A pyrotechnic rainbow waterfall will fall off the Sydney Harbour Bridge during this year’s Midnight Fireworks as part of Sydney New Year’s Eve (NYE) 2017 – Wonder and the ‘heralding of a new dawn for equality’.
Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, said it celebrates Australians saying ‘Yes’ to marriage equality:
“The rainbow waterfall is a well-earnt tribute to the Sydney 78ers who marched for gay rights 40 years ago – it is a reminder of how far we have come & how far we have left to achieve true equality for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender & intersex (LGBTI) community. It is a wonderful way to ring in the new year & celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Sydney Gay And Lesbian Mardi Gras”
The rainbow waterfall replaces the golden waterfall this year in the Midnight Fireworks. It is a break in tradition but it is not without precedence. The golden waterfall has been replaced in:
- Sydney NYE2000 – 100 Years As A Nation, Millions Of Years As A Land: Silver To Gold Waterfall
- Sydney NYE2002 – The World’s Celebration In Union: Green & White Strobing Angelic Waterfall
- Sydney NYE2005 – Heart Of The Harbour: Red To White Strobing Angelic Waterfall
- Sydney NYE2006 – A Diamond Night In Emerald City: – Green Strobing Angelic Waterfall
The golden waterfall is the iconic moment of the Sydney NYE event and consequently, the Midnight Fireworks. All editions of Sydney NYE have had the golden waterfall drop in the major closing Bridge sequence because of the emotional impact it delivers as part of the finale particularly when heard with the official soundtrack. The soundtrack of the waterfall, thus, has to be one of major emotional impact. Previous golden waterfall drops have featured these music pieces to give an idea of the type of music that usually accompanies it:
- Thus Spoke Zarathustra: Sunrise – Richard Strauss
- The Ring Of The Nibelung: The Valkyrie: Ride Of The Valkyries – Richard Wagner
- Marche Slave Op.31 – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
- Swan Lake – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
- The Man From Snowy River (Olympic Version) – Bruce Rowland
- Pines Of Rome: The Pines of the Appian Way – Ottorino Respighi
- Advance Australia Fair/Waltzing Matilda (Hylton Mowday Remix) – Peter Dodds McCormick & Banjo Paterson
- Organ Concerto: Third Movement – Saint Saens
- Slavsia, Slavsia – Mikhail Glinka/Symphony Of A Thousand – Gustav Mahler
- Firebird Suite: Lullaby – Igor Stravinsky
- Vincero: Nessun Dorma – Giacorno Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini
- Sydney NYE Finale 2012 – Michael Yezerski vs. s:amplify
- On A Night Like This – Kylie Minogue
- Oblivion – M83 featuring Susanne Sundfør
- Chandelier – Sia
- Love Me Like You Do – Ellie Goulding
- Hymn For The Weekend (featuring Beyonce) – Coldplay
See videos of previous displays to see how the music & waterfall is timed for emotional impact.
As you can see, most are instrumental music pieces from the classical or soundtrack genres. This was the case pre-NYE2013 with the exception of NYE2004. Since NYE2013, vocal songs from either the pop or soundtrack genres have featured.
But this year’s rainbow waterfall has extra meaning (see above) so there is a possibility that the music has been chosen with this in mind. However, it is not guaranteed: the fireworks soundtrack is finalised in September & if it has been done purely for the proclamation of Schedule 1, Parts 1-3 & 5 of the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017, there was no guarantee back in September that the bill would even be introduced in Parliament. Back then, the Marriage Law Postal Survey had only just started.
Either way, it was guaranteed that 2018 celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the Sydney Gay And Lesbian Mardi Gras. It could have been chosen with that in mind.
It could also just have been chosen to represent the City Of Sydney’s support for LGBTI people. However, it would have been a slightly risky move particularly had the Marriage Law Postal Survey returned a ‘No’ result. Whilst it is the City Of Sydney’s event, to the general public it is Australia’s event. The City Of Sydney treated it as a national event pre-NYE2013 but since then have portrayed it as Sydney’s event. If the rainbow waterfall wasn’t planned to be subtle, it could have been a controversial choice. Good thing a ‘Yes’ result was returned (particularly in the City Of Sydney)!
A rainbow waterfall might also have been coincidentally added due to this year’s colourful artwork as well as the fact that rainbows regularly feature in Sydney NYE fireworks displays recently. If this was the case, any music piece could be a potential candidate.
What You Think
Everyone had a different opinion so there was no stand out choice. These were your suggestions:
Thus Spoke Zarathustra: Sunrise – Richard Strauss:
What We Think
People’s suggestions were either of the following:
- Too controversial
- Used before in Sydney NYE
- Not emotional enough
- Lyrics unrelated to the extra meaning behind the rainbow waterfall
The song Something Just Like This – The Chainsmokers & Coldplay would be a good candidate though to appear at any point of the 9pm Family & Midnight Fireworks.
The most likeliest of all the suggestions to drop the rainbow waterfall we think would be I Will Survive – Diana Ross due to the song considered by some as a gay anthem. However, unlike the original version of the song by Gloria Gaynor, there is no good ‘drop point’ for the rainbow waterfall in this version. The original version though has a suitable ‘drop point’ at 01:11 in the music video:
We are guessing though that it will be the song Finally by CeCe Peniston. It was used in the Australian movie, The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert as well as in a segment of the Closing Ceremony of The Games Of The XXVIIth Olympiad: Sydney 2000 dedicated to that same movie. The song is about the wait to begin a relationship ending. It was a hit in the 1990’s and popular in clubs as it is a dance song.
If the Midnight Fireworks soundtrack abruptly changes to this song at 00:57 in the music video, when the rainbow waterfall drops, accompanied by a glittering light display off the Sydney Harbour Bridge, it could be the emotional impact that is desired to deliver the message the City Of Sydney is sending to the world. After all, Australia has been debating changes to the Marriage Act 1961 since 2004. It was a long, tiring debate particularly for LGBTI people & the debate and wait is finally over.
So that’s what we think. We might be wrong. We might be right. You all might be wrong. One of you might be right. The fireworks soundtracks are released tomorrow. We’ll find out then. Maybe.
There is one extra thing about the rainbow waterfall that is unique this year. Who knows? Maybe it will be revealed tomorrow too. However, if it isn’t, don’t expect us to reveal it. We are waiting until the City Of Sydney do if they ever do. If they don’t, we’re leaving it as a surprise to maximise the emotional impact of the Midnight Fireworks for you all.