Mr Rogge made speeches.
As the final flame flickered in the Olympic cauldron and its stems opened outwards, a new flame came to life above to form the outline of a flaming 20 metre-wide phoenix, suspended high above the audience, and Take That sang Rule the World.
Celebrated prima ballerina Darcey Bussell flew down from the roof of the stadium to be met by four male principal dancers from The Royal Ballet and more than 200 ballerinas, to then dance en pointe to Spirit of the Flame, composed by David Arnold, before the flame in Thomas Heatherwick’s Olympic cauldron was extinguished.
This marked the finale of the ceremony, with a performance by The Who, who sang a number of songs culminating in My Generation, as a nod to the London 2012 Games motto Inspire a Generation.