London: With high voltage performances by the past, present and future from the world of music, London bid goodbye to the Olympics with a stylish yet informal closing ceremony.
Every Olympic city has its own style of closing the Games with a ceremony that conveys a big thank you to everyone who had made it successful. London did it with music.
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For three hours, the Olympic stadium was turned into a giant jukebox with some of the most talented musicians of the world on the stage, performing for athletes, officials and spectators.
It stood up to its billing of the 'best after show party of all time', a boast by its artistic director Kevin Gavin. Britain had a good cause to party.
After all, its medal haul was the best in an Olympics in 104 years! At the end of the show, it became one big party for weary athletes, tired officials and spectators. Gone was any disappointment at not winning a medal or not breaking a record.
All controversies during the Games were forgotten as London celebrated. Unlike the Opening Ceremony, athletes came in one bunch to Sunday night's show not as separate nationalities.
They then formed a Mosh pit for the show. The bonhomie added to the flavour of the closing ceremony, which was termed "A Symphony of British Music".
The flag bearers were also bunched together. The Indian tricolour was carried by woman boxer M.C. Mary Kom, who won the bronze medal, while Indian sportspersons were dressed in casual white tracksuits.
The theme was not surprising, considering music has been one of Britain's strongest cultural exports for half a century. So, through the closing ceremony, the music of the last 50 years was played out. 30 big hit singles of five decades to get people up on their feet.
The ceremony started with a 20-minute "Day in the Life of London" segment, which was a cacophony of music spanning the 20th century England composer Edward Elgar to the The Kinks.
The legendary band The Who and former members of Pink Floyd were also there to give some nostalgia to rock freaks.
The brief of the directors of the show was 'celebration' and it did exactly that with 3,500 performers. The big draw of the night was the Spice Girls, reuniting to celebrate the Olympics, performing from atop London's iconic taxis.
Among other stars who got the stadium into foot tapping mood were George Michael, Tinie Tempah, Brian May, Annie Lennox, the Pet Shop Boys, Jessie J and Kate Bushre.
And in between there were the ceremonies too. The speeches, the ceremonial handing of the flag to the city of Rio De Janeiro which will host the next Olympics in 2016. Rio gave a glimpse of what to expect with an eight-minute presentation.
In the end, the Olympic flame was doused out bringing a hush in the stadium. But the party was not over. London celebrated late into the night.