Madonna Performs Before 1.6 Million Fans in Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO — Madonna placed on a free live performance on Copacabana seashore Saturday night time, turning Rio de Janeiro’s huge stretch of sand into an infinite dance ground teeming with a large number of her followers.

It was the final present of The Celebration Tour, her first retrospective, which kicked off in October in London.

The “Queen of Pop” started the present together with her 1998 hit “Nothing Actually Issues.” Big cheers rose from the buzzing, tightly packed crowd, pressed up in opposition to the limitations. Others held home events in brightly lighted residences and inns overlooking the beachfront. Helicopters and drones flew overhead, and motorboats and sailboats anchored off the seashore stuffed the bay.

“Right here we’re in essentially the most lovely place on the planet,” Madonna, 65, informed the group. Mentioning the ocean view, the mountains and the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking the town, she added: “This place is magic.”

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Madonna carried out her traditional hits, together with “Like A Virgin” and “Hung Up.” For the introduction to “Like A Prayer,” her head was fully lined in a black cape, a rosary gripped in her palms.

The star paid an emotional tribute to “all the brilliant lights” misplaced to AIDS as she sang “Reside to Inform,” with black and white images of people that died from the sickness flashing behind her.

Later, she was joined on stage by Brazilian artists Anitta and Pabllo Vittar.

Rio spent the previous few days readying itself for the efficiency.

An estimated 1.6 million folks attended the present, G1 reported, citing Rio Metropolis Corridor’s tourism company. That’s greater than 10 instances Madonna’s file attendance of 130,000 at Paris’ Parc des Sceaux in 1987. Madonna’s official web site hyped the present as the most important ever in her four-decade profession.

In latest days, the thrill was palpable. Followers milled exterior the stately, beachfront Copacabana Palace resort, the place Madonna is staying, hoping to catch a glimpse of the pop star. In the course of the sound verify on the stage arrange in entrance of the resort, they danced on the sand.

By noon Saturday, followers crowded in entrance of the resort. A white-bearded man carried an indication saying, “Welcome Madonna you’re the finest I like you.”

Flags with “Madonna” printed in opposition to a background of Copacabana’s iconic black and white waved sidewalk sample hung from balconies. The world was full of avenue distributors and live performance attendees kitted out in themed T-shirts, sweating below a baking solar.

“Since Madonna arrived right here, I’ve been coming on daily basis with this outfit to welcome my idol, my diva, my pop queen,” stated Rosemary de Oliveira Bohrer, 69, who sported a gold-colored cone bra and a black cap.

“It’s going to be an unforgettable present right here in Copacabana,” stated Oliveira Bohrer, a retired civil servant who lives within the space.

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Eighteen sound towers have been unfold alongside the seashore to make sure that all attendees can hear the hits. Her two-hour present began at 10:37 p.m. native time, practically 50 minutes delayed.

Metropolis Corridor produced a report in April estimating that the live performance would vinject 293 million reals ($57 million) into the native economic system. Lodge capability was anticipated to succeed in 98% in Copacabana, in keeping with Rio’s resort affiliation. Followers hailing from throughout Brazil and even Argentina and France sought out Airbnbs for the weekend, the platform stated in a press release. Rio’s worldwide airport had forecast an additional 170 flights throughout Could 1-6, from 27 locations, Metropolis Corridor stated in a press release.

“It’s a singular alternative to see Madonna, who is aware of if she’ll ever come again,” stated Alessandro Augusto, 53, who flew in from Brazil’s Ceara state—roughly 2,500 kilometers (1,555 miles) from Rio.

“Welcome Queen!” learn Heineken adverts plastered across the metropolis, the lettering above a picture of an upturned bottle cap resembling a crown.

Heineken wasn’t the one firm looking for to revenue from the thrill. Bars and eating places ready “Like a Virgin” cocktails. A store within the downtown neighborhood famed for promoting Carnival apparel fully reinvented itself, stocking its cabinets with Madonna-themed costumes, followers, fanny packs and even underwear.

Group of the mega-event was much like New Yr’s Eve, when thousands and thousands of individuals collect on Copacabana for its fireworks show, native authorities stated. That annual occasion usually produces widespread thefts and muggings, and there was some concern such issues would possibly happen at Madonna’s present.

Rio state’s safety plan included the presence of three,200 army personnel and 1,500 civilian cops on stand by. Within the lead-up to the live performance, Brazil’s navy inspected vessels that wished to place themselves offshore to observe the present.

Numerous large concert events have taken place on Copacabana seashore earlier than, together with a 1994 New Yr’s Eve present by Rod Stewart that drew greater than 4 million followers and was the most important free rock live performance in historical past, in keeping with Guinness World Data. Lots of these spectators additionally got here to see Rio’s fireworks present, although, so a extra becoming comparability is perhaps to the Rolling Stones in 2006, which noticed 1.2 million folks crowd onto the sand, in keeping with Rio’s army police, the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo reported on the time.

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Ana Beatriz Soares, a fan who was at Copacabana on Saturday, stated Madonna has made her mark throughout the a long time.

“Madonna needed to run in order that immediately’s pop artists may stroll. That’s why she’s essential, as a result of she serves as an inspiration for immediately’s pop divas,” Soares stated.

“And that’s 40 years in the past. Not 40 days, 40 months. It’s 40 years,” she stated.

—AP video journalist Douglas Engle contributed to this report.