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A Beautiful Opening Ceremony


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It has been a long and exciting night! I will put in my 2 cents about the opening ceremonies...I have not read all of the replies here, so forgive me if it will be repeated.

I was fortunate enough to attend the ceremonies and just watched the NBC and part of the CTV coverage of the live ceremonies which I had DVR'd.

First of all, I think it was very appropriate the way they honored Nodar Kumaritashvili.

The experience on TV was completely different that what it was like to be there. Some parts were better in person, and some were much better on TV. Overall I think the ceremonies were fantastic !!! The audience was part of the show, the energy was pretty high and it seemed that everyone had fun. It was hard to see some of the effects that were projected on the floor as we had seats close to the floor and far from the screens in the stadium, but on TV my opinion and the opinion of the people watching with me today, was that they were spectacular but at the same time touching.

As for the crowd at BC place, MOST of us were beating our drums and making noise even during the athletes procession, however I still wish more people would have cheered, as I noticed that on TV the noise we were making was defiantely muted.

Continuing with the audience at BC place, I was really PISSED off that most people cannot follow instructions!!! We did go through a few rehearsals, but during the actual show alot of people still did not do the effects right, or were too immersed in the show to look at the instructions on the screen and at the team leaders. The biggest screw up for the audience was during K.D Lang, when the candle light was supposed to start from the center of the stadium where she was, and SLOWLY radiate outward, each row turing on their candle lights when the team leader walked and pointed to that particular row.....well NOBODY did that, they just simply turned on their candles when K.D Lang came on.....uhhh!!

Also, can someone who was at the ceremonies please tell me what the secret effect was when the cauldron was being lit that we were supposed to do with out flashnights...I saw something on the screen that said something like hold on button for a few seconds, but I was focused on the cauldron (so yes, I am at fault too for not follwing the instructions, but to be fair we didn't practice that part because it was "secret")

Also some effects and segments I thought were better in person, like the fiddler / tapdancing segment, especially when their feet were on fire, in person it was amazing!!

The musical performances were great, and the crowd really got into it during Bryan and Nelly's "Bang the drum", and I mean we really got into it! it was a lot of fun....BUT, could't see any if that during the coverage of NBC or CTV, nothing...it seemed like the audience was dead almost...a little dissapointed

As for the cauldron itself, NOBODY that I was with at the ceremonies noticed any screw up with it, other than the music going off for a second, so to us it was perfect ! Only when we listened to the radio, got home and saw highlights we were told what happened, and I think that if some cauldron lighters, especially Steve Nash didn't make strange f*&*& faces, even at home it would have been less awkward!

Actually watching Romania's coverage of the Opening, they didn't even comment on any glitches, just like us in the stadium, it looked that that is how it was supposed to be lit. So, I am wondering anyone else who has seen LIVE coverage in other countries, how many commentators didn't even notice the glitch?? Obviously now it has been all over the internet, so they will report on it, but watching it LIVE I think millions of people probably didn't even notice.

Now, what I thought could have been better was if the outdoor cauldron was lit at the same time, with the fireworks going off at the same time, I thought that that the biggest problem of the ceremonies, even bigger than the BC place cauldron failure if you ask me!

Overall, I think it was fantastic!!! A-

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BC Place isn't known for its sound quality. But I have a theory...because it came before the cultural part, the parade being so early made me wonder if that was it. And because of that people may not

Actually,,.for the RECORD...David Atkins and Vancouver 2010 copied MY m.O. of dedicating the whole or parts of my book to specific individuals. In my book... the whole book -- dedicated to my mother

Oh, Atkins had enough funds AND time to develop the Ceremonies. The $50 mil and 3 years' lead time is PLENTY. X, LA-1984 had only $8-10 million to work with and David Wolper's unit only took over 11

OK - the poem. Last night, I didn't enjoy it. I felt like I was being preached to. Show me how freakin' great Canada is, don't tell me.

I agree with you - I do love poems, but I think it doesn't fit in an Olympic Ceremony - it reminded me on a TV-preacher or a motivation seminar...

I have already written in another thread, that we should be careful with such segment: what would have had happened when there had been a chinese poem in Beijing 2008 how wonderful and excellent China is and how nice everybody is living in the wonderful country of the PR of China...

