London - Global superstars Coldplay, Rihanna and Jay-Z headlined the closing ceremony of the London Paralympic Games on Sunday, in a celebratory concert rich in noise, colour, machines - and fire.
The British supergroup provided the backdrop to a three-hour extravaganza interspersed with music and dance at the Olympic Stadium in east London, belting out hits including Clocks, The Scientist and Yellow.
“Being asked to play at the Paralympic closing ceremony in our home town is a huge honour,” said lead singer Chris Martin.
“We can't actually imagine a bigger honour. This will be the biggest night of our lives,” added Martin, who is married to American actress Gwyneth Paltrow.
The band, who have sold more than 50-million records worldwide, accepted a fee of £1 to headline the show.
They were to be joined by US rapper-producer Jay-Z and Barbados star Rihanna for a festival-themed show watched by 80 000 spectators in the stadium and millions worldwide on television.
“Being at the Paralympics is the biggest honour,” said Rihanna. “These athletes are gladiators and are a true inspiration to me,” the Umbrella singer added.
Warriors on roller-skates, a cast of 1 336 volunteers from around the world and more than 50 drummers were also among the performers in a show with themes ranging from military sacrifice to the changing seasons.
The next Paralympic hosts, Rio de Janeiro, were also set to provide a taste of 2016 with a colourful segment featuring “dance battles” between performers of different styles.
Roberta Marquez and Thiago Soares, both Brazilian stars of the British Royal Ballet, were to perform with a group of Brazilian visually-impaired dancers.
Outlandish vehicles also played a central role in the show, with trucks including a giant dinosaur made of 25 old BMWs, a whale built from an old helicopter and a giant grasshopper wheeling around the stadium.
A message was to be projected onto Britain's Houses of Parliament, reading: “Thank you London, thank you UK.” - Sapa-AFP