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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Madonna’s largest concert ever turns Rio’s Copacabana beach into an expansive dance floor

Madonna delivered her timeless classics, such as “Like a Virgin” and “Hung Up.

Madonna mesmerized the crowds with a free concert on Copacabana beach, transforming Rio de Janeiro’s sprawling sands into a pulsating dance floor swarmed by her devoted fans. This performance marked the finale of The Celebration Tour, her inaugural retrospective, which commenced in October in London.

The “Queen of Pop” ignited the evening with her 1998 smash hit “Nothing Really Matters,” sparking thunderous cheers from the tightly packed audience pressed against the barriers. Meanwhile, others hosted lively house parties in brightly illuminated apartments and hotels overlooking the beachfront. Helicopters and drones hovered overhead, while motorboats and sailboats adorned the bay.

City Hall produced a report in April estimating that the concert would inject 293 million reals ($57 million) into the local economy.

Acknowledging the breathtaking backdrop of ocean views, mountains, and the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, Madonna, at 65, proclaimed, “This place is magic.”

Madonna’s setlist included her iconic hits like “Like A Virgin” and “Hung Up.” During the introduction to “Like A Prayer,” she appeared veiled in a black cape, clutching a rosary.

The star delivered an emotional tribute to the lives lost to AIDS during her rendition of “Live to Tell,” with poignant black and white images flashing behind her.

Later, she was joined on stage by Brazilian artists Anitta and Pabllo Vittar, adding to the electrifying atmosphere.

An estimated 1.6 million fans flocked to witness the spectacle, surpassing Madonna’s previous record attendance of 130,000 at Paris’ Parc des Sceaux in 1987. The event was touted as the biggest in her four-decade career.

Days prior to the concert, anticipation buzzed through Rio. Fans gathered outside the prestigious Copacabana Palace hotel, where Madonna lodged, hoping for a glimpse of the pop icon. As the stage was set up, they danced on the sand during sound checks.

Flags emblazoned with “Madonna” fluttered against Copacabana’s iconic black and white backdrop, adorning balconies. The area teemed with street vendors and concertgoers donning themed T-shirts, enduring the scorching sun.

A fan dances while waiting for the start of the show.

“This is an unforgettable moment in Copacabana,” remarked Rosemary de Oliveira Bohrer, 69, clad in Madonna-inspired attire.

Eighteen sound towers lined the beach to ensure optimal audio for all attendees. Despite a nearly 50-minute delay, Madonna’s two-hour performance commenced at 10:37 p.m. local time.

The concert injected an estimated 293 million reals ($57 million) into the local economy, according to a report by City Hall. Hotel occupancy in Copacabana reached 98%, with fans traveling from across Brazil, Argentina, and France to attend.

Madonna performed her classic hits, including “Like a Virgin” and “Hung Up.”

Security measures mirrored those of New Year’s Eve, with 3,200 military personnel and 1,500 civilian police officers on standby. The navy inspected vessels offshore to ensure safety.

Madonna’s concert joined a legacy of monumental events on Copacabana beach, rivaling the scale of past performances by artists like Rod Stewart and the Rolling Stones. Fans like Ana Beatriz Soares reflected on Madonna’s enduring influence, acknowledging her pivotal role in shaping pop culture over four decades.

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