Live: Blur, BT London Live Hyde Park - Closing Ceremony Celebration Concert.

Where to start with the London Olympics? Well chronologically and indeed – as it full well transpired – logically Danny Boyle's stirring patriotisms and Rick Smith's immaculate soundtracking provided as good a place as any. The past sixteen days have proudly proven a subsequent celebration of all things British, from investing exorbitant emotions in in many cases unknown and for the most part unknowable athletes (football fanaticism transposed into a rather more humble arena, you may say in light of the impending 2012/13 kickoff) to slobbing off excessively in front of the gluebox. Departing into rabid flag-waving jingoism for a moment, the Games explicated, and with it highly successfully elucidated just how special these Isles of Wonder really are although arguably that was done most successfully via the medium of music. Parks and Parades transmogrified in arenas which in turn became oversized boomboxes of sonorous R'n'B blare, our cultural output aural has subjectively, from the puddle of Olympic-less befuddlement from which I lament, been the true triumph of London 2012. Fitting, therefore, that Blur be about to haul down the proverbial draperies.

For Britain has been truly unified over these past two weeks and appositely where Britpop once violently divided morality, mentality and general opinion (even the north and south of England with regard to the Albarn vs. Gallagher standoffs, spats and scandalous personal diatribes) it tonight unites. And does so quite magically: Union Jack eyelashes flutter like flags down in Eton Dorney in the bleary direction of cock-eyed Cockneys spray-painted Fred Perry as international media nodes scuttle under and among the endless aloft arms hoisted high in commemoration and inspired by cider. It's every move a picture material, and it instils a sense of belonging to these sometimes disparate isles for one final time.

The Specials signal Coventry's second meaningful involvement with the Games, the Ricoh Arena having hosted several matches of the mercifully rather marginalised football discipline. They're champs in their own right, are the ska stalwarts and demonstrate just that as they run through the likes of a highly ironic Rat Race (what with London being the rats' primetime cage 'n all. They'll be back to the mundanities of reality this time tomorrow) and an elate take on Dandy Livingstone's A Message To You, Rudy which goes out to the volunteers and last-ditch security personel to have facilitated the so-called greatest show on earth. Stereotypes abound as those enwrapped in 2 Tone garb and topped off with trilbies skank athletically on the paths of the Park. Similarly, plenty in Team GB paraphernalia look, seem and sound as though they've drunk not merely their age, but their age multiplied by their weight in pints of late. Thus whilst these booze paeans may appear the utter antithesis of athleticism in general, it's an empowering paradox that's almost Boylian (sure to become adjectival soon enough, right?) in effect.

Somewhat more Bloc.ish are the queues and crushes to inundate and overwhelm the place between acts. Elsewhere, however, for every astonishing medal haul there's a Golden Circle; the most enviable of all flaxen annuli. Natty split screens – a surefire benefit of having BT aboard – broadcast exuberance as the elite mosh like a mangled ruffle of post-10,000m hair as we observe, admire and envy as we did the indisputable achievements of Mo Farah just 24 hours previous. We are, purportedly therefore, the 24 Hour Party People and for a Sunday we're certainly behaving that way as crates and trays of plasticised wine are strewn abundantly across the wood chipping underfoot. Every lumbering stumble increasingly hellacious, it'd appear as though we're to end where this whole thing began: Pandemonium. There's then a moment or two's transmission of the genuine Closing Ceremony over in Stratford although midway through Madness' lacklustre maiming of Our House four letters overhaul our every vision: 'Blur'. It's a transition approximately as smooth as a GB relay handover, a monumental synthetic WestWay gradually unveiled. With only its end peeping around a corner and predominantly concealed from sight it looked as though it may well be a replica Pantheon or something similarly Olympian, but this is disproportionately enormous and inexpressibly preferable.

