If ever a pop concert was going to be judged in terms of another, it was The Final Push at Murrayfield last night. Coming four days after London's Hyde Park triumph, and on a dreary work night the bill denuded of the rock 'n' roll behemoths like McCartney, Elton John and Pink Floyd, the signs were less than good.
But were the 50,000 who turned out on this dank and, at times, rain-swept evening in Edinburgh bothered? Not a bit.
As the first notes were struck out by local lads and ardent Hibs fans The Proclaimers - looking older but less nerdy than they did two decades ago - the crowd erupted into a seething mass of bouncy, joyful, flag waving self-confidence.
Sure, there was no Macca and Bono to open with "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". We had to do with the diminutive Jamie Cullen and Natasha Bedingfield who reworked "All You Need is Love" to the crowd's satisfaction. But then we did have Wet Wet Wet. Their "With a Little Help From My Friends" owed more to Joe Cocker than the Fab Four but it hit the mark and, for their own reasons, all 50,000 had a special moment to the saccharine "Love is All Around". They even lapped up the tartan segue into "Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond". It was that kind of night. Forget Hyde Park - definitely forget that London had got the Olympics. This was Scotland's night and they were going to love every moment of it.
They had big beasts of their own. At a sprightly 72, James Brown was there to top the bill. And there was plenty of glamour. Claudia Schiffer preached the anti-poverty message and George Clooney got an even bigger cheer than the president of the world, Nelson Mandela, who appeared, to the disappointment of the crowd, in a now quite dated pre-recorded message.
Bono came fresh from the delegation to Gleneagles. He marched on stage with a silver box containing the 38 million names who had signed up to the Live8 cause. "This is your permission to spend your money on ending extreme poverty,'' he said.
Bob Geldof took to the stage where he was greeted by a reception for which the word rapturous is woefully inadequate. He wants to be remembered as a musician and it was not just out of duty that they cheered "The Great Song of Indifference".
Hyde Park heroine Annie Lennox was again on form, swathed in a tartan scarf she sat at the piano for a moving rendition of "Redemption Song". The question hung in the air - what could Bob Marley have done for a cause like this had he lived?
One Giant Leap performed with the superb Maxi Jazz and the wonderful Neneh Cherry, marred only by the over-excited Will Young. Cherry regained her rightful position so wrongly usurped by Dido to perform with Youssou N'Dour for their spine tingling "Seven Seconds".
The evening galloped to a conclusion with brilliant performances from Feeder, The Thrills and Texas, Snow Patrol, Travis and the Corrs. And as they dispersed into the night there can have been few left in any doubt that this was a special night, not just for Scotland, but for music.Reuse content