Baku 2015 was declared closed this evening with typically vibrant and visually spectacular Ceremony ©Getty Images

An array of British musical talent brought the curtain down on the European Games here this evening in a Closing Ceremony blending the old and the modern, as well as the Western and the traditionally Azerbaijani.

The rumour mill had been in overdrive to see an act of the global fame of Opening Ceremony headliner Lady Gaga could perform again.

And while DJ Gareth Emery, electronic band Clean Bandit and singer John Newman are not yet in her level, they still produced a series of rousing performances which got the crowd on the feet and athletes dancing in the centre stage.

Given the strong British influence in the organisation of these Games, it was also fitting they should conclude with a an blending music of that country with more symbolic and visually spectacular depictions of Azeri culture and tradition.

This began from the opening scene, as three giant sculptures with skirts in bright green, blue and red moved around the arena as fireworks burst into the Baku night sky, depicting the three Flame towers which form such an iconic backdrop to this city.

Fire and flame once again played a central role in a Ceremony celebrating all Azerbaijan has to offer ©Getty Images
Fire and flame played a central role in a Closing Ceremony to Baku 2015 celebrating all Azerbaijan has to offer ©Getty Images

After more traditional music, flags from all 50 countries who participated here were paraded, with only Armenia - whose entrance was booed at the Opening Ceremony - not having an Athlete Flagbearer present.

While their colour were carried by a figure in Baku 2015 uniform, all the others were lifted by some of the biggest stars of these Games, with medals table toppers Russian led by swimmer Anton Chupkov and hosts Azerbaijan by boxer Teymur Mammadov.

Each Flagbearer then waited on the stage as the teams marched past, with the loudest cheers reserved for Azerbaijan but a warm reception given for all.

The Games were then declared closed by European Olympic Committees President President Patrick Hickey, who spoke alongside Mehriban Aliyeva, Azerbaijan's First Lady and chair of the Baku 2015 Organising Committee.

Speaking in both Azeri and English, Aliyeva thanked everyone for their hospitality and support during the Games, which she sees as a "victory for independent Azerbaijan".

She added: "The first European Games has come to an end.

"The last 17 days were remarkable and unforgettable in the history of our country.

"We're proud that in two and a half years we have turned our commitment into reality and produced an event of the highest standards."

Hickey praised Azerbaijan, the Land of Fire, for being "warm and gracious hosts", before hailing a "gold medal winning organisational effort".

Hickey concluded: "The foundations will endure and inspire.

"And, I say this with complete certainty, the future is bright for Azerbaijan, the future is bright for the European Games."

First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva spoke alongside EOC President Patrick Hickey ©Getty Images
Azerbaijan's First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva spoke alongside European Olympic Committees President Patrick Hickey, who officially closed thee first ever European Games, which have generally been considered a success ©Getty Images

With protocol, and a subsequent highlights video, over, focus returned to the show as central themes of these European Games were outlined, using traditional messages and music.

Youth, as often, was the central tenet, as was the themes of a new "energy" and "awakening".

It was, therefore, fitting that the musical finale was focused around 21st century electronic music, with Clean Bandit - who played at Glastonbury Festival only yesterday - playing three songs as athletes spilled onto the stage, dancing together.

Newman then brought the curtain down, ending with his number one hit Love Me Again as athletes remained together in the centre of the arena, mixing regardless of sport or nationality.

It ended the 17-day Games here in the way organisers would have desired, with themes of celebration, vibrancy and, above all, athletes to the fore rather than anything else.

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