Unless you were buried under a rock, you would have heard that the London 2012 Olympics kicked off over the weekend with a spectacular opening ceremony celebrating all things British. Beginning with a short film starring James Bond meeting the Queen – yes, the actual Queen – and then ‘arriving’ into the stadium via helicopter.
Directed by filmmaker Danny Boyle, the four hour long Opening Ceremony contained all the usual large-scale, jaw-dropping visuals and entertainment expected of an event of such high calibre (appearances from an inflatable Voldemort and Mr. Bean come to mind), but it also contained a strong emphasis on British Music.
The ceremony featured live performances from the likes of Frank Turner, Dizzee Rascal, Mike Oldfield and Emeli Sandé along with a soundtrack composed and curated by musical directors, Underworld.
The ceremony featured songs from classic icons such as The Who, Led Zeppelin, Sex Pistols, The Clash, David Bowie, Queen, The Jam and The Rolling Stones, as well as a more contemporary breed of UK act in the form of Muse, Blur, Amy Winehouse and Fuck Buttons (!), as millions around the world tuned in for the ceremony.
The best was most definitely saved for last. Arctic Monkeys appeared during the ceremony’s climax to deliver two very special performances. Opening with an electric rendition of their breakthrough single, ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ with drummer Matt Helders looking particularly patriotic, dressed in a Union Jack tracksuit and striking a matching drumkit.
The Monkeys then performed a cover of The Beatles’ ‘Come Together’ as cyclists adorned with bio-luminescent wings did laps of the Olympic Stadium (you just couldn’t make this stuff up). Though the Olympic Committee has been fairly diligent and removed much of the footage from the internet, but Arctic Monkeys’ label, Domino Records, has posted footage of the performances over at their website.
A surprise appearance from Two Door Cinema Club’s Alex Trimble followed, who performed a song written specifically for the ceremony by Underworld’s Rick Smith entitled ‘Caliban’s Dream’, providing the soundtrack as young athletes carried the Olympic Flame across the stadium before lighting the Olympic Cauldron to the tune of ‘Eclipse’; the closing track from Pink Floyd’s seminal 1973 album, The Dark Side Of The Moon
As previously rumoured, the ceremony was indeed capped by Sir Paul McCartney. The legendary Beatle bringing the four hour long show to a close suitably with a brief rendition of his and John Lennon’s 1969 song, ‘The End’. But then led the Olympic Stadium into a mass singalong of ‘Hey Jude’, including hamming up the crowd with breaking up the crowd into ‘the fellas’ and ‘the girls’ to sing parts of the chorus separately.
The 36-song soundtrack to the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, entitled Isles Of Wonder, is available via iTunes – and at the time of writing – is already topping the charts since its release at midnight on July 28 following the event; sitting at #1 in Britain, France, Belgium and Spain, while it has reached #5 in the US and currently in the Top 10 on the Australia’s iTunes albums chart.