The man in charge of the closing ceremony at the London Olympics says today’s extravaganza will run three hours and include plenty of pop stars.
Music will be the highlight of the event and the bill includes performers ranging from the Spice Girls and George Michael to Muse and the London Symphony Orchestra.
“Everyone is calling it the biggest closing ceremony they have ever seen,” director Stephen Daldry said. “I am really hoping that people will gather at the live sites and in their homes and pubs and have the time of their life.”
Closed rehearsals have been under way at a Ford auto plant in east London where celebrity-watching reporters have spotted the various stars coming and going. Rockers Annie Lennox and Brian May have been seen as well as Kate Bush and the Pet Shop Boys, The Daily Telegraph said Saturday.
Rumors abound that blue-chip stars such as Adele, the Who and Elton John will also be performing. “It’s a proper show,” said Daldry, who directed “Billy Elliot.” “It’s got all the bizarre, surreal, funny, camp and moving elements you could want from a really good piece of Sunday night entertainment.”
The ceremony aims to be the “best after-show party there has ever been”, its artistic director has declared. The final details of Sunday’s grand finale to London 2012 remain under wraps but stars sighted apparently rehearsing for the show include Jessie J, George Michael and the Spice Girls.
The two hour and 45-minute party starts with Elgar and Waterloo Sunset at 9pm, Kim Gavin said.“Any more than that and we would spoil the surprise,” he added. “We are still rehearsing and waiting for the final line-up.”
Work on transforming the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, east London, for a showbiz spectacular starts after the sporting action there ends tonight.
The handover from London 2012 to the Rio 2016 team will take place along with the extinguishing of the Olympic Flame to signal the end of the Games.
The 2012 closing ceremony, called A Symphony of British Music, will celebrate music as one of Britain’s strongest cultural exports over the last 50 years.
Mr Gavin said: “It is about British creativity in the arts. There is a hell of a lot of talent and music and a hell of a lot of show in the show.
“I wanted to make a very exciting after-show party. I wanted to make it a celebration. We have got 15 minutes of the athletes walking in down through the audience.”
He said the show was “visually creative”, adding: “We do have a lot of music in there, without giving too much away.”
More than 4,100 performers, including 3,500 adult volunteers and 380 schoolchildren from the six east London host boroughs, will be involved in the ceremony. Sailor Ben Ainslie will carry the Team GB flag.
The inclusion of the Spice Girls has been strongly suggested by pictures of the best-selling girl band rehearsing on top of “pearly” black taxis.
Other stars snapped by The Sun newspaper during apparent rehearsals at the Ford car plant in Dagenham, east London, were Brian May, the Pet Shop Boys, Annie Lennox, and Tinie Tempah.
Take That have been widely tipped to appear, although singer Gary Barlow’s presence is in doubt following the stillbirth of his daughter Poppy.
There are rumours that 1970s chart topper Kate Bush may also be one of the stars of the show after a remix of one of her best-selling songs, Running Up That Hill, was seen on Amazon with a release date for Sunday. The list was later removed from the website.
If true, that would be a huge coup for the London 2012 organisers – the very private singer has not toured since 1979 and still has a huge following.