The noise, the outrageous enthusiasm and the sheer happiness suggested that more than 80,000 people had just emerged from a drug-fuelled spell on an English field with music blaring and a vibe of unity, peace and love, man.
And in a way they had. The opening ceremony of the XXXth Olympiad owed much to Danny Boyle's relentless creative force but it left spectators with a feeling they had ingested mind-altering substances.
How else to explain James Bond talking to the Queen, "dove bikes" flitting on the edges of a field mooing and mewling with animals, a squadron of Mary Poppins upstaging the Red Arrows, people wandering around with clouds on a lead as if they were dealing with a docile pet, and smokestacks rising, poppies spreading and rugby players crashing to the ground?
This cost more than £27 million. A few old hippies mused wryly this was not the only LSD that influenced proceedings.
The surreality of the event, the utter bizarre Britishness of it and the unrelenting English eccentricity that pervaded the night should not be used to suggest that Boyle's masterplan was some sport of inspired jazz riff.
He knew what he was doing. The walk from the £428m stadium gave undeniable evidence that he had moved a crowd emotionally. The testimony from directors afterwards was that Boyle had created a ceremony with extraordinary technical precision. The public reaction was overwhelmingly positive.
However, there was one dissenter. Conservative MP Aidan Burley tweeted that the ceremony was "multicultural crap". This may have owed something to Boyle unaccountably neglecting to reference Burley's sacking as a ministerial aide last year after the politician took part in a Nazi-themed stag party as one of those special British moments.
The Olympic organisers are famously wary of being embroiled in domestic issues, but Boyle's show was undeniably political. Everything is politics, as Thomas Mann observed. Everything in the Olympic ceremony had an agenda, but Boyle's purpose seemed to be to relate what makes and made Britain great.
Such was the speed of the show that the hard-pressed hack missed some references as eyes were on keyboard. For example, this observer read about rather than witnessed the section detailing the voyage of the MV Empire Windrush, the ship which brought passengers from Jamaica to start a new life in Britain.
Other themes were glaringly obvious. The turbulent, noisy night was full of motifs and messages for peace. The CND symbol was also visible. There was more than a nod to unions, suffragettes and what made Britain different, even revolutionary.
The most spectacular section was a homage to the National Health Service. Boyle, with his customary invention, had a fleet of Mary Poppins and a cast of children being invigorated by some invisible potion, presumably not aided by a spoonful of sugar.
This was, rightfully, an unambiguous statement that the NHS makes us better morally as well as physically. This is a nation that is home to bankers who cheat and steal, politicians who dissemble and professionals in various disciplines who have lost their moral compass. But Boyle and his cast roared into the night that there was still something about Britain that must be held to the enquiring light of the hundreds of millions of television viewers.
He employed literature with breathtaking chutzpah. Shakespeare, AA Milne, JM Barrie and more were referenced and celebrated. The Tempest was part of the theme for the night and literature was a key component of an extraordinary show.
But it was the soundtrack that gripped, entranced and added both mischief and message. There was the obligatory Hey Jude from Paul McCartney, the mandatory London Calling from The Clash, but the vast stadium also bounced to a tribute to British music that was clever and brave. It was not easy to include the Sex Pistols and God Save the Queen, Tiger Feet by Mud was not obvious but brilliant in its moment, and there was The Jam, The Who, The Stones, Dizzee Rascal and on and on ...
It was a potent reminder of the sheer creative potency of such a small island. This soundtrack reverberated powerfully as Boyle seemed to proclaim insistently: "We are Shakespeare, we are Brunel, we are Milne, we are The Beatles, we are the Sex Pistols. We are the artists but we are the artisans. We created the Industrial Revolution. We are all-inclusive. We had the suffragettes and we had the Jarrow March. We are Great. We are Britain."
All this was articulated with humour, insight, intelligence and astonishing ambition. It was also regularly mind-blowingly strange.
But Boyle always had a focus on his purpose. There is a discipline to the director. There was undoubted genius in the imagining of this event, but there was sheer, painstaking hard work in the timing and the staging.
And there was emotional manipulation. Boyle is a director who knows how to press buttons. He is a talent who can make a feel-good movie about Indian poverty.
In contrast, making Britain feel good about itself in just more than three hours was a bit of a dawdle. Boyce even managed to conjure up some English drizzle.
If the ceremony was forgivably Anglocentric, there was more than enough to engage rebellious Celts.
Boyle enlisted Emeli Sande, Dame Evelyn Glennie and JK Rowling from Scotland. He showed Tony Stanger's try that won the 1990 grand slam against England. He had weans singing Flower of Scotland from Edinburgh Castle. He even quoted Billy Connolly in his short, punchy speech.
The odd, daft Tory was predictably upset but there may be just some genuine concern for Alex Salmond. The biggest political theme for the Caledonian observer was not the promotion of healthcare for all or inclusion for everyone. It was the idea that Britain is an entity and one that is bigger and better when all its parts are joined together.
This, of course, is not the script for Salmond's blockbuster that is due to premiere in the autumn of 2014. Before that, Glasgow hosts the Commonwealth Games and it will be intriguing to see how political parties use that event to further arguments.
By then, Boyle will almost certainly be Sir Danny, if the bookmakers' odds are to be believed. He can bask in his triumph. However, Scotland and Great Britain still have questions to address that cannot be answered by an opening ceremony, however brilliant and barmy.
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