Video designer Zsolt Balogh could be seen looking slightly nervous in Queen Victoria Square, before the start of “Made In Hull”, a spectacular 15-minute film sequence, projected onto some of Hull’s landmark buildings.
But there was no need: people came away exhilarated, saying it made them “feel proud to be Hull.”
The film transported the audience of thousands away from a bitterly cold night through the often overlooked history of Hull, from people labouring on its docks and factories, to Hull aviatrix Amy Johnson’s solo flight and the outbreak of World War Two.
Searchlights raked the air as bombs fell to earth and buildings shattered and crumbled before people’s eyes, with smoke appearing to rise above the Ferens Art Gallery, City Hall and the Maritime Museum as they were consumed by flames.
In another moving sequence fish swam through colourful underwater seaweed, before switching to trawlers labouring through mountainous seas.
A red distress flare shot into the sky, bodies fell through the water and the trawlers came to rest as wrecks on the seafloor.
However the journey through the past ended with the joy of the announcement of Hull winning the title of UK City of Culture and turbines - a reference to the opening of the Siemens blade factory - turning in a kaleidoscope of colour.
Wendy Holiday, from Hull, is one of many who found a personal connection with the film. She said: “It was amazing, particularly about the fishing heritage and the War and 2,000 people signing up for the minesweepers - my dad was one of those who signed up.
“The Blitz, the buildings burning and the old footage was fantastic, as was moving to modern times, the Spiders from Mars and the Fine Young Cannibals.
The whole set up was really impressive on three of our most iconic buildings.”
Lee Tweddle drove down to Hull from Newcastle with his three young children after seeing Hull on the news and judged it well worth the 250-mile round trip. He said: “I’m interested in the history of fishing - I found it really informative.”
Jayne Thompson, from Hull, also came away impressed: “It was brilliant, just fantastic, exceptional. It makes me feel proud to be from Hull."
Tony de Kok, who opened an Airbnb in the old Town in anticipation of 2017, said the sequence about fishing had moved him to tears. He said: “It was a distillation of everything Hull is. It ranged emotionally from despair to joy and triumphalism."