Sunday, August 12, 2012

London 2012 Closing Ceremonies

Media Moment: London 2012 Closing ceremonies
Queen-related: Various Queen sightings

I missed the opening ceremonies for the 2012 London Olympics a week and a half ago but had heard through the grapevine that a snippet of Bohemian Rhapsody was used at one point in the show. This bit of news didn’t surprise me as the word on the street was that British culture was going to be front and centre throughout the games. I checked YouTube to see if a video had been posted regarding Queen’s bit but I couldn't find anything on it.

So when news broke in the Queen community that Brian and Roger would be performing tonight during the closing ceremonies, I was sure to record it to see what they’d do. The much anticipated music segment of the ceremonies was kickstarted with the opening vocal canon of Bohemian Rhapsody.

About two-thirds of the way into the musical performances Freddie appears on the video monitors. It was concert footage of him doing his famous audience singalong, although it was hard to tell on the television broadcast if the audience response was from the concert video footage or from the London crowd on hand.

After Freddie whispers “thank you” at the end of his “Day-Oh” sequence, the silence segues into some loud power chords signalling a Brighton Rock solo from Brian. He appears on one end of the stage decked out all in black.

At closer inspection, his overcoat was obviously custom made for him. It was a curious blend of military regalia, Queen symbolism, as well as his Save Me campaign against badger culling and fox hunting (as his shoulder patches clearly show).

I suppose with a world-wide audience of, what, the whole world, he might as well capitalize on the moment.

The back of Brian’s jacket seemed to have an embroidered design but it was difficult to tell what it was exactly because his guitar strap covered the centre of it.

Was it a stylized Queen crest? Something with an Oriental theme given the colour palette of the jacket and the dragon tail-looking bit peeking out from under his guitar strap?

Towards the end of this segment, he walks over to Roger who’s in the centre of the stage and then the familiar boom-boom-clap rhythm begins. At this point, 24-year-old London native Jessie J begins walking towards Brian and Roger from the opposite side of the stage and arrives just in time to start singing the words to WWRY.

Unfortunately, that was all there was to Queen’s involvement in the closing ceremonies. If ever there was a moment that begged for We Are the Champions, you'd think tonight’s ceremony would have been it. London was obviously patting themselves on the back for an Olympics well done and celebrating British culture at the same time, so what better song to top it off with?

Postscript (August 14, 2012) — Brian’s jacket was given full view here on the site today. The back design is indeed a derivative Queen emblem reflecting animals instead of astrological symbols. As well, We Are The Champions may not have been utilized to full impact by the Olympic organizers for the closing ceremonies, but Entertainment Tonight certainly adopted it for their post-Games story on American athletes bringing home the most medals from a non-American host city. It was played no less than three times in their half-hour broadcast last night.


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