That was a weird-ass celebration just then in Seattle. I was watching the Space Needle on TV and out my bedroom window. At one minute from midnight there were supposed to be strobe lights going off from around the base. Nothing. Then the countdown. As each number from 10 down ticks off there’s supposed to be fireworks shooting out from the base up and then as the clock strikes midnight the whole top of the Needle spews out a huge burst. Tonight: a few sparks from the base as the clock counts down, and then basically silence for what seemed like a full minute. On TV I heard people start to boo. The TV twits were trying to figure out what was up and kicked into more insipid happy talk.
Eventually things did start going off, but it seemed really random. The fireworks are usually choreographed to go off in time to music (Star Wars theme this year) but they were barely going off at all. Sometimes it looked like an ammo dump getting blown up in a Steven Segal movie. And then for several seconds at a time there’d just be a single stream of fireworks coming out from one side of the Needle top like anti-aircraft fire.
Here’s a better play by play:
Computer glitch throws wrench into New Year’s at the Needle
If you were like me, you were stunned when the fireworks mysteriously stopped just a little under a minute after the stroke of midnight with the Star Wars theme playing in the background.
“We wish you could show you more right now, but something has stopped,” said KING 5 anchor Dennis Bounds.
Then, less than a minute later, a few more bursts lit up the air. And it stopped again.
Finally, at six painful minutes after midnight, the fireworks began in earnest. But without the music. And it appeared to only shoot out the west side of the Needle.
“It stopped, they rebooted it,” said Evening Magazine host John Curley about the computerized sequence that triggered the fireworks. “They rebooted it a second time.” But it didn’t restart. “So somebody sat in there and fired each one (manually),” he said.
“The eight minute show went on about twelve minutes, so I guess you can look at it as a bonus,” joked Bounds after it was over.
No one at my party had ever heard of this happening before. Certainly a New Year’s to remember.