It's not a concert, Danny Boyle stressed. It's about the athletes.
In a very real way, though, the director of the Olympic opening ceremony was wrong.
While sports are the heart of the Olympics, music -- loud, bold, world-conquering British music, amplified in the most global of settings -- was the booming beat Friday night.
One of Boyle's stated aims was to showcase ''the best of us'' -- and ever since the Beatles and the Rolling Stones appropriated American blues, country and rock and remade them into something new, the best of British has been music.
Music ran like a river through Boyle's ''Isles of Wonder'' extravaganza, which depicted a Britain brutally wrenched from its rural past by industrialization and upheaval before being thrust into a fast, uncertain, exciting new world -- all propelled by the throb of homegrown music.
It began gently, with Edward Elgar, the hymn ''Jerusalem'' and ''Danny Boy'' -- but soon started to rock.
Olympic ceremonies often play it safe. But...