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More

-wales

-cauldron legs

-Joni singing live

-smiles on great ones

-Celine (sorry canadians, she sings better than the tween)

-untangled flags

-razors for poets

-KD Langs voice

Less

-fiddles

-tap dancing

-faux punks

-ice zombies

-fabric mountains

-close-ups of american snowboarders (more cute europeans please)

-audience drums that sound dull

-random native(?) Dancing

-quilted jackets

-KD Langs outfit

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Time to repost this...

well, it was OK...the best that Atkins & team could do considering the indoor circumstances but...

First Nations - well, Salt Lake had 5; so where do we go in our turn? Let's do 4. Salt Lake's 5 Nations' welcome was so much better and more dramatic...with the live flying eagle even. Tonight's First Nations costumes looked so new...like they were all sewn last night!! And Salt Lake used old & young native Americans. Vancouver trotted out the young healthy studs & studettes...and of course, there was reason. They had to do aerobix for a good1 hour plus!! :blink:

It took so long for the evening's proceedings to make the point -- the vast land of Canada; and by the time it got to the West Coast, it was yawnnnnnnnnn!!

There were moments of sheer magic...like the Tomas what's-name flying over the projected fields...much more versatile than Nikki Webster or the main on the box in Athens. But for all its stagecraft, what did it have to do with the Winter Games??

The Grunge part? What was that part for? Birch did it better and bigger in Sydney!!

Furlong's speech...like the wait for the 4th missing spoke of the cauldron...interminable!!

My overall impression: don't get too defensive, Canadians. You have nothing to apologize for. And that poem...while nice, I found it very apologetic and almsot self-flagellatory. What for? The problem which you will never be able to really overcome is that you sadly happen to be in the shadow of a giant neighbor. And that's a situation you cannot change!

The cauldron is actually very ungainly...just a huge glob of nothing.

If I were London, I would think twice about hiring Atkins & Co. Let's hope Closing will be better (and that the Russians don't upstage the night).

P.S. I didn't count 94 camera angles. If so, the juice required by the 94 cameras must've sucked the juice for the trapdoor of the 4th spoke of the cauldron.

Verdict: a bronze.

(Still gold for Salt Lake & silver for Lillehammer!)

I bet Sochi will be spectacular!!

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13-milllion in Canada

33-million in the USA

U.S. Olympic coverage shows the view from down there

By Alex Strachan, Canwest

February 13, 2010 5:00 PM

For the nearly 33 million viewers who watched the Vancouver Winter Olympics’ opening ceremony in the United States, the Great White North is no longer the Great White Unknown.

In a poignant, often profound opening segment, retired NBC Nightly News anchor and 20th century historian Tom Brokaw introduced Canada to an American audience with dignity, humility and a deep reverence.

Brokaw touched on the familiar — Canada’s expansive, eye-filling landscapes and the way the bulk of Canada’s population lives within 200 kilometres of the Canada-U.S. border, while the rest are scattered across a largely northern land mass with a harsh, unforgiving climate. Brokaw also touched on the unfamiliar, though. As befitting a war historian and the author of The Greatest Generation, Brokaw paid homage to Canada’s war efforts in the First and Second World Wars, and more recent conflicts like Afghanistan. He cited John F. Kennedy’s famous speech about Canada and friendship, and noted that there is no greater friend in need than the large, silent, too-often-taken-for-granted nation on America’s northern border.

"In the long history of sovereign neighbours," Brokaw told U.S. viewers, "there never has been a relationship as close, productive and peaceful."

NBC has been criticized in the past for its frequently jingoistic, U.S.A.-first coverage, but at these Olympics, the network’s lead commentators seem determined to play the gracious guests.

NBC Primetime host Bob Costas even took issue with critics of Canada’s "Own the Podium" campaign, which some have dismissed as being uncharacteristically bellicose and un-Canadian.

"Canadians are among the friendliest, most welcoming people on earth," Costas told his U.S. audience.

“I don’t see anything incompatible with saying, ’Welcome, but now we want to kick your butt.’ "

NBC late night Olympic host Mary Carillo sounded a similar refrain, after carrying the torch for part of its leg prior to Friday’s Opening Ceremony.

"It is a singular thrill to be a small part of something so big and beautiful," Carillo told viewers. "And that’s what Canada is."

Canadians have already formed an opinion of homegrown TV coverage of the Vancouver Winter Games. Viewers turned to CTV and its sister channels for the opening ceremony and early weekend competition were treated to veteran CTV News anchor Lloyd Robertson and Olympic anchor Brian Williams’ characteristically measured tones as Games organizers had to deal with the tragic death Friday of Georgian luge sledder Nodar Kumaritashvili and other last-minute crises.

