LONDON -- With a little British pomp and a lot of British pop, London brought the curtain down on a glorious Olympic Games on Sunday in a spectacular, technicolor pageant of landmarks, lightshows and lots of fun.
The closing ceremony offered a sensory blast of rock 'n' roll rickshaws, dustbin percussionists, an exploding yellow car and a marching band in red tunics and bearskin hats.
The Spice Girls staged a show-stopping reunion, and Monty Python's Eric Idle sauntered through "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" -- accompanied by Roman centurions, Scottish bagpipers and a human cannonball.
It all made for a psychedelic mashup that had 80,000 fans at Olympic Stadium stomping, cheering and singing along. Organizers estimated 300 million or more were watching around the world.
What a way to end a games far more successful than many Londoners expected. Security woes were overcome, and traffic nightmares never materialized. The weather held up, more or less, and British athletes overachieved.
It all came with a price tag of $14 billion -- three times the original estimate. But nobody wanted to spoil the fun with such mundane concerns, at least not on this night.
"Through your commitment to fair play, your respect for opponents, and your grace in defeat as well as in victory, you have earned the right to be called Olympians," he said, adding: "These were happy and glorious games."
But the night was about splash more than speeches. Festive and fast-moving, the ceremony opened with bands Madness, Pet Shop Boys and One Direction, a shout-out to Winston Churchill and a tribute to the Union Jack -- the British flag.
The night ended with the extinguishing of the multi-petaled Olympic cauldron and a supercharged rendition of "My Generation" and other classics by The Who that had the crowd dancing in the aisles.