Madonna Draws 1.6 Million to Free Concert on Brazil's Copacabana Beach

05:20 May 6, 2024

Madonna Draws 1.6 Million to Free Concert on Brazil's Copacabana Beach

American pop music star Madonna performed before an estimated 1.6 million people on Saturday at Brazil’s famous Copacabana Beach.

The outdoor show in Rio de Janeiro was free to attend.

The fans turned a long stretch of the coast into a huge dance floor for the last show of Madonna’s Celebration Tour. The series began last October in London.

The so-called “Queen of Pop” began Saturday’s show with her 1998 song Nothing Really Matters. Huge cheers rose from the crowd pressed up against the barriers. Other attendees held parties in houses and hotels overlooking the beach. Helicopters and drones flew overhead, and boats floated on the water nearby.

“Here we are in the most beautiful place in the world,” the 65-year-old Madonna told the crowd. Pointing out the ocean, the mountains and the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking the city, she added: “This place is magic.”

Madonna performed her popular songs, including Like A Virgin and Hung Up. For the introduction to another, Like A Prayer, Madonna covered her head in black cloth and held a rosary.

The star honored those who died of AIDS with the song Live to Tell. Large black and white images of the disease’s victims appeared behind her as she sang. Later, she was joined on stage by Brazilian artists Anitta and Pabllo Vittar.

Rio city officials estimated that 1.6 million people attended the show. Madonna’s official website called the show the biggest ever in her 40-year career.

“Since Madonna arrived here, I’ve been coming every day with this outfit to welcome my idol, my diva, my pop queen,” said 69-year-old retiree Rosemary de Oliveira Bohrer. She wore a gold-colored top and a black cap in a style that Madonna made popular.

Eighteen sound towers were spread along the beach to ensure that all attendees could hear the performance.

Fan Alessandro Augusto flew about 2,500 kilometers, from Brazil’s Ceara state to Rio, to attend the show. Augusto said, “It’s a unique opportunity to see Madonna, who knows if she’ll ever come back.”

“Welcome Queen!” a drink company announced with advertising around the city. Bars and restaurants prepared special alcoholic drinks named after Madonna songs. A shop known for selling Carnival clothing temporarily became a “Madonna” clothing store.

Several huge concerts have taken place on Copacabana beach before, including musician Rod Stewart’s 1994 show. It took place on New Year’s Eve as part of the city’s holiday celebration. About 4 million people attended. However, not all necessarily took in the music show.

And, in 2006, a Rolling Stones concert drew 1.2 million people onto the famed beach, the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo reported at the time.

Madonna fan Ana Beatriz Soares attended the show Saturday. She said Madonna has made her mark across the years.

“Madonna had to run so that today’s pop artists could walk. That’s why she’s important, because she serves as an inspiration for today’s pop divas,” she said. “And that’s 40 years ago. Not 40 days, 40 months. It’s 40 years,” she added.

I’m Caty Weaver.

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