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Dance Music Triumphs At Olympics Opening Ceremony

Danny Boyle and Underworld roll out a spectacular show

 

Dance music featured heavily in the Olympics opening ceremony on Friday night in a show organised by renowned film director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire).

Boyle called upon his friends, dance titans Underworld – Karl Hyde and Rick Smith – to assist with the music in what proved to be an inspired pairing.

The show ranged from scenes of the industrial revolution – from when the UK was the engine room of the global economy – into a celebration of the National Health Service, children's storytelling (Harry Potter, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), and activism such as the Jarrow marchers against poverty in the 1930s and the suffragettes campaigning for women's votes a century ago. Comedy scenes with Mr Bean and the Vangelis-penned electronic 'Chariots Of Fire' theme, and Her Majesty the Queen greeting Daniel Craig's James Bond and parachuting out of a helicopter provided the comedy moments, but it was the music section that arguably stole the show.

In a spectacular celebration of the wealth of music to emanate from the UK in the last 50 years, snippets of tracks by The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Mud, Queen, The Clash, The Specials, Eurythmics, David Bowie and the Pet Shop Boys soon segued into a rave section that included New Order's 'Blue Monday', 'Firestarter' by The Prodigy, 'Born Slippy' by Underworld, 'Surf Solar' by Fuck Buttons, Tinie Tempah's 'Pass Out', 'Bonkers' sung live by by east London grime star Dizzee Rascal...

There was also snippets of tracks by High Contrast, Wretch 32, Rizzle Kicks, Blur, Amy Winehouse, Happy Mondays, as well as 'Relax by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and live performances by the Arctic Monkeys, Paul McCartney, Emile Sande and Mike Oldfield. And as the long process of the athletes coming out to parade around the stadium began, the first track to be played was 'Galvanise' by the Chemical Brothers.

The reaction to the inclusive opening ceremony, celebrating Britain's radicalism, diversity and innovation, has been universally positive, apart from a couple of aberrations such as a Conservative Party MP branding it “leftie multi-cultural crap” and a particularly nasty article in the Daily Mail. The ceremony had a tenth of the budget and a tenth of the manpower of the Beijing Olympics, but was widely presumed to have been a triumph.

With the Games well underway, Boyle and Underworld have converted most Games cynics as London basks in sunshine and a feelgood Olympic haze.