Essentially, it's a marvel just to garner another opportunity to catch Blur. It's about the most crucial eventuality of these Olympics from my perspective, and if rumours are to be believed then these sparse showings and sporadic money-spinners (although apparently their fee was a paltry £300 for this one) may be extinguished swifter than you can slur "Closing Ceremony". If the four-piece professed to having No Distance Left To Run last time out then they've evidently unearthed some extra mileage from the tank for one last spin, and all and sundry know all too well that it's a tank that's been unapologetically corroded by substances sure to secure a failed dope test over the years. Albarn, however, will always remain active one senses: a cultural omnipresent, as queues wiggle and wind throughout an entire nearby Sainsbury's the standout vodka is plastered with Hewlett's idiosyncratic comic strippery. Despite being staunchly against the commercialism and "capitalism of it all", he's history with the Games too having penned jingles for the Beeb's Beijing coverage although tonight, needless to say, concerns neither his outré neo-opera pl. nor his fictitious pop portrayals.

Prior to the show he stated his motives were rooted in furnishing the country's "human beings" with a grand finale of an alt. variety; one last hurrah energised with a collective frisson. Yet as with everything he does, Albarn is inextricable from limelight and Coxon, James and Rowntree are never even so much as introduced. Granted, we know full well who they are, what exceptionally odd vanity projects they've assumed over the years post-final fish in the Think Tank and so on and so forth, but Albarn's megalomania sprints to the fore for the umpteenth time and he couldn't give a Two Hoots Barkham. Thankfully I adore him; he can do no wrong in my misted peepers. Others, however, don't take to him so helplessly and this becomes vocally apparent. An apathetic minority appear not to even so much as know of him, or at least not to know an elaborately boorish Phil Daniels-featuring Parklife.

It's a lucid instance of déjà vu, this one as their Hyde Park showing of three years ago hinged almost shamefully on its barre chord riffage and underwhelming oomph. The moronity of this Hydian ode is exacerbated by Harry Enfield enacting the British institution that is the tea lady in what is yet another vigorous nod to Britishness, as of course is Country House. A brassy beauty it be, even seventeen years on to the week and unmasks our penchant for bucolic piles, them rat races aforesaid and intoxicant-induced ineptitudes, piles again most probably inclusive. Seventeen years though! That's older than most gymnasts! And as Albarn as per interchanges the age of thirty for fifty on a superlative End of a Century, the inescapability of ageing becomes apparent. If Michael Phelps may retire at twenty-seven then surely Blur can hang up their Fenders with heads held high, although this 'Celebration Concert' isn't without its very own hangups as Blur suffer something of a false start: the Boys & Girls lyric of there being no work available reasserts some perspective – something lacking of late perhaps – and stands as a timely reminder of the job crisis with Monday morning lurking just beyond sunrise, only for London Loves to mistranslate as lumpen dud. "We love London", Albarn vividly smirks as he and they sow another Parklife seed. A dishevelled Tracy Jacks, too, illustrates the band playing to anything but their strengths and, what's more, their sound is but a muffled hum of unintelligibility much like it was when Madonna emphatically clanged the death knell for her own career just last month. This may well be the end as we know it for Blur, but they're pulling the punches and Beetlebum is as brutal a humdinger as ever.

Aptly aired at these alternative celebrations of sorts, lyrically it exposes (if somewhat surreptitiously) the dark underside to British culture. Whether it be deemed counterculture, or under-the-counter culture – that which takes place almost exclusively upon the leathered backseats of BMWs sporting north London number plates, drugs formulate a quite fundamental component of the capital's identity. That their abuse tie in thematically with the Games is but a fascinating coincidence.

The band's verbose attentions are then injected into a more national conscience, as Coxon introduces a subduedly rousing and only momentarily raucous Coffee & TV. His convex lenses steamed, the phrasing: "Your ears are full but you're empty" seems to serve as a rather condemnatory indictment of much contemporary music and let's face it, to have Emeli Sandé open and close the main event ain't exactly the best advert for the most steady of British outpours. There's a lethargy and gentle disaffection to Coxon's voice as it channels the apathy of the Emirates midday Saturday as arguably the unsung hero of the troupe leads us in mutedly splendiferous singsong. Like a sibling irate with indignation, Albarn expeditiously turns perennial party pooper to veil all in yet more worrying realism: introducing Arabic oud lutist Khyam Allami ahead of an exotic to the point of quixotic Out Of Time (Gorillaz ethnics be entwined with its genetics more so than ever before) the night is explicitly politicised as Albarn seethes of Syria's Olympic trauma. Dedicated to those "athletes that were not able to compete because of the current political situation in their country", it's a profound portrayal of how Albarn retained relevance and inspired interest post-Britpop. And again lyrically, as Albarn bewails the bustle many a London life adheres to, pertinence is here established for within the context of the Olympics we've all found the time "to watch the world spinning/ Gently out of time." With this, the underlying theme of temporal precariousness continues to perpetuate the evening.

