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Spice Girls, The Who and Brian May thrill crowds at Olympic Closing Ceremony

Spice Girls, The Who and Brian May thrill crowds at Olympic Closing Ceremony
Spice Girls, The Who and Brian May thrill crowds at Olympic Closing Ceremony

The Who, the reunited Spice Girls, Muse, One Direction and Brian May were among the stars who helped bring the 2012 Olympics to an end with stunning Closing Ceremony performances in London on Sunday.

The Olympic Stadium was full to capacity for composer David Arnold and Kim Gavin's A Symphony of British Music extravaganza, which kicked off with Scottish singer Emeli Sande performing Read All About It.

Madness, the Pet Shop Boys, One Direction and The Kinks frontman Ray Davies also performed before the 10,800 athletes of the Games marched into the arena.

George Michael, the Kaiser Chiefs, Annie Lennox and Fatboy Slim also took the stage, as did Ed Sheeran with drummer Nick Mason for a rendition of Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here.

The finale then really stepped into top gear as the Spice Girls arrived in traditional black London taxi cabs and performed a medley of their 1996 break-out hit Wannabe and Spice Up Your Life on top of the vehicles. Geri Halliwell donned a red dress with a Union Jack bustle - a reference to the famous outfit she wore at the 1997 BRIT Awards.

Moving from pop to rock, Liam Gallagher and his group Beady Eye were a surprise addition to the festivities as he performed his old band Oasis' hit Wonderwall before former Monty Python star Eric Idle kicked off an audience sing-along with his Life of Brian anthem Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

Then it was back to the rock as Muse performed their official Olympics track Survival before late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury was honoured when his image was beamed onto a big screen, while Brian May performed a guitar solo for the crowd, backed by a pyrotechnics display. He was joined by Jessie J for a rendition of We Will Rock You.

The road to Rio - the host city of the 2016 Olympic Games - then began with a musical carnival extravaganza, before Sebastian Coe, the chairman of the London Games organising committee, took the microphone to heap praise on the athletes, volunteers and huge crowds that made the sporting event such a success.

He declared, "Those of us who came to watch witnessed moments of heroism and heartbreak that will live long in the memory. The spirit of these Olympics will inspire a generation."

That wasn't quite the end of the evening - as the Olympic cauldron flames in the stadium were lowered, Take That took to the stage to sing their hit Rule The World. The band's appearance had been thrown into doubt after Gary Barlow's wife delivered a stillborn baby girl earlier this month, but the four-piece whipped the crowd into a frenzy as fireworks lit up the skies of east London.

The audience was then entertained with a flamboyant ballet routine, which began with ballerina Darcey Bussell flying into the venue, and the flame was extinguished - but there was one last thrill for the 80,000-strong crowd as The Who performed a string of their hits and ended with My Generation.

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