Success on the track in Moscow has been overshadowed by woeful attendances since the event got under way on Saturday.
Swathes of empty seats have welcomed athletes in every session, although Isinbayeva did her bit to excite the home crowd tonight.
World champion in 2005 and 2007, she ended a lean couple of years with a fine victory inside the 80 per cent-full stadium.
Not even Usain Bolt's 100 metres victory could match the fervour of this evening, peaking when Yarisley Silva's third failure at 4.89 metres handed the home favourite gold.
Isinbayeva worked the crowd and even attempted to break her own world record height of 5.06m set four years ago.
Cries of "Yelena, Yelena, Yelena" echoed around the stadium but an anti-climactic first attempt at 5.07m was followed by two further failed attempts - not that the crowd seemed to mind.
On her final major championship before a planned break, she went on a lengthy lap of honour with the Russian flag, punctuated by a couple of back-flips and an embrace with the Moscow 2013 mascot.
Isinbayeva, whose winning clearance was 4.89m, which she made first time, said: "I have plenty of emotions, they will only increase, not disappear.
"I didn't jump the world record - no biggie. The record is a bonus.
"I started jumping and screaming after 4.82m, after 4.89m I let all my emotions come out.
"By 5.07m I was just tired, but technically the attempts were good. I have two more competitions this season so I will try to break the record again.
"Now I'm happy. I'm the pole vault queen, the crown is mine."
Elsewhere, Lashawn Merritt, the American who served a 21-month drug ban after a positive test for a steroid which he put down to taking a "male enhancement product", stormed to the 400m title in a world-leading 43.74 seconds.
No one came close to him, with fellow American Tony McQuay taking silver in 44.40secs and Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic claiming third.
Olympic champion Kirani James was back in seventh.
Ganna Melnichenko delighted the large Ukrainian contingent in the stadium by winning heptathlon gold in a new personal best of 6586 points.
Canada's Brianne Theisen Eaton won silver, just two days after her husband Aston Eaton claimed the decathlon title, with Holland's Dafne Schippers in bronze.
Germany's Robert Harting won his third straight discus title with a throw of 69.11m to see off Poland's Piotr Malachowski, who took silver, and Estonian Gerd Kanter.
Harting, the London 2012 champion, celebrated with his 'Incredible Hulk' impression, ripping his vest to shreds.
In the absence of the injured David Rudisha, Ethiopia's Mohammed Aman won the 800m crown in 1:43.31, with American Nick Symmonds second and Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti third.
Elsewhere, there was a Kenyan one-two in the 3,000m steeplechase, with Milcah Chemos Cheywa taking gold.
Russia's Elena Lashmanova won the 20km walk.