Drummer-percussionist Abraham Paddy Tetteh started things off at the packed Alexander Stadium, then Indian classical singer and songwriter Ranjana Ghatak took the lead, the section intended to showcase the city’s diversity.
Highlights: 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony
It was refreshing as the Birmingham Games are the first multi-sport event since the start of the pandemic to be held without major COVID-19 restrictions.
Meanwhile, no less than 70 red, white and blue cars came together to form a Union Jack, even as Prince Charles, representing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, arrived in his Aston Martin car with the Duchess of Cornwall . The formation of the cars was a tribute to the city’s incredible automotive history.
Just before that, the city paid tribute to the Queen, even as a montage featuring her harked back to the black and white era.
Flag bearers @Pvsindhu1 and @manpreetpawar07 lead #TeamIndia in the parade of nations during the opening ceremony #B2022… https://t.co/6E07rBJtjB
— Team India (@WeAreTeamIndia) 1659041602000
After a spectacular display of Birmingham’s culture and diversity, the evening paid tribute to Charlie Chaplin, the legendary comedian being hailed as one of the city’s heroes. Between London and Birmingham, his place of birth has indeed been the subject of much debate.
There was also an honorary mention of William Shakespeare, as broadcasters talked about the Shakespeare First Folio which is housed in the New Library in Birmingham – the UK’s largest public library.
Through its printing, the history of the place is illustrated in all its splendor.
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales (@ClarenceHouse) declares the Games OPEN! This is what we’ve all been waiting for… https://t.co/pbOphKe77q
— Birmingham 2022 (@birminghamcg22) 1659044308000
Then there was a gargantuan bull in the stadium, driven by overworked and underpaid assembly-line women of the Industrial Revolution. Until the raging bull was unleashed, it was the focus of all eyes during the glittering ceremony.
Perry the Bull, the Games mascot, is named after the city’s famous Bull Ring market, which has been around for hundreds of years.
“Our 72 nations and territories are all here – and Birmingham is beautiful,” said Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) President Louise Martin.
“I believe this event will be one of the biggest and most important Commonwealth Games in our 92-year history,” she added.
Indian contingent at the opening ceremony. (AFP photo)
Then begins the Parade of Nations.
In keeping with CWG tradition, Australia, host of the last Games, entered the Parade first, followed by the rest of the Oceania region.
Then other countries entered the arena in alphabetical order starting from their respective regions.
Countries from Africa, America, Asia and the Caribbean followed, followed by 2010 Games host India, with two-time badminton Olympic medalist PV Sindhu and captain the Manpreet Singh men’s hockey team leading the field to cheers from the stands.
Again, as is the norm, the English hosts entered last with “We will, we will rock you” playing in the background.
birmingham got into the spirit of the Mexican wave right from the start of the ceremony showcasing grandeur, rich culture, diversity and heritage.
The Commonwealth Games ceremonial flag was taken out and hoisted, after which CGF Chairman Martin came out to deliver a speech, at the end of which the Prince of Wales read the Queen’s message to declare the Games open .
🤩An incredible show.👑A Royal arrival.🥰An incredible welcome.This. clip. has. this. all! #B2022 https://t.co/93SznXFKiw
— Birmingham 2022 (@birminghamcg22) 1659040306000
LGBTQ+ activist and British Olympic champion Tom Daley, winner of four Commonwealth gold medals in the pool, brought the Queen’s Baton into Alexander Stadium accompanied by an entourage of LGBTQ+ flag bearers.
One of the highlights of the two-and-a-half-hour ceremony was favorite local band Duran Duran who delivered the stunning night’s finale in the city where their career began 44 years ago.
Famous Black Sabbath musician Tony Iommi and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra also performed, while talented young singer from Ribble Valley, Samantha Oxborough sang the British national anthem ‘God Save the Queen’.
A mass choir of over 700 voices, comprising 15 choirs from across the West Midlands, rang out in the arena, led by Carol Pemberton and Black Voices, one of Europe’s leading girl Acapella groups.
72 cars from five decades form a tribute to Birmingham’s incredible motoring history. From Jaguars t… https://t.co/00tu1pHkfL
— Birmingham 2022 (@birminghamcg22) 1659038182000
The Royal Marines played a driving trumpet fanfare, while Grammy-winning guitarist Iommi and saxophonist Soweto Kinch led a dream sequence called Hear my Voice, based on the title track from the film Trial of the Chicago Seven by 2020, reimagined by Birmingham-born R&B singers Indigo Marshall and Gambimi.
Creator of the acclaimed British crime drama ‘Peaky Blinders’, Steven Knight was the creative brains behind the ceremony which brought together more than 2,000 performers retracing the history of the city’s glorious past and present, while reflecting the connections between the 72 countries and territories of the Commonwealth Games.
The Games, expected to be the UK’s biggest and most expensive sporting event since the London Olympics in 2012, have had to deal with the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has been almost 10 years to the day since the highly acclaimed Opening Ceremony of the London Games.
The opening act marked the start of 11 days of sporting action in the city. More than 5,000 athletes from 72 countries will compete in 280 events in 19 sports at 15 venues.