why this show is an event

Between 1.5 and 2 million people are expected at Madonna’s free concert on Copacabana beach in Rio this Saturday, May 4.

She has filled concert halls around the world and sung in front of 130,000 people in the Parc de Sceaux in Paris in 1987. But Madonna is delivering the biggest concert of her career this Saturday in Rio. The singer performs on the legendary Copacabana beach in front of 1.5 to 2 million spectators.

Few artists before Madonna have gathered huge crowds on Copacabana Beach. There were 3.5 million to applaud Rod Stewart in 1994, 1.5 million for the Rolling Stones in 2006, and 500,000 for Lenny Kravitz in 2005. And in another register, Pope Francis brought together 3 million faithful for a mass during WYD in 2013. But this type of event remains exceptional.

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A metro station in the Copacabana district in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 30, 2024. © Pablo PORCIUNCULA / AFP

• Last concert of the Celebration Tour

But let’s return to Madonna, who completes with this monster concert a tour in the form of a retrospective, covering her 40-year career. A somewhat special tour for the singer, who had serious health problems last year, and was hospitalized for several days in intensive care after an infection. A tour that she almost never did, and which allows her to celebrate her career, so rich in hits and highlights. She announced this concert on March 25.

After 80 dates in Europe, the United States and Mexico, this unique foray of the Celebration Tour into South America is also the singer’s first concert in Brazil since 2012.

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• A giant stage

The Brazilians therefore rolled out the red carpet for Madonna. An 800 m² stage was built on the beach, connected for the occasion by a footbridge to the Copacabana Palace, where the star is staying. According to News of Madonna, 14,000 people work on this show.

Three planes and 270 tons of equipment landed with it, according to production.

On May 1, a plane carrying the banner “The queen is in the palace” crisscrossed the skies of Rio, announcing that Madonna had arrived in the city.

“Operation Madonna” will mobilize 3,200 police officers, aided by drones and facial recognition cameras.

As part of the security measures, Copacabana beach was combed, discovering “3 knives, 1 frying pan, pots and pans, 32 bottles of water and 70 coconuts “, according to the Brazilian channel Globo, which will broadcast the concert. Four tonnes of waste were also removed. The operation will undoubtedly have to be repeated after the concert.

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>Madonna in full rehearsal at Copacabana on May 3, 2024.>
Madonna in full rehearsal at Copacabana on May 3, 2024. © Pablo PORCIUNCULA / AFP

For several days, the inhabitants of Rio have been watching Madonna’s rehearsals on the stage built in recent days. The singer was seen rehearsing on stage, her face covered with a yellow hood, a Brazilian flag on her shoulders.

In the shop windows, t-shirts bearing the singer’s image have joined football jerseys bearing the name of Neymar.

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>the window of a store in Rio de Janeiro, April 29, 2024.>
the window of a store in Rio de Janeiro, April 29, 2024. © Pablo PORCIUNCULA / AFP

• Diplo in the first part

Many guests joined Madonna on stage during her stops in Europe and the United States. Among them the fashion designer Jean-Paul Gautier, who created his famous corset with conical breasts, the actress Pamela Anderson, the singers Cardi B and Kylie Minogue, and the actress Salma Hayek dressed as Frida Kahlo, during the last concert of the tour, in Mexico.

The Madonna concert is scheduled to begin at 9:50 p.m. local time, after a first part provided by DJ Diplo. Diplo’s set, like Madonna’s show, should give pride of place to local artists and Brazilian music.

• “The Madonna effect” on tourism

Rio de Janeiro City Hall is rubbing its hands, arguing that the concert will generate 293 million reais (53 million euros) for the local economy, or 30 times more than the investments made. Some media, such as the newspaper O Globo, suggest that Madonna would have received 17 million reais, or around 3 million euros.

The arrival of 150,000 foreigners by special flights is expected, and hotel occupancy is approaching 100%.

“It will undoubtedly be one of the biggest international events in Rio: it will boost our economy and attract tourists from Brazil, Latin America and all over the world,” enthuses the city hall’s Tourism Secretary, Daniela Maia.

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