Time stops for no man though and as the setlist swiftly disintegrates with its passing, they come to dash through Young & Lovely. Dedicated to their modest array of offspring, it's one that "didn't make sense when we first recorded it, but it does now" as it crawls with an harmonious Beatles intimation and references to those Selfridges mannequins just metres up Oxford Street. If this sort of statement – one safe in the comfort of its own familial insouciance clashes heavily with Albarn's largely anti-capitalist stance, then Trimm Trabb cuts a little closer to the bone: taking to his trusty megaphone to create that aqueous effect favoured throughout Plastic Beach as though the great inscrutable oracle of Speakers' Corner, he spits of "all those losers on the piss again" before dropping down to mingle with the privileged few hemmed into the Golden Circle. It's difficult not to feel as though we represent those soi-disant losers of which he speaks, stood nursing an extortionate Echo Falls and this classism (or elitism at least) sits somewhat awkwardly. He's barely visible by the time he's hoisted up one of infinite Union Jacks, reinforcing his sentiment sung of "I've got no style." This may be true objectively although both stylistically and sonically Albarn has become entirely inimitable. Sunday Sunday even assumes the ska-limped stomp of Suggs & Co.'s Blue Day in an understated, if at all intentional allusion to his obsession with Chelsea F.C.

The brutish laddy nonsenses of Advert and Popscene – after which Albarn again reverts to man-cum-plumber of the people mode to unclog some squash or other in that darn circle – follow as Albarn lauds these "extraordinary two weeks", avowing to have installed himself on the sofa to revel in the majesty of it all and you sense that gold tooth of his has genuinely been glinting exclusively BBC quasi-religiously. "No adverts!" he exclaims, animated, beneath marathon stretches of British Telecom billboard. Then, dedicated to the "incredible, inspiring human being" that is Farah, Song 2 sounds reliably momentous; as humongous as Hyde Park itself. Last time out it was elongated rather enervatingly with inessential drum intros and fills although tonight, despite it belonging to a time when Albarn "was young"; when "it wasn't easy/ But nothing is" it oozes vitality. Thus just as you sense he may struggle to hotfoot it away from the Hammersmith and Fulham feds these days, he bounds and bounces about the place with a vim unprecedented for a forty-something. At any rate, pure athleticism hasn't felt the sole point to these Games as, for once, music feels to have been positively essential and Song 2 is, as always, positively essential to this historic Blur blowout.

Prerequisite respite then ensues, as heads wearied by the weekend roll and loll to a wholly germane No Distance Left To Run. "It's over/ You don't need to tell me" Albarn croaks and if dragged out of original context here, these few simplicities speak more than countless press conferences ever could. It's he at his most heartfelt; his best and it's not far shy of theirs. Keeping things 13, the Kumbaya-styled cries of Tender restore some of that Rick Smith-fashioned British pride mentioned all those many paragraphs previous despite its Negro spiritual architecture, and predictably it's this which is later sung en masse to the tube by newfound friends and re-evaluated foes.

