Danny Boyle must have had first dibs when he was putting together his Opening Ceremony blowout, that much was clear from last night's somewhat lackluster London Olympics Closing Ceremonies. When you're doing another big tribute to British music and the most talked about bit was from The Life of Brian (a movie!), it's safe to say that mistakes were made. While it wasn't altogether terrible (that aforementioned Eric Idle bit was hilarious and edgy, and Fat Boy Slim wasn't too bad), without the underlying narrative that unified Boyle's opus it just felt like a slipshod best of the rest, complete with jarring juxtapositions and an alarming amount of schmaltz. That weird tribute to John Lennon that gave way to George Michael?!? That painful Pink Floyd tribute band (painful in part because it featured a member of Pink Floyd, with a saintly Nick Mason on drums). Annie Lenox more than anything else reminding the world that she was there first well before Florence and the Machine. And not one but two boy bands (a "before and after" scenario if ever there was one) and The Spice Girls out to remind us just how long ago the late 90's were. No, the closing ceremonies were for the most part rubbish.
I said "for the most part rubbish" because one of the few highlights was the Brazilian bit honoring Rio '2016 featuring Seu Jorge and Pele. As a devoted Anglophile, the closing ceremonies became increasingly rueful and laughable until the Brazilian delegation temporarily took over to give us a taste of we'll be seeing in four years: sambas, multiculturalism, sex appeal, Carnival, and Pele. Amid all of the one hit wonders and plastic British pop, it was joltingly refreshing to see something more raw and real, and as the show limped towards it's conclusion it almost felt like Brazil had exhilaratingly stolen London's mojo as a result of their five minute presentation. I would also be remiss if I didn't note that fans of Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou were also treated to seeing Seu Jorge, who played Team Zissou acoustic Bowie cover specialist and safety expert Pele dos Santos onstage with his namesake the soccer legend Pele.
Of course I could be totally wrong about the closing ceremonies, because I am going off the butcher job that NBC exacted on them. I'm sorry, but I'm paying for that satellite tv and dammit I'm going to watch that spectacle in HD and with surround sound, even if that means that I'm not going to see The Who, Ray Davies, and Kate Bush, who might well have given the event the proper gravitas needed to follow in the wake of Danny Boyle. In any case, I'll never know because NBC had nimrods calling the shots like they had done consistently throughout the entire games. NBC made a meal of their Olympic coverage time and time again, blowing their own "no spoiler" policy over and over while showing less than exceptional editorial discretion. Indeed, NBC is already promising to do better in four years. I don't believe them.