The world soccer body FIFA has tapped Peter Gabriel to organize the opening ceremony for next year’s World Cup finals in Germany. The man who only recently became a fan of the game and European champions Liverpool is working on songs for the show in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.
“It’s like owning a big playpen and someone else is going to pay for it,” Gabriel said. “I’m not going to be playing [soccer]!” he laughed. “But I was asked to get involved. We’re writing some of the music and getting involved in some crazy ideas.”
“Well I did have this idea,” he said mischievously. “A red curtain across the goal and that would grow to a skirt and we’d attach little tails to footballs so they become like sperm…
“But I don’t know if this is an idea that is going to fly!” he grinned, when reminded that NBC fended off complaints last year about the broadcast of the Athens Olympics opening ceremony featuring ancient Greek gods in various stages of undress and simulating naughty acts.
The full-length show the night before the finals begin will be a first for the World Cup, similar to past Olympic extravaganzas, according to Gabriel, who is coordinating the event with a French choreographer and a German producer.
“It’s a show that anyone who ever won the World Cup is going to be invited to,” he said. “All the players, [including England’s 1966 star] Bobby Charlton, hopefully.”
Another key element is that it will be held in Berlin, “the same stadium where Hitler had the ’36 Olympics. It looks different now, but we’ve had lots of discussions about how much to refer to that,” said Gabriel, referring to Jesse Owens winning four gold medals, Hitler being less than pleased and the foreboding images of Nazi exuberance captured in Leni Riefenstahl’s documentary “Olympia.”
“I think FIFA just want [to say], ‘Anything the Olympics can do, we can do better,'” Gabriel said. “It’s a pretty big audience.”
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