Viewers familiar with Williams’ coverage of numerous past Olympics for CBC-TV know the veteran Canadian Olympic host has an exhaustive knowledge of this country and its athletes.

For many of the viewers watching in the U.S., though, Canada remains unknown. An average 33 million viewers in the U.S. turned to NBC for the network’s coverage of the opening ceremony, according to overnight Nielsen ratings estimates. That’s a jump of 17 million viewers — or 47 per cent — when compared to the opening ceremony at 2006’s Winter Olympics in Turin.

In Canada, an estimated 13.3 million viewers watched the entire opening ceremony, making it the most-watched TV event in Canadian history, according to a release issued Saturday by CTV.

The figure eclipses the previous mark, set by the 2002 Salt Lake City gold-medal hockey game between the U.S. and Canada, which was seen by 10 million viewers in Canada.

Brokaw’s taped introduction set the stage for several hours of U.S. TV coverage of Canada that accentuated the positive.

Kumaritashvili’s tragic accident proved more problematic for TV networks, however. In a decision that caused disquiet for some, NBC elected to show at part of the accident three separate times, but without sound, according to an Associated Press report.

AP reported that NBC released the video to other networks because of its news value.

CTV aired footage of the accident with a viewer advisory, and broke into coverage of the torch relay with updates.

Costas acknowledged Kumaritashvili’s death at the outset of NBC’s broadcast, noting, "What will still be a night of celebration here, began as a very sad day. The exuberance of this opening ceremony is tinged with sadness."

Costas ended NBC’s broadcast several hours later, saying, "On this same night as the athletes of the world gathered in celebration and the Olympic torch was rekindled, we also recall the tragic passing of a son of Georgia. To his family, to his friends, to his teammates, we extend our sorrow and our heartfelt thoughts and prayers. Good night from Vancouver."

astrachancanwest.com

blog: www.canada.com/tvguy

CNS 2/13/10 15:49:25

© copyright © CNS Olympics

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So, come on X. What did YOU think of it? We're all waiting.

2 posts a few pages back.... :P

In summary I loved it, and it made me very proud to be a Canadian and a Vancouveite, despite the initial shock and anger over the cauldron debacle.

Unfortunately, almost everyone that I know seems to hate the whole ceremony.

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2 posts a few pages back.... :P

In summary I loved it, and it made me very proud to be a Canadian and a Vancouveite, despite the initial shock and anger over the cauldron debacle.

Unfortunately, almost everyone that I know seems to hate the whole ceremony.

I think you should be proud. I'm still not sure how I'd split it between Lillehammer or Vancouver for my fave now.

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^ well, the cauldron failure was really anti-climatic and having Gretzky being wheeled out to light the cauldron at the convention centre was even more anti-climatic. I hope the money they used on the fireworks on the waters of Burrard Inlet after the outdoor cauldron was lit didn't come from the Opening Ceremonies budget, they could have really spent it on something better that would have been seen by a worldwide audience...the broadcasters didn't show it.

We need a Opening Ceremony opinion poll with the categories of:

- very good

- good

- satisfied

- not good

- poor

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Somebody find out the name of, and some information on, that hot shirtless Slaywatooth boy, I need to know. :wub:^_^

Maybe his name is in the Souvenir Program Book.

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The Stunning Simplicity Of Vancouver Opening

Posted by PATRICK EDABURN in Arts & Entertainment.

Feb 13th, 2010 | Comments

In the days leading up to the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver there was a bit of speculation in the media as to what direction the event would take. Because the last games in Bejing were so over the top in terms of special effects and mega spending people wondered what Vancouver would do with much less of a budget

For me, the Canadians came up with the perfect response, a ceremony that combined the required level of effects with a level of stunning simplicity that placed substance over style and reminded me why I have always had a great deal of affinity for the people of my neighbor to the North.

A perfect example came when Thomas Saulgrain danced both on the ground and in the air to the strains of Both Sides Now by Canadian native Joni Mitchell. There was, of course, a certain technical aspect to the wires needed to carry him into the air but that was merely a means to an end. His performance was perhaps one of the most visually stunning and purely beautiful of any prior ceremony. Simple and elegant.

Even the one technical blunder during the lighting of the cauldron demonstrated the simple elegance of the planned event. Rather than try for some spectacular method of lighting like a flaming arrow they chose to go with one of the most brilliant concepts I’ve ever seen, having all four people light the flame.

