LONDON (Reuters) - Out in force and in full voice, a capacity crowd got the track and field events at London's Olympic stadium off to a deafening start on Friday.
The props and actors had been replaced by track and lush grass, but the British feel of the opening ceremony persisted with a sea of Union Jacks and remote control minis inside the stadium.
In mostly sunny weather, 80,000 fans turned up the volume the moment the men's shot putters stepped out in the day's opening event, and the noise became positively deafening when a cast of British medal hopes made their much anticipated appearances.
"It was amazing to think I got a cheer from just walking in. I've never had that before," Britain's world 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene said after coasting through his heat.
The crowd - much bigger than most attendances for opening heats - was driven on by the banging beats of music from The Smiths to Queen, and provided plenty of general support and applause for personal bests and national records.
Such is the appetite for the Games that around 2.5 million people are still fighting to get their hands on tickets every day. Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince William's wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, were among those who attended on Friday.
Defending Olympic 400m hurdles champion Angelo Taylor said the huge audience was just what he needed.
"The stadium is very nice. Coming through the tunnel I was a tad bit lethargic, but as soon as I came out and saw the crowd and saw the stands were packed, I immediately got goose bumps and it woke me up," the American said.
His compatriot DeeDee Trotter added: "It's crazy. I've been to three Olympics and I've never seen anything like that, it's fantastic."
Star treatment was naturally dished out to every Briton on show, including Greene, defending 400m Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu and 2009 world and 2011 European champion Jessica Ennis, who set a new 100m hurdles record in the women's heptathlon to get things rocking.
British heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson could hardly keep her game face as the crowd greeted her name with a giant roar, letting out a big, smiley wow on the big screen.
Not even a customary British downpour could dampen the buzz.
"It's my fifth Olympic Games. I've never experienced a crowd like this. I don't mean they've been empty before, but not like this," Britain's Yamile Aldama said after booking a place in the triple jump final.
(Additional reporting by Gene Cherry; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)