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Live 8 - The greatest show on Earth delivers the goods

Story: Jack Foley

IT WAS billed as 'the greatest show on Earth' and it duly delivered.

Live 8 saw musicians coming together on an unprecedented scale to perform a series of global concerts that were designed to send a message to world leaders that global poverty will no longer be tolerated.

Based around the appalling statistic that a child in Africa dies every three seconds, the concerts - which took place across the continents - were designed to put pressure on G8 leaders to cancel world debt and to make trade fair.

What effect it has remains to be seen but there is no denying that this historic event - on the 20th anniversary of Live Aid - will have forced world leaders to think very seriously about making poverty history.

The focus will now shift to Edinburgh and the G8 summit in the middle of the week.

The London event was undoubtedly the most significant and saw 200,000 people packed into Hyde Park to see some of the greatest musicals acts appearing on one stage.

Proceedings were opened and closed by Sir Paul McCartney, who was joined on-stage at 2pm for a rousing version of The Beatles' classic, Sgt Peppers' Lonely Hearts Club.

They were followed by the likes of Coldplay, Dido, Madonna, Snoop Dogg, Robbie Williams, The Who and a reformed Pink Floyd - most of whom provided individual moments to savour.

What's more, several acts were introduced by notable stars including Ricky Gervais, who performed an impromptu version of his infamous dance from The Office, and Brad Pitt, who articulately put across the case for ending world poverty.

Sir Bob Geldof, one of the principal organisers of the global event, also appeared at several stages to urge people to do what they could to convince world leaders to take action.

He even got to perform a cheeky version of his classic Boomtown Rats hit, I Don't Like Mondays.

The night over-ran by almost three hours in London, culminating at midnight, when the focus switched to Philadelphia and music on the other side of the Atlantic.

But as the people drifted away from the Hyde Park arena, they were left to reflect on one of the most momentous occasions in history.

It was, indeed, one of the greatest shows on earth and a tribute to the efforts of people like Sir Bob Geldof who had rightly been hailed by Coldplay's Chris Martin as 'a hero of our time'.

POSTED EARLIER: Speaking at the launch of Live 8 several weeks ago, Sir Bob Geldof maintained that the event was 'not for charity but political justice', stressing that

organisers had 'scrambled like crazy' to stage the concerts to highlight the plight of Africa.

"This is to finally, as much as we can, put a stop to that," said the campaigner and musician.

"There is more than a chance that the boys and girls with guitars finally get to tilt the world on its axis," he added.

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