Entertainment

Madonna puts on free concert in Rio, turning Copacabana beach into enormous dance floor

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Madonna gave a free concert on Copacabana Beach Saturday night, transforming Rio de Janeiro’s vast expanse of sand into a huge dance floor teeming with multitudes of her fans.

It was the last show of The Celebration Tour, its first retrospective, which began in October in London.

Madonna performs during the final show of her The Celebration tour, on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, May 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

Madonna performs during the final show of her The Celebration tour, on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, May 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

Madonna performs during the final show of her The Celebration tour, on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, May 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

The “Queen of Pop” started the show with her 1998 hit “Nothing Really Matters.” Huge cheers rise from the buzzing crowd, pressed against the barriers. Others held parties in well-lit apartments and hotels overlooking the waterfront. Helicopters and drones flew over the bay, while motorboats and sailboats anchored off the beach filled the bay.

“We are here in the most beautiful place in the world,” Madonna told the crowd. Pointing to views of the ocean, mountains and the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking the city, she added: “This place is magical.”

Madonna performs during the final show of her The Celebration Tour, on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, May 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)

Madonna performs during the final show of her The Celebration Tour, on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, May 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)

Madonna performed her classic hits, including “Like A Virgin” and “Hung Up.” For the introduction to “Like A Prayer”, his head was entirely covered in a black cape, a rosary in his hands.

The star paid a moving tribute to “all the bright lights” lost to AIDS by singing “Live to Tell,” with black-and-white photos of people who have died from the disease flashing behind her.

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

Rio spent the last few days preparing for the show.

Rio City Hall predicted 1.5 million spectators, more than 10 times Madonna’s record attendance of 130,000 at the Parc des Sceaux in Paris in 1987. Madonna’s official website billed the show as the largest of her four decades of career.

A Madonna fan, wearing a mask, poses during a rehearsal for Madonna's The Celebration tour, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Madonna will end her tour on Saturday with a free concert on the Copacabana beach.  (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)

A Madonna fan, wearing a mask, poses during a rehearsal for Madonna’s The Celebration tour, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, May 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)

Fans wait for the start of Madonna's final concert on her The Celebration tour, on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, May 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)

Fans wait for the start of Madonna’s final concert on her The Celebration tour, on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, May 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)

In recent days, the buzz has been palpable. Fans gathered outside the majestic waterfront Copacabana Palace Hotel, where Madonna is staying, hoping to catch a glimpse of the pop star. During the soundcheck on the stage set up in front of the hotel, they danced on the sand.

Saturday noon, supporters gathered in front of the hotel. A man with a white beard carried a sign saying: “Welcome Madonna, you are the best, I love you.” »

Flags with “Madonna” printed against the iconic black and white wavy pattern of Copacabana sidewalks hung from balconies. The area was filled with street vendors and concert-goers dressed in themed T-shirts, sweating in the blazing sun.

“Since Madonna came here, I come every day in this outfit to welcome my idol, my diva, my queen of pop,” said Rosemary de Oliveira Bohrer, 69, who sported a gold cone bra and a black cap.

“It will be an unforgettable spectacle here in Copacabana,” said Oliveira Bohrer, a retired civil servant who lives in the area.

Eighteen sound towers were spread out along the beach to ensure all attendees could hear the hits. His two-hour show began at 10:37 p.m. local time, almost 50 minutes late.

City Hall produced a report in April estimating that the concert would inject 293 million reais ($57 million) into the local economy. Hotel capacity is expected to reach 98% in Copacabana, according to Rio’s hotel association. Fans from all over Brazil, but also from Argentina and France, searched for Airbnbs for the weekend, the platform said in a press release. Rio International Airport planned 170 additional flights between May 1 and 6, from 27 destinations, the city hall said in a statement.

Artist Rinnaldy Borba, dressed as Madonna, poses for a selfie with a fan during a rehearsal for Madonna's Celebration tour in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Madonna will end her tour Saturday with a concert free on Copacabana beach.  .  (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)

People watch a rehearsal for Madonna’s Celebration tour in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Madonna will end her tour on Saturday with a free concert on Copacabana Beach. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)

Madonna fans dance in front of the Copacabana Palace hotel where Madonna is staying before her Celebration tour concert in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, May 3, 2024. Madonna will end her tour on Saturday with a free concert at Copacabana Beach.  (AP Photo/Bruna Prado

Madonna fans dance in front of the Copacabana Palace hotel where Madonna is staying before her Celebration tour concert in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, May 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado

A Madonna fan dances in front of the Copacabana Palace hotel where Madonna is staying before her Celebration tour concert in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, May 3, 2024. Madonna will end her tour on Saturday with a free concert at Copacabana beach.  (AP Photo/Bruna Prado

A Madonna fan dances in front of the Copacabana Palace hotel where Madonna is staying before her Celebration tour concert in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, May 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)

“It’s a unique opportunity to see Madonna, who knows if she will ever come back,” said Alessandro Augusto, 53, who arrived from the Brazilian state of Ceara, about 2,500 kilometers from Rio.

“Welcome Queen!” read the Heineken advertisements plastered all over town, the lettering above an image of an upturned bottle cap resembling a crown.

Heineken wasn’t the only company looking to profit from this craze. Bars and restaurants prepare “Like a Virgin” cocktails. A downtown store famous for selling carnival clothing has completely reinvented itself, filling its shelves with Madonna-themed costumes, fans, fanny packs and even underwear.

The organization of the mega-event was similar to that of New Year’s Eve, when millions of people gather in Copacabana for its fireworks display, local authorities said. The annual event often results in widespread thefts and assaults, and some feared such problems could arise during Madonna’s show.

Madonna rehearses with a mask for her Celebration tour in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Madonna, who removed her mask at the end of the rehearsal, will conclude her tour on Saturday with a free concert on Copacabana beach.  (AP Photo/Bruna Prado

Madonna rehearses with a mask for her Celebration tour in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Madonna, who removed her mask at the end of the rehearsal, will conclude her tour on Saturday with a free concert on Copacabana beach. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado

The Rio state security plan included the presence of 3,200 military personnel and 1,500 civilian police on standby. Before the concert, the Brazilian navy inspected ships wishing to position themselves offshore to follow the show.

A number of major concerts have previously taken place on Copacabana Beach, including Rod Stewart’s New Year’s Eve show in 1994 which attracted over 4 million fans and was the largest free rock concert in history, according to Guinness World Records. But many of these spectators also came to see the Rio fireworks display. A more apt comparison might therefore be with the Rolling Stones in 2006, which saw 1.2 million people crowd the sand, according to Rio’s military police, according to the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo. reported at the time.

Ana Beatriz Soares, a fan at Copacabana on Saturday, said Madonna had left her mark over the decades.

“Madonna had to run so today’s pop artists could walk. That’s why she’s important, because she serves as an inspiration to today’s pop divas,” Soares said.

“And that was 40 years ago. Not 40 days, 40 months. It’s been 40 years,” she said.

___

AP video journalist Douglas Engle contributed to this report.

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News Source : apnews.com

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With a penchant for words, Eleon Smith began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, Smith landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, Eleon also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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