Spice Girls, One Direction, Jessie J and The Who perform during London Olympics closing ceremonies
Headline performers were paid 1 pound each
LONDON (AP) — "I'm talking 'bout my generation," sang The Who, capping a raucous, rock 'n' roll Olympic closing ceremony
But which generation? When the band members first sang "My Generation," they were in their 20s. Now they are pushing 70.
Like the Olympic torch passing from one runner to another, the London games' closing ceremony was an all-ages affair designed to show the flame of British creativity leaping from one age group to the next.
The 21-year-old singer Ed Sheeran sang "Wish You Were Here" with members of Pink Floyd and Genesis. Jessie J belted out "We Will Rock You" with Queen's Brian May. The Kaiser Chiefs played The Who's "Pinball Wizard."
The Spice Girls took us back to the "Cool Britannia" 1990s and the Pet Shop Boys to the synth-loving 1980s.
A ceremony that director Kim Gavin called an "elegant mashup" of music and creativity was designed to show that the British Invasion never ended, thank you very much.
"It's about how good British music is in the world, and how global it is," Gavin said a day before the ceremony.
So there was Annie Lennox and George Michael, who got their start in the 80s — but the roars that greeted Michael's "Freedom" and Lennox's "Little Bird" suggested both are still going strong.
If that was too old hat, there was One Direction, boy band of the moment, as well as Tinie Tempah, Jessie J and Taio Cruz — who performed their own songs, then a Bee Gees track from the golden age of disco.
There was Elbow — the kind of serious band music journalists love — as respite for those who probably found the rest a bit cheesy.
And if that was all insufficiently quirky, there was a brass band playing Madness; a Guards band in scarlet tunics and bearskin hats playing Blur; and Monty Python's Eric Idle singing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" accompanied by centurions, bagpipers and roller-skating nuns.
We heard the voices and songs of the departed — Queen's Freddie Mercury singing "Bohemian Rhapsody," Liverpool choirs performing John Lennon's "Imagine."
There were some notable absences: No Rolling Stones — the band said they were out of practice. No Elton John, although he did record one of the official games anthems. There was a David Bowie montage, but no Bowie in person.
It wasn't just about the music. Gavin said he wanted to show how "U.K. culture, media, music are locked together to create the next big thing."
So there was a nod to Britain's scandal-tarred but vibrant press, in the newsprint-covered landmarks and vehicles of the opening scene.
There was fashion. We saw 1960s Mods, whose sharply tailored look can be seen in the modern designs of Tom Ford and others. There were images of supermodels in designs by Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith, Alexander McQueen — and Victoria Beckham, now a designer as well as a Spice Girl.
One of the models was even a Jagger — Georgia May Jagger, daughter of Rolling Stone Mick.
The show rocked the 80,000 spectators inside Olympic Stadium, but didn't get rave reviews from those watching on TV. Some found it too kitschy, or too incomprehensible — youngsters wondering who Ray Davies was, parents scratching their heads at One Direction.
The sarcastic spirit of many British Twitter users — banished for two weeks by the Olympic feel-good factor — was back with a vengeance.
"Embarrass a generation," tweeted film critic Dave Calhoun in a play on the games' official motto: "Inspire a Generation."
That Olympic slogan could also sum up the ceremony's ethos.
Or perhaps, to misquote The Who, the kids are alright — and their parents are, too.Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
News From Our Partners
- 'Doctor Who' Season 8 Confirmed, Steven Moffat to Return The Wrap Up: Behind-the-Scenes Image from 'Godzilla' Shows a Train in Peril Batman: Arkham Origins Will See the Return of Kevin Conroy
- Box Office Guru Wrapup: Star Trek Softer Than Expected at #1 Weekly Ketchup: Will Smith to Star in Wild Bunch Remake? Critics Consensus: Star Trek Into Darkness is Certified Fresh
- The Telefile - The Most Heinous Person on Reality TV This Week The Telefile - Modern Family: The Best Lines of the Night The Telefile - Fall TV 2013: What's On When
- 'Anchorman 2' Trailer Had Us At 'Hello': Watch Now! Fiery 'Star Trek Into Darkness' Scene Hurt The Most: Ouch! How Far Will 'Star Trek Into Darkness' Boldly Go At Box Office?
- FTW vs. WTF: The TV Week in Review (May 19) Doctor Who "The Name of the Doctor" Review: The Impossible Girl Made Possible What to Watch This Weekend: The Season Finales of Nikita, Doctor Who, The Simpsons, and Family Guy
- A Final 'Office' Farewell Stefon Marries Anderson Cooper In Final Show Creed Bratton: Closing Creed Thoughts
- Cannes Film Festival: Cannes 2013, Day Four: The Coen brothers return to the festival with a folk-rock flashback Cannes Film Festival: Cannes 2013, Day Three: Cheers for the young stars of The Selfish Giant, jeers for the new films by Hirokazu Kore-eda and Arnaud Desplechin Watch This: With Beavis And Butt-head Do America, Mike Judge skewered the idiocy of cinematic adventures
- Carly Rae Jepsen's 'Call Me Maybe' Captures Top Digital Song Honor at 2013 Billboard Music Awards Macklemore + Ryan Lewis Win Best Rap Song for 'Thrift Shop' at 2013 Billboard Music Awards 2013 Billboard Music Awards Gets a Tour From Taylor Swift's '22′ Performance [Video]