I watched the CTV coverage, with Brian Williams and Lloyd Robertson as commentators. I also tweeted and followed the tweets from my Canadian and American friends alike. Follow @LadySolitaire83 to see my tweets last night.
I'm sure you've seen most of last night's opening ceremony, or you're watching it right now on your DVRs or whatever, so I'm not going to recap the whole thing. I'm just going to write about the highs and the lows of last night's ceremony.
- k.d. lang's performance of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" - She sang the song with so much emotion and barefoot to boot! It was the first - and only? - moving musical performance of the night.
- Yellowknife's Shane Koyczan's poem "We Are More" - The officials saved the best for last. My now-favourite slam poet listed the things that make Canada the amazing country that it is, such as hockey, our politeness, and our cultural diversity. In his words: "We are the true North / Strong and free / And what's more / Is that we didn't just say it / We made it be". You can view the full transcript here.
- The visual and special effects - The orcas! The salmon! The Spirit Bear! The prairies' golden fields! The pretty colours as the seasons progress! Oh, my gosh! The visual effects were so freaking awesome! It was so breathtaking. Wow.
- The BC Place crowd's standing ovation for Team Georgia - As most of you know by now, the 21-year-old luger from the Republic of Georgia, Nodar Kumaritashvili died yesterday after a tragic accident in Whistler, BC. So when the republic's athletes entered the main stage during the Parade of Nations with black armbands, the spectators in BC Place gave them a standing ovation. Very classy.
- The Four Host First Nations' welcome - It is refreshing to see the First Nations in the spotlight. First, the First Nations chiefs were given the head-of-state status. If y'all remember, the seats behind Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Governor-General Michaelle Jean, IOC President Jacques Rogge, and the other important people were empty and kinda confused. The commentators said that the confusion was due to the First Nations chiefs not having arrived yet. Second, the Four Host First Nations - the Lil'wat, Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh - welcomed the world in their respective native languages and in English & French. Third, the other Aboriginal Peoples of Canada, including the Metis, Inuit, and First Nations, danced their ways into the floor and during the Parade of Nations.
- Newfoundland's punk tap dancers and fiddlers - OMG, they were entertaining. I enjoyed the fiddling and the tap dancing. I was wondering whether we'd see Ashley MacIsaac, as he was the only Canadian fiddler I've actually heard of. Then, lo and behold, he was there! That was a fun performance.
- The apparent lip-syncing of the musical performers - Everyone was a-Twitter about Nelly Furtado, Bryan Adams, and even Sarah McLachlan and Measha Brueggergosman, appearing to lip-sync. I guess it's because they didn't "sound" live, as opposed to k.d. lang and the francophone singer Garou's performances. It's kinda hard to tell with Measha because she's a soprano and with Sarah because it would also follow that the piano and the strings also wouldn't be live. But Nelly and Bryan did seem like they were lip-syncing. It doesn't matter much in the grand scheme of last night's ceremony, but the lip-synced performances definitely pale in comparison to k.d. lang and Garou's performances. Not to mention, kinda embarrassing for these world-renowned artists.
- The massive mechanical epic failure at the end - During the final leg of the Olympic torch relay, five of the greatest Canadian names in sports - Rick Hansen, Catriona LeMay-Doan, Steve Nash, Nancy Greene, and Wayne Gretzky, in this order - lit each other's torches, until they were standing around the stage. There was an extended pause as each of them - especially Nash and Gretzky - looked worried and confused. Then a commentator (can't remember which one) said that five pieces of the indoor cauldron were supposed to emerge from the floor, but there was some sort of mechanical difficulty getting them up. Eventually, the middle piece and three legs emerged, leaving one leg on the ground. When the five lit the indoor cauldron, it was still beautiful, but the mechanical epic failure was seen all over the world. It was so embarrassing. Thank God Gretzky's ride from BC Place to the external cauldron at Waterfront - with the spectators gleefully following the vehicle and taking pictures - saved us all from this massive embarrassment. The poor hydraulic engineer must be hiding under a bunker right now.
Go Canada go!!!