All things considered it was a very Canadian kind of opening and for that we should all be grateful.

Biden lauds Canada on opening ceremony before meeting with Harper

By Jonathan Fowlie, Vancouver Sun

February 13, 2010 7:03 PM

VANCOUVER — U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden complimented Canadians Saturday on what he called an "incredible" Olympic opening ceremony.

"You guys put on one heck of a show," Biden said Saturday afternoon, speaking briefly with reporters.

"Last night was incredible, absolutely incredible," he added.

Biden's comments came ahead of a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, where the two were scheduled to discuss issues such as security, the economy and the coming G8 and G20 summits.

The two also spoke about Iran, where Harper offered full cooperation to U.S. government.

"We've known you as a great friend of Canada for a very long time so it's great to have you here," Harper said to Biden at the beginning of the meeting.

"As you saw last night you have lots of friends here in Canada. Your team got a great reception," he added.

Speaking first in French and then in English, Harper also thanked Biden on his administration's recent work with Canada on the Buy America policy.

"I think it's good for both of us," Biden replied with a smile.

Jfowlie@vancouversun.com

© Copyright © The Vancouver Sun

Canada Redefines Itself in Olympic Opening Ceremony

By GEOFFREY A. FOWLER AND PHRED DVORAK

VANCOUVER – With the opening of its third Olympics, Canada tried to prove to the world that it is about more than just maple leaves.

To be sure, there were maple leaves at the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Games, including paper ones falling from the ceiling and a giant one made out of torches. But there was also an homage to Canada's aboriginal peoples, a journey through the country's landscapes from east to west and an extended paean to the new Canada by slam poet Shane Koyczan.

"We are more than genteel or civilized, we are an idea in the process of being realized," recited Mr. Koyczan.

In an opening address, John Furlong, the chief executive of the Vancouver organizing committee, said that the show was a celebration of the "cultures, micro-cultures, languages and peoples that make Canada Canada."

He added: "This journey has not been about the few but rather the many."

Even amidst the celebration, the death of a luger from the Republic of Georgia weighed heavily on the opening of the Games. Nodar Kumaritashvili, who died during a practice run Friday morning, was commemorated numerous times during the ceremony, including with a minute of silence and the dropping of the Canadian and Olympic flags to half-mast. When the small Georgian contingent emerged in the parade of athletes wearing black scarves, the crowd leapt applauding, in a truly spontaneous, Olympic-spirited moment.

But the rest of the show was about Canada's reintroduction to the world. It had the help from performances by some of its most famous pop culture exports, including an original song performed by Bryan Adams and Nelly Furtado, as well as a stirring rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" by K.D. Lang. Sports heroes including hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, skier Nancy Greene, basketball All-Star Steve Nash and speed skater Catriona Le May Doan jointly lit the Olympic cauldron, which had some last-minute technical difficulties that prevented one of its four pillars from rising. (Fortunately, it still worked with just three pillars.)

He said he viewed the Whistler course as acceptable and meticulously prepared by Vancouver Olympic officials.

One of the big features of the ceremony was an unprecedented role for aboriginal Canadians, a long marginalized group that is still mired in deep poverty.

McGill University professor emeritus Charles Taylor said the emphasis on aboriginal culture is a shift for Canada. In the past, the country emphasized the success it had in integrating immigrants from various corners of the world -- but not the sometimes miserable conditions that beset many of its native peoples.

"We run around the world telling people we have been a success," said Mr. Taylor, one of Canada's leading thinkers on multi-culturalism and pluralism. "In this context, the situation of the aboriginals doesn't fit well."

Canadian political thinker John Ralston Saul said Canada is better able than many Western peers to handle the complexities of numerous cultures and linguistic groups living together -- partly because it's always been a fragmented country composed of many peoples. ``The model has never been monolithic, enlightenment,'' said Mr. Saul. ``You've always had a civilization of minorities here.''

Mr. Saul, who recently authored a book arguing that much of that philosophical stance is aboriginal in origin, said that the prominent inclusion of first nations people in the ceremony could be an important step for the country.

Drew Hayden Taylor, an Ojibway author-comedian, said that it was "truly amazing" to see native people get recognized from the very beginning of the performance. "I know some first nations have some issues with the Olympics, but I sense nothing but respect," he said.

Still, he did make light of the fact that the first nation representatives had to dance for about an hour as all the athletes marched past. "All that leather and feather will no doubt begin to droop," he said.