It's This Is A Low, though, which not only blows the bombast to have preceded it out the water but glistens with yet more relevance: if the Queen may not have "jumped off Land's End" in her progressive swerving "round the bend" then her playful Bondian cameo demonstrated humanity and goodwill, if only an iota of madness. An unorthodox eccentricity but that's what this country may now be known for as it genuinely feels as though we may well have forged a rather more recognisable, and with it concrete identity with these Games. Reflected in tube screens and LCDs worldwide it now appears easier to acknowledge who we are collectively and that's an unspeakably positive aspect to be derived from our entertaining of the event. Yet it's another line which particularly emphasises this maybe being the definitive fullstop to follow those iconic four letters: "Into the sea/ Goes pretty In-ger-lund and me." How will we cope without the Olympics occupying our every afternoon? And to what will we perspire and pogo in this green and pleasant Park for years to come? Questions awaiting answers.

However if this truly is their swan song then ever unheralded Leisure treasure Sing is it condensed down into some solitary minutes: spasmodically drifting into Coldplay soundalike with Albarn imitating a certain close descendent of Ian Dury, it's startlingly beautiful. Planes fly placidly overhead; the Brutalist architecture of Park Lane looms ominously above lanes of oak; Albarn's dulcet harmonies drift off into an Impressionistic sky. This is London, as are Blur. As are we. And although it feels as though we ought now retreat to canvased shelter; to sweetened sleep with this ever sweeter song still lulling for now we've the rest of what may well transpire to be their most memorable of encores. "There were blue skies in my city today", creaks Albarn's brogue upon Under The Westway and indeed there were. But brightness remains even in this all-pervasive darkness: written in February whilst he and Coxon were attempting to envisage what tonight may have been like (and doubtless it's a greater success than it may have been even in their wildest teen dreams), "It's your song" he proffers with an exceptional humility. Were the sentiment not there it'd be a pretty frivolous piece of witless folly but it's plaintively and most patently sincere. The song itself tonight sounds unspeakably akin to Let It Be, but nonetheless pulverises Muse's official offering in impression as it showcases his The Good, The Bad & The Queen cirque heritage, a madcap interlude encapsulating the unstable schizophrenics of a frenetic past (most notably within Modern Life Is Rubbish and Parklife) and his proclivity for melodrama as he croons of switching off "the machines." Christ.

He sings of "adverts inside my dreams" whilst swigging from a Union Jack-emblazoned Coke can; bemoans there being "satellites in every home" on The Universal despite there being colossal advertising for BT fibre optics at the back of the arena, the track which somewhat contradictorily has been soundtracking British Gas infomercials for what now feels aeons. These moral inconsistencies and an erratic sound system with as many ups and downs as the Peak District and London's very own BMX course combined however do nothing to detract from what feels veritably epoch-making. Doe-eyed, speechless and with one arm raised in appreciation and with it an intense commemoration of the Games, you begin to sense that the conclusion of Blur could be a real plausibility. This really, really could happen, and their past may well have just been flogged off as an elaborate 21-disc boxset in order to facilitate their four individual futures. But if so, so be it. For Albarn may be multi-faceted and with it a man of many faces: some virtual; others virtually insufferable. But as the tears continue to well up in already weepy eyes, you sense he may well mean this as the screens slam shut for one final time, an enormous 'Bl' gravitating toward the 'ur'. It's curtains for London 2012, and may well be just so so too for Blur. Brian May appears onscreen although his fusty noodling is drowned out by the revitalised booms of "Oh my baby" over, and over, and over again. One fears for worse times to come, and this is well and truly it for our summer both musically and meteorologically (not that we ever had one in that respect). Our main event is but over, and it never got anywhere near E20 where Beady Eye really bulldozed Wonderwall. And with that, this may be the last time such a debate be resuscitated but the winners of this particular heavyweight bout were decorated long ago.

Tonight, conversely, was all about celebrating this unfathomably incredible city, and with it arguably the best band it ever did spawn. As with Boyle's Isles of Wonder, it was always intended as a festival to salute British culture; not necessarily the Olympics. Yet in every respect we've surpassed even the most farfetched of preconceptions, with all the paranoia of the buildup and the presupposed Pandemonium eschewed in favour of reinvigorating celebration which is precisely what Blur provided as they potentially bowed out.

Irrespective, the best things come to those who wait and for Coe & co. London 2012 was indisputably victorious although to run with further hackneyed platitude, all good things must come to an end. And you can deduce from that what you will. Goodnight, London.