Messy wires snake under paper-strewn desks. Instead of pigeon-holes, large envelopes with names scrawled on them are tacked to the walls. And the Hong Kong 97 Spectacular logo behind the receptionist is crooked. By the end of next week this makeshift office will be deserted, and the team now working away frantically will be able to look back on their fleeting accomplishment - an hour-long harbour show. But impresario extraordinaire Don Mischer and his fellow American, director and writer, Adam Bezark, hope their July 1 evening spectacular will last much longer in the collective memory. 'It's a chance for everyone in Hong Kong to relax and have a wonderful night after all these years of anticipation and uncertainty,' said Mr Bezark, 35. 'Over the handover there'll be messages of concern, protest, political messages, but in the middle of all that I hope this will be a message of joy, celebration and pride.' Produced under the aegis of the Better Hong Kong Foundation and the Association for Celebration of Reunification of Hong Kong with China, the show will cost $100 million, bankrolled by corporate sponsors. It promises to be the most spectacular event seen in Hong Kong. 'One of the misperceptions we've had to counter is that it's just a fireworks display. If that's all you're coming to see, you'll be in for a big surprise,' Mr Bezark said. A self-confessed Disney fanatic since a childhood visit to Disneyland, most of Mr Bezark's work has been done for theme parks. The concept for the July 1 show, to begin at 9 pm, originated last November, but it was just two months ago that the team's funding and sponsorships were confirmed. The event had been organised at 'supersonic Hong Kong speed', he said. The focus of the show will be the 'Pearl of the Orient', an inflatable white globe as high as the Convention and Exhibition Centre extension stuffed with lasers and other hi-tech lighting. The only space large enough to test the American-made 'pearl' was a football stadium. In the late afternoon of July 1 the Pearl, mounted atop a tower on a specially designed barge complete with a large on-board electricity generator, will be towed out to the middle of the harbour. 'It's going to glow,' said production co-ordinator Matthew Joscelyne, 31, 'and a static effect will come out of it. The pearl's going to explode out on to both sides of the shoreline to bring it all to life. 'The enormity of it . . . you can't even picture in your mind, that's what's going to blow people away,' said the Australian, who arrived in Hong Kong in March fresh from working on the Super Bowl half-time show in New Orleans and the Atlanta Olympics. The exploding pearl will cue in the next part of the show, the 'Sea of Life' presentation, featuring 31 giant lanterns, each borne on a barge. All the themes will be Chinese ones: pandas, lucky coins, an ox, a dragon and a phoenix. Each has been sponsored by a different company, and the barges will feature discreet logos. 'A few of the companies asked if they could make a float that was their logo,' Mr Bezark said. 'We've told them this is for Hong Kong, it's not a self-serving promotion. They were all completely cool with that.' The whole show will be set to music, much of it composed for the occasion. The audience will hear excerpts from Tan Dun's Symphony 97 and new music by Rene Dupere, composer of the soundtrack to Cirque du Soleil's Alegria. There will also be traditional Chinese songs, and tunes from films including The Last Emperor. The music will be broadcast by RTHK, Mr Bezark said, so people should bring a radio along to hear it. It is while the lanterns are bobbing majestically around the pearl that the crowd lining the harbour's facing shores - which organisers hope will be up to two million strong - are expected to take centre stage, breaking into the world's largest session of mass karaoke singing. 'We wanted to do something that the whole city could participate in,' Mr Bezark. 'We had a lot of ideas - torches, flashcards - but as Americans [about 20 of the team are Americans] it never would've occurred to us to do karaoke. 'Early on we figured this had to be a Hong Kong event, not a Hollywood one. We had to listen to the folks here. The karaoke is an example of Hong Kong leading the show. The more we got into it, the more we discovered the power of karaoke cannot be underestimated.' As the last karaoke strains drift across the harbour, 400 pagers worn by people strategically located deep inside 140 buildings will beep simultaneously. The wearers will be volunteers whose cues to electrical engineers to flick off neon lights, floodlights and handover decorations will dim the Hong Kong and Tsim Sha Tsui skylines in preparation for the City of Light spectacular. At least that is the plan: Mr Joscelyne said the logistics of getting the buildings' occupants, managers and advertising companies and advertisers all to agree to the blackout had been time-consuming. So far about 90 per cent had agreed, but he voiced confidence that no one would refuse to take part and so spoil the moment. The pearl will then 'come alive' with lasers again. 'We're going to have basically the biggest laser show ever held on Earth,' Mr Joscelyne enthused. The laser magic will be heightened by 30 searchlights sweeping the night sky. The climax of the presentation will come when the beepers go off again, and the skyline is suddenly illuminated by a blaze of light, 'probably one of the most amazing and incredible spectacles people have ever seen'. On cue, and in time with the music, neon lights along the Hong Kong Island shore from North Point to the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal will illuminate in eight rapid movements like a rippling wave. Decorative illuminations and floodlights will then bounce the wave back to North Point. A staggered switch-on had been chosen, Mr Joscelyne said, partly for dramatic effect but also to avoid overloading the territory's electricity system. To make sure it all works, the team has been conducting secret tests, building by building, to time how long it takes to shut down the lighting and turn it back on. They are planning a rehearsal the length of the skyline, probably on Sunday night. Once the lights are back on, the show will move into its 'Unity' phase. 'It's about bringing Hong Kong together so we'll try to create a symbolic bridge across the harbour,' Mr Bezark said. The initial idea was for floodlit water jets to form a bridge, but Mr Bezark said that had been abandoned. What will replace it is a tightly-guarded secret. The show's final act will be 'Celebration', featuring the launch of fireworks from eight barges strung out in a long line down the middle of the harbour. 'That will allow us to do some nice tricks with the choreography,' Mr Bezark said, 'firing them in different configurations to create some interesting patterns. 'We're taking a different approach to the traditional Lunar New Year fireworks show. It's nine minutes, as opposed to 25, and it's twice as much tonnage of fireworks, so it will look like four times as much stuff.' Of course the weather could put a dampener on the whole night but the team have planned for that, too. If it is drizzling, the show will go ahead; if there is a downpour the team will wait it out and the show will start late. In the event of a typhoon, it will be delayed until the following Saturday, July 5.