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Every peoples I talk to (except forum online) in Québec really loves the experiences. I also know a couple from France who told me they are still speechless about what they saw.

I also have to say that most peoples saw beijing.. and they loves the way vancouver ceremony was none. Pure ceremony, pure canada.

I gave an A-

Vancouver would of get an A+ if they had one climax point at the end... had the feeling the ceremonie wasnt really complete and if Gaetan boucher would of been part of the ceremony. I think it was the biggest mistake vanoc ever done. Jacques Villeneuve out, gaetan boucher should of been there.

Last thing why peoples are so upset with the cauldron if they didnt tell me I wouldnt of know... Every picture of the cauldron inside the stadium are stunning.

Have you watch the interview with david atkin?

I have lot more respect for him now !

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Hey Mr.X...the theme from the article by Fowler and Dvorak about the recognition and respect shown to First nation peoples reminds me so much of what the feeling was with the Indigenous and Torres Strait islander participation in Sydney 2000's OC. Here's hoping the symbolism is now matched by real results, for both our respective societies...

Edited by eusebius65
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Well, I watched the opening ceremony on Sky tv here in New Zealand, nice to have the event absolutely commercial free for the first time in ages - really does help keep the continuity of the ceremony going. Some decent commentators in Steven McIvor and Australia's Steve Robilliard (used to hearing him do netball and gymnastics commentary, not sure he was on the NZ broadcast team), they didnt say too much, which was a plus.

Welcome: I actually liked the stadium announcers, it was an enthusiastic and appropriate welcome. Not the warmth of Athens, but still good. Im sure they could have run the video and live snowboarder better, but that's just me being picky. It was an energy packed start and set the scene pretty well.

Host 4 Nations: Better than I thought it would be. I am always one who prefers the more artistic side of the indiginous cultures being used than a straight out performance of traditional dance etc. There was a danger where it seemed to be heading towards the lows of the *see my coin* moment of Torino's closing.

Parade of Nations: Plackards kept in the theme of the ceremony and staging construction, the music was decent, didnt drag on too much.

And now the campfest that was Bryan and Nelly's song. It really did appear that the closing ceremony of Beijing and the opening of Vancouver had cosmically alligned. Seemed abit like that *Beijing Beijing.. we love Beijing* song from 2008. They both looked good, and it was great to see Nelly try to inject something into the performance. Grabbing Bryan Adams' hand to make him wake up. Obviously the poor sound quality detracted from the performance. Im sure they could have given the uber interesting voice of Nelly Furtado a better sounding track than this. Something tormented and windswept ala Try or All Good Things.

Cultural Performance:

By and large, I loved this. While perhaps we don't have any absolute mindblowing images as such that the regular Joe will remember in years to come, no cycladic head for instance, we had a number of visual effects that in the moment, were amazing. Had to love the Spirit Bear, was somewhat disappointed that they didnt take that abit further, perhaps using some of the other constellations they had projected, but still. a good piece. The Orca, the salmon, probably the highlight of the evening for me.

I couldn't have but go back to Land of Enchantment from Salt Lake though. That mystical wintery kind of segment with the animals coming out to place, the use of mood lighting etc etc.

A nice change to have the more clasically styled dancing during the *spring* segment. I like Sarah McLachlan, she had the voice to background this etherial section, but the song? I dunno, most certainly a nice song, but maybe just abit too sugary nicey nice this time round? Loved the golden projection near the end while the Adagio was playing, along with some of the members rising up into the sky.

The fiddling segment left me a tad disappointed. A nice start, one that kind of reminded me of the Barcelona closing ceremony with the shadows of the drummers ontop of the staging construction. Just seems to me that this kind of *out of control* section was always going to be in the ceremony at some stage. Maybe just a tad too folky for me. Yes, we know you have a background in tap David, but it doesnt have to be everwhere. I mean, surely the image of this dude tapping up high, and back to 2000 with Adam Garcia doing the same thing was quite obvious?

The *who has seen the winds* segment was a nice one, but I think more background was needed to completely understand the simplicity of it. Despite that, I do think they could have gone a little bit further. I can see how this may have lost alot of the populus worldwide, maybe those who aren't into the art of stadium theatre as some of us here are.

The Peaks of Endevour segment, abit so so for me, but loved the fast movement chaotic lighting near the end.

