Locog prompts last-gasp ticket scramble for Closing Ceremony


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The Independent Online

Extra tickets could be released on Sunday morning for the Closing Ceremony spectacular, which will feature The Spice Girls, George Michael and The Who heading a cast of British musical stars, the organisers have said.

The Locog website has been advertising a limited number of top-priced tickets for the event at £1,500. But further seating could become available at more affordable prices once the stage set and scenery is put in place in the Olympic Stadium on Saturday night, the organising body indicated.

Huge demand is anticipated from fans who want to sample the Games atmosphere before the Olympic flame is extinguished and the Torch handed to 2016 hosts Rio de Janeiro, a sequence which will form one of the highlights of Sunday night’s event.

Rehearsals have been taking place amid tight security at the Ford car plan in Dagenham, East London for the show, which is set to include Madness, Tinie Tempah, Muse, Queen, One Direction and an Elgar “mash-up”, all united under the theme, A Symphony Of British Music.

The parade of music superstars is being co-ordinated by David Arnold, who has scored five James Bond films, working under the creative directorship of filmmaker Stephen Daldry.

The closing show traditionally offers a carnival atmosphere, allowing the Games’ athletes to break national ranks and dance with each other.

Daldry, the Billy Elliot director, promised a “bizarre, surreal, funny, camp and moving” show, incorporating “dancing girls and sets from different eras and brass bands and Coldstream Guards and and half-naked Brazilian girls and half-naked Brazilian boys.” The show features 3,800 adult volunteers and 380 schoolchildren selected to take part.

There will be 20 British artists performing 30 pieces of music during the two and-a-half hour show. Ray Davies is expected to sing Waterloo Sunset whilst Madness play their party “knees-up”, Baggy Trousers.

The Spice Girls, reuniting for the event, will be ferried around the arena on black cabs. The Pet Shop Boys will swoop across the stage on winged rickshaws. Most artists are expected to sing live to previously-recorded backing tracks.

A leaked soundtrack includes a remix of Running Up That Hill, prompting speculation that Kate Bush will make a rare live appearance. She last performed the song at a charity concert in 1987.

The East London show is expected to include a link up with Blur’s simultaneous concert in front of 60,000 fans at Hyde Park.

Unlike Danny Boyle’s acclaimed Opening Ceremony, the performers will have little opportunity to rehearse in the Stadium. Daldry admitted that the technically-challenging show had its risks. “It will be live and one-off,” he said.

iTunes is now accepting pre-orders of the Closing Ceremony album, which will be made available as a £9.99 download at midnight, just minutes after the show ends. The full track listing remains a secret but other performers tipped to appear include Adele, Ed Sheeran and Paul Weller.

A rush-hour sequence will include models of landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge, St Paul's Cathedral and the London Eye. Russell Brand will appear on top of a double-decker bus. The show will career from Darcey Bussell dancing with the Royal Ballet to a catwalk models’ parade led by Kate Moss and comic tributes to Monty Python and Only Fools and Horses.

Abbie Connolly-Taylor, 12, from Leytonstone, east London, one of the 380 children chosen to star in the show, set the bar high. “It is better than the opening ceremony and I’m really excited,” she said after a rehearsal. “I hope people will be impressed.”

Blur announced that their Hyde Park show will be made available as an iTunes download within 24 hours of the band leaving the stage.