As an event, it was unprecedented. But did the music live up to the occasion?

The NME's Conor McNicholas and Malik Meer give their verdicts on all the performances
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The Independent Culture

Paul McCartney and U2 5/5 (Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band)

It felt a real moment. One of rock's greatest super-groups playing one of rock's greatest anthems. Paul McCartney sounded strong. The voice hadn't lost it.MM

U2 4/5 Beautiful Day; Vertigo; One

"Beautiful Day" has been overdone, but it sounded momentous. They let off doves which was a nice touch.MM

Coldplay 4/5 Fix You; Bittersweet Symphony (with Richard Ashcroft); In My Place

Melancholy songs for a serious issue were rather apt. Then Chris Martin went into a bit of Status Quo. This raucous rock anthem in the middle of a girly, melodic tune was weird. MM

Elton John 5/5 Bitch is Back; Saturday Night's Alright (for Fighting); Children of the Revolution (with Pete Doherty)

Brilliant, but shambolic. Pete was not all there. It was a tragi-comedy rock moment. He wasn't singing clearly, but for spectacle and entertainment, it was brilliant. MM

Dido 1/5 White Flag; Thank You; Seven Seconds (with Youssou N'Dour)

Pairing Dido and Youssou N'Dour showed what a charisma vacuum she is on stage. Against somebody with such talent as N'Dour, she just looked uncomfortable. CMcN

Stereophonics 2/5 Bartender and the Thief; Dakota; Maybe Tomorrow; Local Boy in the Photograph

You could almost hear the international question mark about who these guys were. This was the stodgy middle bit where everybody goes to the bar or the toilet. CMcN

REM 4/5 Imitation of Life; Everybody Hurts; Man on the Moon

This felt a proper, international rock band. Michael Stipe had this fantastic combination of weirdness and vulnerability with a fantastic sense of occasion.CMcN

Ms Dynamite 3/5 Dy-Na-Mi-Tee; Redemption Song

It was sad the crowd started disappearing. She sang a moving rendition of "Redemption Song". By the end, people were singing along. MM

Keane 1/5 Somewhere Only We Know; Bedshaped

Keane have sold a lot of albums, but they have never been able to turn that into live performance. Tom Chaplin looked utterly out of his depth. CMcN

Travis 3/5 Sing; Stayin' Alive; Why Does It Always Rain on Me?

Travis have lost a lot of profile, because their last album failed to resonate with anybody. Coming after Keane was an masterstroke. CMcN

Bob Geldof 2/5 I Don't Like Mondays

The rules are that you can't say anything bad about Bob any more. It was cheeky, but nobody minded, because he's saving the world.Musically, it didn't rate highly.CMcN

Annie Lennox 5/5 Why; Little Bird; Sweet Dreams

Her profile has been so low, but she hit everyone between the eyes with one of the performances of the day. It reminded everyone what a fantastic talent she has.CMcN

UB40 2/5 Medley of Food for Thought/Who You Fighting For/Reasons/Red Red Wine; Can't Help Falling in Love

There isn't a lot to hate about UB40. If they hadn't been on the bill, nobody would have noticed. It was happy stuff, but you might as well have had a stereo at the bottom of the field playing it. CMcN

Snoop Dogg 5/5 Medley of Ups and Downs/Still A G Thang/Drop It/Signs/ What's My Name

Snoop Dogg was brilliant. He did an old track as well as his newer stuff. It was full of expletives, but no one seemed to flinch. MM

Razorlight 4/5 Somewhere Else; Golden Touch; Vice

Razorlight, like REM, felt like they were really bringing the rock'n'roll back. Johnny Borrell was overawed but got himself together. They don't have the tunes to live up to their self-confidence yet. It was brilliant in the same way that U2 were a cracking band in the middle of Live Aid. CMcN

Madonna 3/5 Like a Prayer; Ray of Light; Music

Madonna has enormous charisma, but it's a bit like seeing your auntie getting up and doing rock'n'roll. It felt like it was Madonna's gig and we weren't invited. CMcN

Snow Patrol 2/5 Chocolate; Run

I thought they bottled it. They have always been a little bit creaky live. They are not able to deliver the polish of their last album, Final Straw. I didn't feel there was magic on stage. CMcN

The Killers 5/5 All These Things That I've Done

They were one of the bands of the day. It was a brilliant performance with a very big song, from a band at the top of their game. CMcN

Joss Stone 4/5 Super Duper Love; I Had a Dream; Some Kind of Wonderful

Joss Stone has turned into a damn good performer. She had some very good tunes. It was a happy, sing-along moment. CMcN

Scissor Sisters 3/5 Laura; Take Your Mama Out; Everybody Wants the Same Thing

Anybody who goes out there and sings an entirely new song has to have balls the size of barrels. They almost pulled it off, but not quite. CMcN

Velvet Revolver 4/5 Do It For the Kids; Fall to Pieces; Slither

To begin with it looked a bit baffling, but they pulled it out of the bag towards the end. When they were delivering the last song, they had the whole audience in the palm of their hand. This was the full-on heavy metal of Live Aid. CMcN

Sting 5/5 Message in a Bottle; Driven to Tears; Every Breath You Take

He delivered the most politically charged performance of the day. I think he would have got a huge amount of respect from people who weren't Sting fans for the intelligence of his political message and the way it was delivered. CMcN

Mariah Carey 3/5 Make it Happen; Hero; We Belong Together

It was as an alien from another planet had dropped on stage. People sat there with mouths agape.CMcN

Robbie Williams 5/5 We Will Rock You; Let Me Entertain You; Feel; Angels

The modern Robbie Williams was built for these events. The man did three nights at Knebworth and pulled it off. This, if anything, was bigger. He's a consummate showman.CMcN

The Who 5/5 Who Are You; Won't Get Fooled Again

Absolutely stunning rock. They were far and away biggest and best. Pete Townshend stole the show with some of the best guitar-playing we've seen. CMcN

Pink Floyd 2/5 Breathe; Money; Wish You Were Here; Comfortably Numb

The reforming of Pink Floyd didn't seem the kind of thing to end the event on. It made the bill upside down. CMcN

Paul McCartney 5/5 Get Back; Drive My Car (with George Michael); Helter Skelter; Long and Winding Road; Hey Jude (with other artists)

"Get Back" was great. "Helter Skelter" and "Long and Winding Road" were great, and with "Hey Jude", you can't really fail. MM

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