Two decades after Bob Geldof’s Live Aid set the charity gig bandwagon rolling, Sir Paul McCartney and U2’s Bono belted out Sergeant Pepper to some 200,000 people in Hyde Park for Live 8.
The biggest music event ever staged aims to pressure world leaders meeting at the G8 summit next week to do more to end extreme poverty.
Ten shows across four continents are taking place. In Rome, thousands watched some other Live Aid surviors Duran Duran at the Circus Maximus.
And in Berlin, a crowd of some 100,000 people gathered near the Brandenburg Gate.
One music fan said he had come because of the political background, to protest against the G8 summit and to demonstrate against further political exploitation of Africa.
The Japanese gig opened the shows, with Icelandic star Bjork helping fill the venue at short notice.