Monday, September 10, 2012

The closing closing ceremony: make it stop

So, that's London 2012, then, ending a little earlier than expected to make room for a Coldplay concert.

The first part was well-executed, and managed to remain coherent. Speaking personally, it didn't do much for me.fter a two-week party, why did we get dumped in a post-apocalypse? They were even scorching the ground at one point, which is pretty grisly image to throw into the closing party for an event that's brought the world together. Pity Seb Coe didn't exercise the wisdom of Arsites on that particular idea.

So, in my mind, fireplay and juggling is right up there with clowns and balloon animals, but you couldn't argue that it wasn't epic; couldn't deny they filled the space.

But Coldplay? Oh. How many songs in was it before you realised that they weren't going to go away?

Even Emeli Sande - overworked at the Olympics closing - didn't stink the place up quite like Coldplay did. You know there's something gone wrong when the man at the heart of an event floating on a sea of goodwill unseen in London since VE night is still having to beg the audience to "make some noise".

"At least it's not Jessie J doing two songs" pinged Twitter, bravely, but that's the problem. Nobody would mind Coldplay turning up to do a couple of songs*, and then Jessie J doing a couple of songs, and then someone else. But an entire Coldplay gig?

Sure, logistically there's an obvious advantage in having one band run across the whole event. But for the same reason if you're organising a reception for dozens of people, you want to make sure you've got a choice of flavours. Keep everyone happy. And offer a bit of texture for the evening. Motorhead, maybe. Julie Fowlis. You could make your own list.

Because what happened was the focus on the Paralympics and the Paralympians started to ebb away as the event felt more and more like an event about Coldplay. Even the appearance of Rihanna and Jay-Z smacked of 'look at Chris Martin's famous friends' rather than a dash of variety.

The past fortnight didn't feel like it should have ended with an extended promo for just one band. And that would have been true whatever band it was.

*- well, we'd have bitched throughout the two songs, but you know what I mean.