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European Capital of Culture – The People’s Launch

St. George’s Hall Plaza
Liverpool

Friday January 11, 2008


St. Georges Hall in Liverpool 2006

St. George's Hall
Liverpool

 

The last time this many people – around 30,000 – were crammed into Lime Street like this, a certain team in red were parading their fifth European Cup before their adoring faithful in 2005. Tonight, the atmosphere may not have been quite so electric but it was, nonetheless, expectant with the appearance of Ringo Starr being the most eagerly anticipated feature of the evening

It was cold … bitterly cold, but thankfully the winds that had raged earlier in the week and threatened to have the proceedings cancelled, were non-existent. As a result, over one hundred guitarists and percussionists could take their place amidst an array of lights, pyrotechnics and smoke, on the rooftops and monuments that grace this part of the city centre with such distinction.

 

High in the air, ariel artists dressed as construction workers, performed acrobatically in square frames or from ropes, whereas celebrities were hoisted in huge containers to take their bow before an admiring and appreciative crowd.

Meanwhile, a team of abseiling dare devils, swung precariously and dynamically before the two enormous screens that had been erected and so “tore” into a series of stunning graphics designed to show off the sights of the city and what it means to those who live here.

Paul Dodd did a superb job as MC for the evening and Jane Hogarth delivered a poignant prayer for the future, as local school children symbolically delivered gifts to the city in a procession that was as moving as it was long.

Local stars, The Wombats, warmed up the crowd before the crowning moment, the introduction of Ringo Starr backed by Dave Stewart and his band, took place high above the city, on the roof of St. George’s Hall. Okay, his new song, Liverpool 8, is never going to win any song-writing awards, but it has to be said its catchy and there were more than a few people singing its refrain as the crowd slowly – out of necessity – drifted away into the night.

Forty-seven minutes in length and starting at eight minutes past eight precisely (20:08, get it?), The People’s Launch of 2008 was a spectacular evening that will live long in the memory for all those here to see it take place.

 


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