So, enjoy the Opening Ceremony to the London Olympic Games?
If, like our hard-working US news editor – who posted a bunch of stories you should probably read while it was going on – you missed the remarkably music-focused ceremony, then here’s a brief recap of the best bits:
– Mike Oldfield soundtracked a 20-minute section of the Danny Boyle directed night, paying tribute to the National Health Service. It included ‘In Dulci Jubilo’, as well as, naturally, ‘Tubular Bells’. It all went a bit weird after a while here: the floor was eventually filled with cartoonish monsters which were, according to the BBC commentary team, supposed to represent the tradition of ghost stories (naturally, Harry Potter writer JK Rowling appeared at this point to read an introduction). These were eventually vanquished by a fleet of Mary Poppins. As you do.
– The London Symphony Orchestra performed ‘Chariots of Fire’, with Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean on keyboards. Despite being funny for around a second, the Bean act was dragged out for a good five minutes.
– Dizzee Rascal performed ‘Bonkers’ in an E3 jacket, following a medley of British pop music from the 1960s up until the present day. Included were Soul II Soul’s ‘Back to Life’, Bowie’s ‘Starman’, OMD’s ‘Enola Gay’, The Jam’s ‘Going Underground’, Amy Winehouse’s ‘Valerie’, The Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter’, Underworld’s ‘Born Slippy’ (a track of course, made famous in Boyle’s film Trainspotting) and Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘Relax’. Oh, and ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’.
– Emeli Sandé sung ‘Abide By Me’, as a tribute to war dead and those killed in the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London, which was pretty moving. After the squads of athletes were introduced, country by country, the Arctic Monkeys took the floor to perform ‘I Bet That You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ and a cover of The Beatles’ ‘Come Together’. And speaking of the Beatles…
– Paul McCartney closed the ceremony, which had stretched well beyond three and a half hours at this point, with a rendition of ‘Hey Jude’ that featured a lot of McCartney flailing and flapping about, and some naff dialogue with the crowd (“Now I want only the women to sing along … yeah, I like how that sounds”, and so on and so forth). Not a dry eye in the house. Still, at least it didn’t close on that Muse song.
If that recap’s not enough, you can watch highlights of the ceremony over on the BBC, and buy the official Opening Ceremony soundtrack album Isles of Wonder, which features said Arctics’ cover of ‘Come Together’, and new material by Underworld (as well as ‘Born Slippy’, their ‘Rez’ was played at one point), Blanck Mass and more. That’s available digitally now.