02 July 2005
'Did That Really Happen ?'
As Big Ben chimed 2pm in London, Live 8 was introduced to the world live from Hyde Park in London.
'It's two o'clock in London and we welcome the world to Live 8,' boomed the voice of TV presenter Jonathan Ross. 'This is Live 8, the greatest rock show in the history of the world.'
And as if to provide evidence for the statement, out onto the stage strolled Paul McCartney and U2. The 200,000 strong crowd exploded into energy as the five musicians burst into a sparkling rendition of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. 'It was twenty years ago today...'
With Bono and Macca trading vocals, no-one would have known that it was the first time McCartney had ever performed the track live. Nor that Bono had expressed such acute nerves beforehand. As Edge put it minutes earlier. 'We don't want to be the band to murder Sgt Pepper!'
No worries there and when the horn section came on dressed as period 1960's Sgt Pepper album cover look-alikes, the circle was complete.
Paul McCartney,' said Bono at the end, as a legend exited stage left. 'U2' responded McCartney. It felt like Bono was pinching himself: 'Did that really happen?'' he asked, faintly bemused.
Then came an uplifting version of Beautiful Day, complete with the release of dozens of white doves - all of them carefully trained to go straight home. A beautiful moment. 'Paul McCartney, what a gift to the world!' said Bono, still evidently coming to terms with his latest vocal partner.
Vertigo took things up another level with Bono inserting a lyrical twist to remind people of the potential of the coming meeting of the G8 leaders in Scotland: 'Your mission is possible!'
'So this is our moment,' mused Bono as Edge began strumming the chords of One. 'This is our time, this is our chance - to stand up for what's right. We're not looking for charity, we're looking for justice. We can't fix every problem but those we can we must.'
He described 3,000 children dying every day of Mosquito bites, 9,000 people dying of HIV/AIDS, people dying because of unclean drinking water.
'We want you to join us, to get on the streets of Edinburgh, to text us or call us.' he said. This is our moment to make poverty history.'
And this time, twenty years after their intended three-song set became a two-song set (when Bono disappeared into the audience) at Live Aid, U2 played a third and final track to close out a great set and a great way to kick off Live8.
'I need your love,' sang Bono, segueing into a snippet of Unchained Melody.
And then they were gone and on a plane to Vienna.