Five worst musical moments at the 2012 Olympics closing ceremony
After all of the dust settled from the exciting athletic competitions staged over last two weeks, everyone turned their attention to the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics last night at Olympic Stadium in London. Billed as "A Symphony Of British Music," the loose and jubilant closing ceremony was certainly less of a structured, studied affair from its opening counterpart, and focused on highlighting the rich musical history of the U.K.
And while some of the performances were entertaining, grand spectacles that warranted the world's attention (the Pet Shop Boys being biked around the track while singing "West End Girls," Eric Idle's hilarious, but edited, performance of the Monty Python classic, "Always Look On the Bright Side of Life," which even got Prince Harry singing and whistling right along, and wondering if the Spice Girls were going to fall off the roofs of those black cabs, all made for some good TV), most of the night was a lackluster, tepid affair that hardly did justice to the long, celebrated history of British music.
It was hard to narrow the musical abominations down to just five, but here are our picks for the five worst musical moments of the 2012 Olympics closing ceremony.
Ed Sheeran, Nick Mason, etc. - "Wish You Were Here"
The 21-year-old British singer/songwriter was paired with Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, Genesis' Mike Rutherford, and the Feeling guitarist Richard Jones for the Floyd classic, "Wish You Were Here." If that all sounds like a hodgepodge of random musicians tackling a song that deserves so much more, wait until you hear the sorry, uninspired version these guys came up with. Mason should have walked away from this arrangement as soon as he heard Mike from Mike & the Mechanics was going to be involved, but he sullied his good name by signing on. The only good thing that came from this performance was the simple fact that at least Sheeran didn't try to pull off his lame attempt at beat-boxing in front of a world-wide audience.
Jessie J, Brian May, and Roger Taylor -- "We Will Rock You"
Brian May continues to run Queen's music and legendary status through the mud by letting Jessie J wail her way through the anthemic stadium staple "We Will Rock You." While Taylor looked a bit lost out there, especially behind a massive kit that was more than the song required, May slogged his way through a lengthy, wank-filled guitar solo that was worse than his long-outdated hairstyle. Add to that mess the fact that Jessie J (who was singing her third song of the ceremony, and had long outstayed her welcome) was wearing a flesh-colored catsuit while playing air-guitar at May's feet, and you have the makings of a world-class musical disaster.
Take That -- "Rule The World"
While I am truly sorry about the recent tragic loss that Take That singer Gary Barlow and his wife recently suffered, this performance seemed woefully out of place during the ceremony, and generated a muted response from the audience. Take That certainly had their moment in the UK, but that time has long passed, and to see these boys prancing about on the stage while singing one of the worst pop songs I've ever heard was embarrassing, and certainly was one of the night's low points, except for...
Beady Eye -- "Wonderwall"
Liam Gallagher's post-Oasis outfit Beady Eye have left the distinguished back catalog of his former band alone up until now, which was a wise move since a majority of those songs were written by his brother Noel. But Beady Eye sadly picked a terrible, and terribly public, moment to try their collective hand at "Wonderwall." I'm sure the Olympic organizers told Liam that there was no way he would be involved in the Closing Ceremony if he wanted to play any of the current pap his new group is schlocking. And so, we were given Liam, a full orchestra, and his Beady Eye mates (many of them former members of the last-gasp version of Oasis) delivering a tired run-through of one of Oasis' biggest hits. Liam's voice sounds off and rather disinterested, leaving all of us Brit Pop fans wishing for some way to unhear the atrocity that we just witnessed.
NBC's Coverage Itself--
Not only were we subjected to a healthy dose of Jessie J throughout the broadcast, as well as yet another lame, beat-on-some-garbage-cans routine by Stomp, but the powers-that-be at NBC decided those insipid moments were better than airing the Kinks' frontman Ray Davies tender version of one of the most classic of all British songs, "Waterloo Sunset." And Elbow delivered two rousing songs while the Olympians entered the stadium, and Bob Costas and Al Michaels didn't shut up once to let us hear them, nor did NBC show them once during the entire 10+ minute segment.
They also chose to edit out Muse's performance of "Survival," which, while not being the band's best work by a long shot, was still the official song for this year's Olympic games, which makes the exclusion that much more grating. Add to all of that, the fact that the worst network on TV made its shrinking audience sit through one of the worst new sitcoms imaginable in order to see the Who's closing performance of the night, and you have the fitting end to one of the most laughably bad Olympic coverages of recent memory. And, as if to prove my point, the network doesn't have any high quality videos of the night's performances available on their website as of yet. #NBCFail
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