It was an emotional ending. A day - an evening - many have been dreading for years. Yet as grey clouds made way for late evening sunshine in east London, it was hard not to be too downbeat. The 2012 Olympics were drawing to a conclusion, but what a Games they were.
As with the Opening Ceremony a mere seventeen days earlier there was a keen battle between press and social media to leak details of the Closing Ceremony against the back drop of 'saving the surprise'. We knew that this was always going to be a ceremony centred around music. Danny Boyle had no input in this production, but Artistic Director Kim Galvin had assured all who listened that it would be a continuation of the themes laid out in the 'Isles of Wonder'.
Anyone with knowledge of past Olympic ceremonies know that the Closing is always a key or two lower than the Opening. It must strike a chord between the expected melancholy of the Games ending, and the joy of the athletes' participation. And that's not forgetting the protocols in-between, least of all presenting the next host city.
As such, the Closing Ceremony of London 2012 tried to focus on the joy of the Olympic movement and Britain's indelible mark on popular culture. The musical theme saw some of the biggest names in pop perform live amongst a backdrop of the city at work. Watching it in person (as I did with the Opening Ceremony) was a challenging experience, as eyes were drawn between the cars and lorries whizzing by whilst Timothy Spall, playing Churchill, poked out of a scale model of Big Ben.
The entertainment value was measured, paced well, with a playlist that kept the 80000-strong crowd cheering and clapping throughout. At times, especially with the fashion parade and the Fatboy Slim-led Octopus set, the Ceremony flirted with the extreme highs of its counterpart. Yet with a delicately choreographed sequence to John Lennon's 'Imagine', and The Kinks' Ray Davies singing 'Waterloo Sunset', you were never far away from knowing the party was nearly over.
The flag parade, featuring our own Ben Ainslie was a high-point, as was the arrival of the remaining athletes into the centre of the stadium to the dulcet tones of Elbow. If the Opening was a tad loose and easy, the Closing was, comparatively, a tight affair. Music continued to dominate with Liam Gallagher's Beady Eye singing 'Wonderwall', which was suitably epic as tens of thousands joined in with the sing-along from start to finish. The arrival of the Spice Girls was the high point for many, and Muse's Olympic anthem 'Survival' finally got the stage and audience it so richly deserves having been a cult hit at venues during these Games.
And yet, from the highs came the lows. As the Olympic anthem was sung by a men's choir the flag of the five rings was lowered discreetly. And almost immediately after, in front of the cauldron, the process of handing the baton over to Rio was completed - Mayor Johnson of London, to IOC President Rogge, to Mayor Paes of Rio de Janeiro. We were nearly done.
The Rio 2016 presentation segment was brilliantly carnival and lifted the mood of those attending. As a taster of things to come, it was a winner.
The protocol speeches were made, with Lord Coe, who deserves enormous credit for almost single-handedly bringing these Olympics back to our shores, offering a towering appraisal of the work done. On acknowledging the thousands of Games Makers, the volunteers who made these Games, all inside rose to their feet and applauded for close to a minute. It was overwhelming but utterly justified. Rogge, typically demure in response, offered praise all round. We were never going to get the 'best games ever' tag from the Belgian, but we could be satisfied that both he and the Olympic family were happy.
The call to gather in four years was made, and the brilliant cauldron was expanded once more to extinction as Take That belted out 'Rule The World'. It was an inspired choice that encapsulated all the emotion and feeling, not just of that moment but of the two weeks that preceded it.
Mod legends The Who closed out the show with 'My Generation' as the dancing and partying continued. The London 2012 Olympic Games were over. Seven years of expectation, hope, deliverance and graft came to an end. Emotions were high for so many last night; talk was of privilege, of life-long memories and personal legacy.
It's not for me to say whether these were the greatest Olympic Games ever, because my answer is too simple. Yes, a thousand times yes. The greatest sporting competition in the world met the greatest city in the world - for the third time - and the spoils we have to show for it, and will continue to show, are marvellous.
Exiting the Olympic Stadium for the final time, the prevailing sound was of the samba band from the 2016 segment playing on. This is as it should be. If we have to give these Olympics up, there is no finer city in the world to be handing it over to.
Rio will do an incredible job in four years time. They will have to. Because we have been London. And these were our Games.