The Olympics promised a rousing celebration of British music to mark its closing ceremony on Sunday night, and that is exactly what the crowd received. The roster ran the gamut from the British Invasion to the Boy Bands of today, as artists such as The Who, Ray Davies, Muse, Jessie J, One Direction, the reunited Spice Girls, Ed Sheeran and George Michael all graced the stage. The '80s also were well represented, as Madness was on hand to sing "Our House" and Pet Shop Boys did "West End Girls." The night's youngest act, One Direction, sang their hit "What Makes You Beautiful," followed by Kinks singer Ray Davies paying homage to the host city with "Waterloo Sunset."
A goth segment found former Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox singing "Little Bird," and a nod to British dance music was highlighted by Fatboy Slim's brand of EDM with songs like "Right Here, Right Now" and "The Rockafeller Skank." Jessie J, Tinie Tempah and Taio Cruz all performed their own hit singles ("Price Tag," "Written in the Stars" and "Dynamite," respectively) before teaming up to cover the Bee Gees' classic "You Should Be Dancing." Other highlights included the Kaiser Chiefs covering The Who's "Pinball Wizard," Monty Python comedian Eric Idle bringing the happy-go-lucky anthem "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," and Liam Gallagher's Beady Eye revisiting the Oasis mega-hit "Wonderwall." For their reunion, the Spice Girls shook it to a medley of "Wannabe" and "Spice Up Your Life."
Scores of other artists played the show, but unfortunately for American audiences, not all of them were shown on NBC. The network upset many viewers by editing out parts of the closing ceremony, including the performances by Muse, Ray Davies and a second song by George Michael, and then at 11 p.m. they abruptly cut away to show a preview of the new comedy Animal Practice. The network returned to the Olympics at midnight and showed a truncated version of The Who's medley, which it referred to as the "closing party."
However, a digital album of the night's performances, A Symphony of British Music - Music For The Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, was released immediately following the event via Decca Records/UMC. The physical version of the 36-track set won't street until August 28, but it includes Muse playing their song "Survival" and The Who's closing set of "Baba O'Riley," "See Me, Feel Me" and "My Generation."
Outside of Olympic stadium, Blur played a separate closing concert in London's Hyde Park on Sunday night which also featured New Order and The Specials. The show is rumored to be Blur's last, but the complete recording of their set is available via iTunes now.