As for the poem, meh, it didnt do anything for me. Now, the poem itself is a good one I am sure, but this was definetely not the place for it. It was far too in your face patriotic. Nothing wrong with patriotism, but you would kind of left with the feeling of *hmmm, so Canada is the only one that got it right*. I hate to say it, but I can imagine the script writers of South Park having a field day with that. I liked the idea of poetry as a focal point and here, as a climax point to the performance, but maybe they should have made their poetic pick a bit better. This was really ment for a Canada Games or something like that, not a very worldly event.

As for the rest, a good performance of the Olympic hymn, tho I am one of those who would personally like the Greek version to be the common one used in these events. Gotta say tho, the LA/Atlanta version is extremely dramatic and projects well. She just took her time doing it, and I dont really like the way it switched from English to French. Agnes Baltsa from Barcelona has certainly given away her title as the biggest here in Olympic ceremonies though.

Loved the effects during KD Lang's performance, was a nice way to do the traditional peace sweep.

The cauldron lighting was obviously a disappointment. I actually like the concept, but I really don't think it came ax all that well to be honest. I am assuming that it is supposed to be a bonfire, but that concept didnt really fit in with anything else in the ceremony. I mean, the scroll cauldron in Beijing fitted perfectly, it was logical, but where in the opening did we have anything reflecting a campfire. The music was very weak. It lacked the drama of Chong Lim's finale to the Doha 2006 ceremony or Badalamenti's Barcelona composition, or the grandness of some of the great classical pieces that have been used to acompany previous cauldron lightings - the berlioz te deum, pirogov or ode to zeus.

A flat ending to the night, they didnt have that big exclamation point, or that dramatic last gasp ala Salt lake's burning rings. Nor did it have the tenderness of the Athens PA announcer with her *from the Olympic Stadium of Athens... Good Night*, as if she was putting the worlds viewers to bed.

Despite all of this, it is a ceremony I have already watched twice. It was a good one, one that was generally well done, but a few surprising things I wouldnt have picked the David Atkins of this world to have given us.

A few points...

* Believe it or not, some of the music reminded me that of Calgary 88, where you get the feeling a casio keyboard was used to provide the instrumentals - the Furtado/Adams song a prime example. Where were the rich orchestral or event cool modern soundtracks of Sydney and Doha? Did like the Hymnes of the North music though.

* The ceremony was just a tad too random. In Sydney there was a definite historical pathway that was the basis of the evening, but what exactly does a magical grove of trees have to do with anything? Maybe David should have stuck to a constant character to provide a thread, wolfman perhaps???

I think a historical course would have been boring, but even an idea or concept of thought. Something to bind everything together.

* David Atkins put his calling card on this abit too much. It needed a twist, but came out too much like Sydney and Doha. Still, it is not unusual. Don Mischer made it quite obvious in many ways that the Atlanta and SL ceremonies were both his, right down to the re-use of music and event some of the staging. Ric Birch is the same. Only the unique ceremonies seem to be the ones where people from outside the major events business are brought in to come up with some new ideas.

Overall though, Canada should be proud of this effort, they have put together a great piece of stadium *theatre*, and that is the key. It is a nice paradigm shift that we have seen in these events since Athens. Where you dont need 15,000 people to create a memorable image. This is the way to go I think.

Well done DAE and Vancouver, I am excited at the prospect of what is in store for the closing ceremony. I'd give this one, a solid 8/10

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Hey Mr.X...the theme from the article by Fowler and Dvorak about the recognition and respect shown to First nation peoples reminds me so much of what the feeling was with the Indigenous and Torres Strait islander participation in Sydney 2000's OC. Here's hoping the symbolism is now matched by real results, for both our respective societies...

I have a few friends that are pissing me off right now...they wish the whole aboriginal segment was cut out, that having them dancing "randomly" was embarrassing. Their opinions are also borderline racist. And they simply didn't understand the concept of the aboriginal segment, that it was a "welcoming".

Personally, I loved the aboriginal segment. It fit the ceremony perfectly.

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One major thing I would have liked to see in the aboriginal welcome segment is actual aboriginals. Not 20 year old super fit white people. Also they could have done a far better job on the costumes.

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I have a few friends that are pissing me off right now...they wish the whole aboriginal segment was cut out, that having them dancing "randomly" was embarrassing. Their opinions are also borderline racist. And they simply didn't understand the concept of the aboriginal segment, that it was a "welcoming".

Personally, I loved the aboriginal segment. It fit the ceremony perfectly.

It was pretty appropriate that's for sure.

