But only joy accompanied A Symphony of British Music, two weeks after the Games opened with Isles of Wonder.
There was homage to John Lennon in a version of Imagine remastered by Yoko Ono at Abbey Road Studios. Monty Pythons Eric Idle turned his rendition of Always Look on the Bright Side of Life into a sing-along.
From a parade of black taxis emerged the Spice Girls, including Victoria Posh Beckham, whose husband David was sadly not selected for Great Britains Olympic soccer team but who was a constant presence here from the start, when he delivered the torch via speedboat on the Thames.
The producer of the Closing Ceremony described the Opening as a wedding and his extravaganza as the reception. It was a party arrayed on a Union Jack design during which athletes, volunteers and fans blew off steam in sync with exploding fireworks and torrents of confetti with waves of light flowing around the stadium.
Johnson made the traditional handoff of the Olympic flag to the mayor of the city that will succeed London as host in 2016, Eduardo Paes of Rio de Janeiro.
Then, a taste of Brazil samba, Copacabana, Capoeira and a welcoming salute from Pelé. Brazil will be the first South American country to hold the Olympics.
The Whos Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend performed as video snapshots of Olympic volunteers and the countrys marvelously diverse residents flashed on the big screen.
The stems of the flaming cauldron bent downward. Each team will take home one of the petals.
For the third time in Olympic history, London was entrusted with hosting the Games and once again, we have shown ourselves worthy of that trust, said Seb Coe, Olympic gold medalist of the 1980s, former Tory MP and the driving force behind Londons bid. I said that our Games would see the best of us. When our time came, Britain, we did it right. Thank you.