People May 5, 2024 | 3:11 pm

Pop icon Madonna’s free Rio concert breaks attendance record

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.– Pop icon Madonna once again made history by transforming Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro into the world’s largest discotheque with a concert that had over 1.6 million people dancing.

While it was not the most attended concert in history – that honor belongs to Rod Stewart who gathered 3.5 million people on New Year’s Eve 1994 on the same Copacabana beach – it was the largest of Madonna’s career.

For the free concert by the 65-year-old artist, the beach was transformed into a giant dance floor. There was a carnival atmosphere as crowds descended en masse to party to her iconic songs, including Holiday, Like a Virgin, Vogue, Express Yourself, Like a Prayer, Music, and Hung Up.

The audience in Rio was more than ten times her previous attendance record of 130,000 fans at Parc des Sceaux in Paris in 1987.

Not wanting any Brazilian fan to miss out, organizers set up giant screens all along Copacabana. This allowed people on the beach, in nearby apartments and hotels, and even on boats to witness the spectacle.

“Here we are, Rio, the most beautiful place in the world!” greeted the diva – in her fourth concert in Brazil – who brought tears of emotion to the audience, which was expected to reach 1.5 million.

“Holiday” served as a reminder of her beginnings, when she arrived in New York with $35 in her pocket, but “with a dream.”

Blame it on Rio

With dozens of costume changes, spectacular lights, and many giant screens along the beach, Madonna demonstrated her infinite capacity for innovation.

The star wore a tight catsuit combined with reflective sunglasses and matching gloves. In a costume change, she wore a red and black lace robe and, in a tribute to the country passionate about football, she put on a Brazil soccer jersey that unleashed collective madness.

During the show, special guests such as Diplo, Anitta, Pabllo Vittar and Bob the Drag Queen joined her on stage.

The concert had its emotional moments when the star paid a heartfelt tribute to “all the bright lights” lost to AIDS by singing “Live to Tell.” But it also had its usual controversial moments, including grabbing and passionately kissing a dancer.

Unprecedented hotel occupancy

The megaconcert on the beach, whose production involved thousands of people and altered the life of the neighborhood, was an economic gamble by the Rio authorities, who injected $4 million of the $12 million that the production cost.

The City of Rio estimates that the show will bring $60 million to the local economy, with unprecedented hotel occupancy for the time of year and hundreds of restaurants and businesses doing their extra season.

The queen of pop did not disappoint those who waited up to twelve hours to see her and approached the audience several times along the three walkways that came off the giant 812-square-meter stage set up on the sands of Brazil’s most famous beach.

Madonna’s Celebration Tour culminated in a spectacular finale in Rio de Janeiro, concluding a remarkable journey that is poised to surpass $225 million in earnings. The tour commenced its international odyssey in London in October 2023, thrilling audiences across Canada, the United States, and Mexico City.

Madonna reigns supreme as the Guinness World Record holder for best-selling female recording artist, with an astounding 400 million records sold across albums, digital formats, and singles throughout her illustrious 40+-year career. Her reign extends beyond record sales, as she also holds the title of the highest-grossing female touring artist, a figure that is bound to rise even further following the conclusion of her Celebration Tour.

Anitta joins Madonna as star guest for Rio mega-concert.

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