Assuming you had to fork out money for your ticket, do you feel like you got value for money? I'm uncertain as to what the ticket prices were (or whether you wish to divulge how much you paid), but in my own experience of Sydney 2000's OC the huge outlay really was warranted. Not necessarily from a theatrical entertainment point of view but more emotionally. I somehow suspect it was the same for you?

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Well, I watched the opening ceremony on Sky tv here in New Zealand, nice to have the event absolutely commercial free for the first time in ages - really does help keep the continuity of the ceremony going. Some decent commentators in Steven McIvor and Australia's Steve Robilliard (used to hearing him do netball and gymnastics commentary, not sure he was on the NZ broadcast team), they didnt say too much, which was a plus.

Welcome: I actually liked the stadium announcers, it was an enthusiastic and appropriate welcome. Not the warmth of Athens, but still good. Im sure they could have run the video and live snowboarder better, but that's just me being picky. It was an energy packed start and set the scene pretty well.

Host 4 Nations: Better than I thought it would be. I am always one who prefers the more artistic side of the indiginous cultures being used than a straight out performance of traditional dance etc. There was a danger where it seemed to be heading towards the lows of the *see my coin* moment of Torino's closing.

Parade of Nations: Plackards kept in the theme of the ceremony and staging construction, the music was decent, didnt drag on too much.

And now the campfest that was Bryan and Nelly's song. It really did appear that the closing ceremony of Beijing and the opening of Vancouver had cosmically alligned. Seemed abit like that *Beijing Beijing.. we love Beijing* song from 2008. They both looked good, and it was great to see Nelly try to inject something into the performance. Grabbing Bryan Adams' hand to make him wake up. Obviously the poor sound quality detracted from the performance. Im sure they could have given the uber interesting voice of Nelly Furtado a better sounding track than this. Something tormented and windswept ala Try or All Good Things.

Cultural Performance:

By and large, I loved this. While perhaps we don't have any absolute mindblowing images as such that the regular Joe will remember in years to come, no cycladic head for instance, we had a number of visual effects that in the moment, were amazing. Had to love the Spirit Bear, was somewhat disappointed that they didnt take that abit further, perhaps using some of the other constellations they had projected, but still. a good piece. The Orca, the salmon, probably the highlight of the evening for me.

I couldn't have but go back to Land of Enchantment from Salt Lake though. That mystical wintery kind of segment with the animals coming out to place, the use of mood lighting etc etc.

A nice change to have the more clasically styled dancing during the *spring* segment. I like Sarah McLachlan, she had the voice to background this etherial section, but the song? I dunno, most certainly a nice song, but maybe just abit too sugary nicey nice this time round? Loved the golden projection near the end while the Adagio was playing, along with some of the members rising up into the sky.

The fiddling segment left me a tad disappointed. A nice start, one that kind of reminded me of the Barcelona closing ceremony with the shadows of the drummers ontop of the staging construction. Just seems to me that this kind of *out of control* section was always going to be in the ceremony at some stage. Maybe just a tad too folky for me. Yes, we know you have a background in tap David, but it doesnt have to be everwhere. I mean, surely the image of this dude tapping up high, and back to 2000 with Adam Garcia doing the same thing was quite obvious?

The *who has seen the winds* segment was a nice one, but I think more background was needed to completely understand the simplicity of it. Despite that, I do think they could have gone a little bit further. I can see how this may have lost alot of the populus worldwide, maybe those who aren't into the art of stadium theatre as some of us here are.

The Peaks of Endevour segment, abit so so for me, but loved the fast movement chaotic lighting near the end.

As for the poem, meh, it didnt do anything for me. Now, the poem itself is a good one I am sure, but this was definetely not the place for it. It was far too in your face patriotic. Nothing wrong with patriotism, but you would kind of left with the feeling of *hmmm, so Canada is the only one that got it right*. I hate to say it, but I can imagine the script writers of South Park having a field day with that. I liked the idea of poetry as a focal point and here, as a climax point to the performance, but maybe they should have made their poetic pick a bit better. This was really ment for a Canada Games or something like that, not a very worldly event.

As for the rest, a good performance of the Olympic hymn, tho I am one of those who would personally like the Greek version to be the common one used in these events. Gotta say tho, the LA/Atlanta version is extremely dramatic and projects well. She just took her time doing it, and I dont really like the way it switched from English to French. Agnes Baltsa from Barcelona has certainly given away her title as the biggest here in Olympic ceremonies though.

