I hope that all of you got a chance to watch the Opening Ceremonies last night. I also hope that you thought it was a great show like I did. I know that I was raving about it for almost a week, and hopefully didn’t build it up too much. I was impressed with the real show, there were actually some new wrinkles that we hadn’t seen yet.
Obviously we hadn’t seen the lighting of the torch, but I had heard that someone was going to be “running” around the inside of the roof with the torch. We were all hoping that Jackie Chan would do it just like in Rush Hour 2, but we had to settle for a concert by him afterwards.
If you didn’t know where I was, well, I was basically at turn 2 if you think of the field as a track. When the torch and Olympic flag came out of the tunnel, that was my tunnel they came out of. I was about 10-15 feet from the action all night long. I saw all the athletes: Yao, Manu, Kobe, Carmelo, Dwight Howard, Tyson Gay, Tayshaun Prince, Dirk, Roger Federer and a ton of others that I obviously couldn’t pick out of a crowd.
My two favorite parts of the entire show are the drums at the beginning and the guys dressed in blue who act like boats. The drums didn’t change anything from last time, but even seeing them three times I loved it. It’s just so cool. The guys in blue changed things a little bit last rehearsal, they added the part when they broke into small boats which was neat. I think the most impressive part is when they all sit down and start rowing, then stand up and lean back even further and row. It’s really cool to be able to see how they set up and execute the sitting down part. One guy actually squats down on the end and faces the opposite direction while another guy leans on him. The rest of the people then sit on the leg of the person behind them. I just can’t get over it that they had two lines of that going the entire length of the field. It had to have been over 120 yards, no joke.
The field itself was laid with LED lights everywhere. If you can’t tell already they absolutely love lights here in China. Every venue was built for night so they could have a light show. The big panels in the middle of the floor were covered with basically plastic of fiberglass windows. The rest of the floor had little lights every 3 feet or so. I don’t know how much of that you saw on TV. They had metal pieces run between them to cover up the wires.
They didn’t have fireworks for the last rehearsal and that really makes a difference. I can’t remember exactly how many thousands of fireworks they had but I want to say it was around 13 for some reason. 205 countries. 80 heads of state. It was an unbelievable experience, and I got to be on the field.
I want to add two notes to the end. First, during the rehearsal they obviously don’t have the athletes march and that part takes about 30 minutes and seemed long. Last night it took over 2 hours to get through every country. Rehearsals were just less than 2 hours whole, last night the entire show was close to 4 hours. Then add the pre-show which isn’t broadcasted that we sit through, we were on the field for over 6 hours. Second, it’s always hot in Beijing, morning, afternoon, evening, it really doesn’t matter. With all the fireworks, 90,000 people, then the torch, it was incredibly hot. Standing on the field after everything you really can feel the heat coming off of the torch, that is how incredibly huge it really is.
What a phenomenal night, I can’t believe I was there. 4 billion people worldwide watched that show, that’s something I will never fully comprehend.
I’m sending some pics from before the Ceremonies. Some of me, my cameraman, and others that I work with, and some of the stadium during the day.