The London event – one of eight happening across the globe, in seven different continents - started with Genesis. Their four-song set, including spirited versions of ‘Invisible Touch’ and ‘Land of Confusion', made sound etymological sense, but the overall effect was cripplingly middle-aged. Did anyone really think that noodley old dad-rock would be enough to save the planet? It took a youthful jolt of energy from Johnny Borrell and Razorlight to bring the event to life: the London band's renditions of 'In The Morning', 'America' and 'Los Angeles Waltz' were as bright and efficient an energy-saving light bulb.
Then - after a barnstorming set from Kasabian, an energetic performance from the Black Eyed Peas and a snoozesome bit of ivory-tinkling from John Legend – Geri Halliwell toddled onstage. Sadly, Ginger Spice wasn’t joined by her four girlie mates, a turn of events that cruelly robbed the gig's middle-stretch of anything resembling the wow factor. Instead, she introduced Duran Duran, who looked rather pleased with themselves for being blessed with the foresight, back in 1980, to write a song called ‘Planet Earth’. Sensibly, they stuck to the hits – ‘Ordinary World’, ‘Notorious’, ‘Girls on Film’ and, of course, that peculiarly prescient slice of new wave – but the effect was somewhat dimmed by the fact we’d seen them do a similar set at the Diana concert six days previously. Still, Nick Rhodes’ hair looked nice.
By now, the end was in sight. The Pussycat Dolls brought a bit of glamour to proceedings, but their set posed as many questions as it answered. Do any of the seven dolls – aside from the ravishing Nicole Scherzinger – actually sing? Which one of them has got the the fittest body? Don't cha feel glad that your girlfriend isn’t the Doll who looks a bit like a man?
And then came the moment that exposed Live Earth’s inconvenient truth: the line-up just wasn’t good enough. Who had Al Gore flown in – not by private jet of course, that would be bad for a rock star’s carbon footprint – to see us through before Madonna came on? Who had the star quality, the multi-generational appeal and the all-consuming enormohits to take such an important spot on the bill? The Stones? Elton? Robbie? Nah, we were fobbed off with the Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl hollered ‘til he was blue in the face for almost half an hour, but it wasn't enough. On these occasions, whether you like ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’ or ‘Angels’ is almost irrelevant; the important thing is that you know, and can chant along to, all the words. Almost nobody at Wembley seemed to know more than a few snatched lyrics of ‘All My Life’ or ‘Best Of You', which is why the Foo Fighters should have come on at 1.45, not 9.45.