The double Olympic champion, competing in a British vest for the first time since his London 2012 heroics, just about jogged the first 4,600m before suddenly taking off.
He ran the last lap in 50.89 seconds to crown a day on which Great Britain claimed five wins to sit third out of 12 in the standings.
There were victories too for Jessica Judd in the 800m, Perri Shakes-Drayton in the 400m, Eilidh Child in the 400m hurdles and the men's 4x100m team as the hosts recovered from a slow start.
All five took the maximum 12 points to leave the team on 181 after 21 of 40 events, with Russia on 194 and Germany leading on 195.
None were quite as eye-catching as the undoubted star of the show, though.
Roared on by another noisy home crowd, albeit of around 10,000 at Gateshead International Stadium rather than the 80,000 at the Olympic Stadium, Farah went straight from second gear to fifth to claim victory in 14 mins 10.0secs. An inferior field simply had no answer.
That his last lap in the London 2012 5,000m final was 52.9s was an indication of just how impressive this final 400m was, although it is important to note the overall pace of Saturday's race was pedestrian by comparison. Farah's clocking was almost half a minute slower than last summer's gold medal-winning time.
The 30-year-old said: "I had a text from (coach) Alberto (Salazar) this morning (Saturday) to just wait as late as possible.
"I wasn't allowed to do anything, wasn't even allowed to go to the front, but I was tripping over as the race was so slow, so I went to the front, ran as easily as possible and went from the bell.
"I went hard. He (Salazar) said just go, don't build up."
It meant Farah got back to winning ways after he could only finish second behind Kenya's Edwin Soi when he was troubled by a stomach virus at his last race in Eugene at the start of the month.
The Arsenal fan appeared, though, more excited by his task on Sunday of captaining an Arsenal Legends team in a charity match against a World Refugee XI at Barnet's Underhill Stadium.
Farah's victory in the third last track event of the day was the first by a British man after the women had got the team firmly back on track.
Team captain Shakes-Drayton ran a European leading 50.50 to further add to her dilemma over whether to stick with the hurdles or concentrate on the flat for the World Championships.
Instead it was Eilidh Child who earned an equally dominant victory over the barriers as she smashed her own Scottish record with 54.42, winning by well over half a second.
The men's sprint relay quartet of Adam Gemili, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, James Ellington and James Dasaolu got the baton round safely to win in 38.39.
It was an 18-year-old from Canvey Island who sparked the recovery, though.
Judd had to miss her school leavers' ball to run here and the sacrifice paid off in style as she looked hugely impressive in winning the 800m.
Backed by a vocal home support down the home straight she held off the challenge of Russia's Ekaterina Sharmina to win in 2:00.82.
Judd, the world junior bronze medallist, said: "All my friends were giving me grief for not going to (the ball). I was like, 'Well watch me on the TV' and they did, so I'm just happy I won now.
"I just came and tried my best and I won, I can't believe it.
"I was hanging on, I could hear the crowd screaming, they were cheering me the whole way, but this was a different kind of scream, this was a panic scream. I was dipping (for the line) about 50 metres out, but I did it. I am just so happy."
It had looked like Britain's bid was going to be blown off course, though, during a windy start to the afternoon when world champion Dai Greene's expected victory in the 400m hurdles failed to materialise.
The Welshman, who had to settle for second behind German Silvio Schirrmeister in 49.39, said: "I made too many mistakes technically and I'm not fit enough to get away with the mistakes I made."
There was even worse news for Holly Bleasdale in the pole vault as she failed to record a height, failing her three attempts at 4.25m and revealing afterwards she was struggling with an Achilles and a back problem.
Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford had to settle for third place with 8.02m.
Elsewhere, there were second-place finishes for Nigel Levine in the 400m, Charlie Grice in the 1500m and Laura Weightman in the 3,000m.