ELO’s classic Mr Blue Sky will herald Birmingham taking the baton for the Commonwealth Games host this weekend.
The Brummie band’s anthemic song will be accompanied by a spectacular dance routine in the city centre – and be seen by a TV audience of one billion people at the Australian closing ceremony.
It will mark the Australian city handing over the Commonwealth flag to Birmingham in readiness for 2022.
The ambitious spectacle will switch between Australia and Birmingham – the first time such an event has spanned two continents. It is designed for television audiences and people are urged to watch at home.
Birmingham Lord Mayor Anne Underwood will receive the flag and Erdington rapper Lady Sanity will sing her track Go The Distance in the Carrera Stadium in the Gold Coast.
Birmingham’s part in the ceremony also features a short film by Oldbury filmmaker Daniel Alexander called We’re From Birmingham – highlighting the city’s young and diverse population.
Also performing will be spoken word poet Amerah Saleh who will represent the voice of young Brummies.
And there will be a six minute spectacular in the city centre performed by hundreds of dancers to Mr Blue Sky.
Choreographed by Rosie Kay, it will feature the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s principle dancer Celine Gittens, the People’s Orchestra.
The piece will be in a single uninterrupted camera shot ending with an aeriel view of Birmingham welcoming the world for 2022.
The whole package has been put together in the four months since Birmingham was confirmed as 2022 host in December.
Chief executive of Culture Central Gary Topp said: “We can’t wait for everyone to enjoy our unique handover event, Go the Distance.
“Our artists are certainly stepping up to the challenge delivering a fully choreographed segment live between two continents, a first for this kind of handover event.
“Go the Distance is about celebrating the talent of our communities as well as the young and diverse artists who are taking part.”
The ceremony will be live on BBC 2 from 11am on Sunday.