Loved the effects during KD Lang's performance, was a nice way to do the traditional peace sweep.

The cauldron lighting was obviously a disappointment. I actually like the concept, but I really don't think it came ax all that well to be honest. I am assuming that it is supposed to be a bonfire, but that concept didnt really fit in with anything else in the ceremony. I mean, the scroll cauldron in Beijing fitted perfectly, it was logical, but where in the opening did we have anything reflecting a campfire. The music was very weak. It lacked the drama of Chong Lim's finale to the Doha 2006 ceremony or Badalamenti's Barcelona composition, or the grandness of some of the great classical pieces that have been used to acompany previous cauldron lightings - the berlioz te deum, pirogov or ode to zeus.

A flat ending to the night, they didnt have that big exclamation point, or that dramatic last gasp ala Salt lake's burning rings. Nor did it have the tenderness of the Athens PA announcer with her *from the Olympic Stadium of Athens... Good Night*, as if she was putting the worlds viewers to bed.

Despite all of this, it is a ceremony I have already watched twice. It was a good one, one that was generally well done, but a few surprising things I wouldnt have picked the David Atkins of this world to have given us.

A few points...

* Believe it or not, some of the music reminded me that of Calgary 88, where you get the feeling a casio keyboard was used to provide the instrumentals - the Furtado/Adams song a prime example. Where were the rich orchestral or event cool modern soundtracks of Sydney and Doha? Did like the Hymnes of the North music though.

* The ceremony was just a tad too random. In Sydney there was a definite historical pathway that was the basis of the evening, but what exactly does a magical grove of trees have to do with anything? Maybe David should have stuck to a constant character to provide a thread, wolfman perhaps???

I think a historical course would have been boring, but even an idea or concept of thought. Something to bind everything together.

* David Atkins put his calling card on this abit too much. It needed a twist, but came out too much like Sydney and Doha. Still, it is not unusual. Don Mischer made it quite obvious in many ways that the Atlanta and SL ceremonies were both his, right down to the re-use of music and event some of the staging. Ric Birch is the same. Only the unique ceremonies seem to be the ones where people from outside the major events business are brought in to come up with some new ideas.

Overall though, Canada should be proud of this effort, they have put together a great piece of stadium *theatre*, and that is the key. It is a nice paradigm shift that we have seen in these events since Athens. Where you dont need 15,000 people to create a memorable image. This is the way to go I think.

Well done DAE and Vancouver, I am excited at the prospect of what is in store for the closing ceremony. I'd give this one, a solid 8/10

I agree, it was a pretty flat ending...but overall, I enjoyed the theme music much more than what Torino had (which was certainly not music). I think it wouldn't have been as flat if the cauldron lighting worked properly and right away, and they should have spent more money on a fireworks display so that it wasn't flat nor anti-climatic (though it's possible they might be saving fireworks money for the Closing Ceremony....then again, there was a HUGE 2-minute fireworks display when the outdoor cauldron by the convention centre was lit).

One major thing I would have liked to see in the aboriginal welcome segment is actual aboriginals. Not 20 year old super fit white people. Also they could have done a far better job on the costumes.

Actual aboriginals? You do realize that's why the Vancouver handover at Torino was perceived as an "disaster" by Canadians. We need performers, not people that don't know what they're doing.

The costumes were amazing.

As for the forest grove, I believe they were trying to cover one of the seasons and it's representative of Vancouver's love of trees.

It was pretty appropriate that's for sure.

Assuming you had to fork out money for your ticket, do you feel like you got value for money? I'm uncertain as to what the ticket prices were (or whether you wish to divulge how much you paid), but in my own experience of Sydney 2000's OC the huge outlay really was warranted. Not necessarily from a theatrical entertainment point of view but more emotionally. I somehow suspect it was the same for you?

I paid $180.00 for a ticket and saw the whole theatrical show...it was amazing. I was worried I wouldn't have a good view, but certainly wasn't the case...and the people weren't as small as I thought they would be.

Simply said, it's an experience of a lifetime: to attend an Olympic Opening Ceremony AND that it's in my hometown.

I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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Actual aboriginals? You do realize that's why the Vancouver handover at Torino was perceived as an "disaster" by Canadians. We need performers, not people that don't know what they're doing.

The Torino handover didn't have any aboriginal performances besides the chiefs which I don't really count as a performance. I think if there where real natives there it would be far more authentic and im sure if they had a few months to rehearse they could have done a terrific job.

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