London 2012: The closing ceremony was a lively musical farewell to the 30th Summer Olympic Games


After 17 days of great actions in competitions on variety of sports to the very best quality, London 2012, the 30th Summer Olympic Games finally came to an end with a lively musical-themed closing ceremony entitled ‘A Symphony of British Music’ on yesterday’s night. The closing ceremony is directed by Kim Gavin and began on 9pm,taking over three hours long and ended few minutes after 12am the next day.  I didn’t watch the live broadcast of the closing ceremony, but I managed to watch all the segments from the ceremony uploaded by the official Olympics page in Youtube just now to catch up on what I have missed several hours ago.

The ceremony commenced in an absolutely impressive way. The first impacting visual offered to the strong 80 000 audiences in the stadium and to around 1 billion people worldwide through broadcast is the ‘scaled-down London’, with famous landmarks of the city (London Eye, Big Ben, Royal Albert Hall, London Bridge, 30th St. Mary Aze Building, etc) made out of newspaper cut-outs featured in the center. Then the ceremony started with quite a remarkable opening sequence, from fireworks to countdown featuring numbers from around London and finally linking it back to the scaled Big Ben replica at the middle of the stadium. I do really enjoyed this part.

The theme of involving newspaper cut-outs is quite interesting and it is also applied to the street sets and vehicles that sought to show ‘a day in the life of London’. The newspapers were printed with words from British literary figures such as William Shakespeare, among others. Too bad that this part comes and goes off quite fast. Things aren’t much appealing to me after that opening segment that gives me some early high expectation to things later on. As soon as the showcase of British music for the past 50 years began which is the major theme of the night, I get really bored and find it very unconvincing to end such a successful games indeed.

I believe the director had a not-so-suitable theme for the closing ceremony. I’m not here to criticize the fame or glory of British music, but I’m sure that there must be many other better things for British to deliver to the whole world on this closing ceremony of the world biggest sporting event. You can present the many sides of British culture from the past till the modern days, not only emphasizing on music which isn’t that symbolic or meaningful to the host country either. It’s quite inappropriate to treat the closing ceremony something like a concert. Turning it like a concert definitely degraded the formality and quality of the closing ceremony. Furthermore, there had already been quite a heavy emphasis on British music in the opening ceremony, and now music again for closing. Boring, and lack of effort to treat the ceremony seriously.

I agree on the intention to bring on a party-like atmosphere to end the games in joyous mood, but there are many other ways or options for that rather than just delivering so much of music. Furthermore, the artists invited to perform aren’t famous and appeared to people not from Great Britain as unfamiliar faces. There isn’t any unforgettable impact delivered on this closing ceremony from the theme of British music since there is no performance visible in massive scale or proportion which I would love to see and I believe would captures the attention of the world. Similar to the opening ceremony, there isn’t any large stunt that would easily steals the show. Luckily, there is some humour presented in the middle of the closing ceremony that gave us some little surprises…I mean only ‘little’ and it’s very minimal. I’m suggesting like presenting all the Olympic sports contested in some creative ways that would engage the athletes themselves and the audiences. That should be a good addition to the show. Just my suggestion…

Well, all the things aren’t that bad either. I like the lighting effects all over the stadium, particularly from the lights illuminating the stadium’s roof and the LED installed at side of each of the 80-000 seats in the stadium so that all the LED would sum up as a huge screen to project captivating visuals. I also like the stage set on after the newspaper cut-outs segment that featured the national flag of Great Britain with the white areas allocated for performances later on and the blue and red surrounding it for the athletes later on. The parade of athletes arrived in between, with something different this time, as athletes were moving to the center from all around the stadium, passing through the audiences. This was to try to engage the athletes to the audiences in the stadium and that is good.

The Chairman of London 2012 organizing committee and the President of International Olympic Committee gave their speeches which received several applause from the crowd. The national anthem of Great Britain (the present host country), Olympics, and Brazil (the next host country) are played. The flag handover ceremony was also conducted and the Olympic flag was then handed over to Mayor of Brazil from Mayor of London passing through hands of President of IOC. The next edition of the games would be in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016, four years from now. As usual there is an eight-minute segment for Brazil to deliver their introductory performance. It’s quite messy but in the end, it turned out to be quite colourful, in match with Brazil’s popular culture particularly on dances. The flame is then extinguished in a very beautiful moment after a flame-inspired and gymnastically-choreographed performance.

Unappealing music is kept on delivered until to the point I can’t take it anymore, but luckily the ending fireworks arrived and put the end of the ceremony to a spectacle. The wonderful fireworks saved the climax of the ceremony. I enjoyed the fireworks but I was hoping for more. But anyway, that amount is good enough. Hmm…the music appeared to bring the whole stadium to life, to noise, but for me, the musical content which formed major part of the show wasn’t interesting and was underwhelming. Well, it’s still a lively musical closing to the games.

To be honest, this is one of the worst closing ceremony I have ever seen. I know the budget is very limited and is restraining a lot of things. But once the theme selection gone wrong, then the ceremony is ruined. Furthermore, this concert-like closing ceremony would be easily forgotten, unlike the Beijing 2008’s memorable and over-the-top ceremonies that still kept us in awe after so many years. I’m not heavily criticizing on the quality of the ceremonies but I’m just trying to give my point of view on this matter. Anyway, London still staged a very good and successful games eventhough for me, their opening and closing ceremonies are quite poorly delivered. Hmm…we will now have to wait for four years long for the next games, Rio 2016, the 31st Summer Olympic Games, and Brazil would be the first South American country to host the games. Goodbye, London 2012!

(All the images in this post are from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2187586/London-2012-Closing-Ceremony-Awe-inspiring-shots-fantastic-fireworks-show.html. Click on this link for more stunning images)

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