Some things were not technically feasible when I first attended. The heavy metal guitar solo had not been invented in 1965, yet that musical staple features twice in the 2012 show: once – bizarrely – in the course of a breathtakingly slick drill display by the Guard of His Majesty the King of Norway, and later, in a sort of Brian May way, at the culmination of a salute to the jubilee of Her Majesty, during Diamonds Are Forever.
That juxtaposition of James Bond and Elizabeth II is far from the only parallel with the recent much-lauded Danny Boyle Olympics Opening, in what can only be coincidence, or illustrate how both events have the measure of popular taste. Tattoo 2012 begins with the native people of Scotland's crofting agrarian idyll, with carnyx warhorns, a dinky stone circle, and Mary Erskine's gels as Pictish Warriors (which is not how they seemed in my day at all). Fast forward to the industrial revolution and the OzScot dancers of New South Wales are backed by arc-welding and angle-grinding (like Faust at the Jaffa Cake, Fringe '97) and music by Andrew Wilkie, who scored Herald Angel winners Tap Dogs in '95. Despite their lame hotpants, they are out-camped by compatriots the Band of the Australian Defence Force with a La Clique-like cabaret medley of Waltzing Matilda, Kylie's Spinning Around and AC/DC's Highway to Hell.
Then there is the return visit of Switzerland's Top Secret Drum Corps, astonishing percussionists assembled in Basel in 1990, a year ahead of the Fringe premiere of Stomp!
It's history, Brigadier David Allfrey, sir, in more ways than you know it.
Sponsored by RBS.
There's a taste of the Tattoo in Glasgow's George Square at noon tomorrow.