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Madonna Performs Large Free Live performance in Rio

When Madonna stepped out onto the mammoth stage constructed on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Seaside on Saturday evening in a gleaming halo headpiece and black kimono, she was greeted by the most important reside crowd of her four-decade profession.

The free present, introduced in late March, was a grand finale to the pop famous person’s newest world tour, which has delivered 80 performances since final October. With out ticket information, live performance crowd sizes may be troublesome to gauge; Riotur, the municipality’s tourism division, estimated that 1.6 million folks flooded onto the two.4-mile stretch of sand on Saturday that had been become a roughly $12 million playground surrounding the 8,700-square-foot stage.

It was the end result of days of Madonna-mania within the metropolis, the place discuss of the singer, 65, was inescapable. Her songs spilled out of shops and automotive stereos. Followers assembled outdoors her lodge and shouted her title. Updates in regards to the live performance, which was broadcast on the community Globo TV, dominated native media experiences.

The spectacle in Rio was a milestone in Madonna’s profession: the victory lap for her first stage retrospective, referred to as the Celebration Tour, during which she chronicled her rise to stardom, performing hits like “Into the Groove,” “Like a Prayer” and “Ray of Gentle” with a cadre of dancers, 4 of her six youngsters, and a wardrobe of elaborate costuming that recalled a few of her most memorable appears.

“Right here we’re, essentially the most lovely place on the planet,” Madonna introduced early within the live performance, indicating the ocean and the mountains round her. “That is magic.” Later, she expounded on her gratitude for her Brazilian followers. “You will have at all times been there for me,” she mentioned. “That flag: that green-and-yellow flag, I see it all over the place. I really feel it in my coronary heart.”

The 2-plus-hour Rio present hewed carefully to the Celebration present, with a number of exceptions: Madonna added her 2000 monitor “Music” to the set checklist, rearranged as a samba with reside drummers and a particular visitor, the Brazilian drag star Pabllo Vittar. “Dwell to Inform,” staged as a tribute to victims of AIDS, included images of the Brazilian musicians Cazuza and Renato Russo, and the actress Sandra Bréa. For “Vogue,” Madonna appeared in a glittery gown within the colours of the Brazilian flag and was joined by the pop sensation Anitta, who helped “decide” the rivals strutting down the runway.

The present had lifelong Madonna followers — lots of whom got here wearing homage to their heroine in cone bras and lace gloves — screaming and dancing alongside. Ernesto Magalhães, 42, adorned within the fashion of Madonna’s “Materials Woman” period in a robe and boa whereas balancing on stilts, epitomized the exuberant spirit of the event: “I’ve been a Madonna fan since I used to be 8; I couldn’t miss this.” Surya Rossi, a 31-year-old illustrator, selected a last-minute journey from Rio Claro, São Paulo, after coordinating along with her cousin, and stayed with buddies. “Madonna has been an incredible affect on me, each as a feminist and an artist,” she mentioned. “Her empowering historical past and method encourage me.”

It was additionally one thing of a landmark second for reside concert events globally. At a time of astronomical ticket costs and rising manufacturing prices for main reveals, a free live performance attracting a crowd of this scale is exceedingly uncommon, particularly in the USA. California’s Coachella pageant, the place a three-day common admission cross begins at about $500, attracts as much as 125,000 attendees a day. Musikfest, a largely free music pageant in Pennsylvania, welcomed about 1.3 million guests over 11 days final yr.

“To have a free present like that in recent times is comparatively unheard-of,” Katelyn Yount, the director of festivals at AEG Presents, mentioned of Madonna’s closing present. Hangout, an upcoming music pageant on Alabama’s Gulf Coast that’s among the many annual occasions AEG produces, is capped every day at about 40,000 attendees, who pay greater than $300 for a three-day cross.

If a efficiency of this magnitude was going to be held wherever in 2024, it will most likely be in Rio, the place officers have expertise with huge crowds. In 2006, about 1.5 million folks attended a free Rolling Stones live performance at Copacabana Seaside, Brazilian police and different authorities mentioned on the time. A good bigger crowd was mentioned to have gathered for a Rod Stewart present there on New 12 months’s Eve in 1994.

The concept for the sprawling occasion was first planted two years in the past, when Luiz Guilherme Niemeyer, an government with Bonus Observe, a reside leisure firm based mostly in Rio de Janeiro, approached Madonna’s managers after listening to about plans for the tour. The Rolling Stones live performance in 2006 helped persuade him that one thing like this was potential, he mentioned.

Negotiations stalled till final yr, when a Madonna present in Mexico Metropolis was introduced — ticketed dates for the Celebration Tour ended up wrapping with 5 nights there on the Palacio de los Deportes — and Niemeyer resumed his efforts to persuade the pop star’s representatives and safe funding.

“It was an bold undertaking for everybody, aiming to draw the most important viewers of her profession, and I believed this could assist me persuade her,” Niemeyer mentioned in an interview final week.

The live performance’s company backers embrace the Brazilian financial institution Itaú and Heineken, and the federal government has made a major funding as effectively.

Preparation for Madonna-palooza had consumed a phase of town in latest days. Per week in the past, cargo planes carried about 270 tons of live performance materials to town, together with costumes and health club tools. Eighteen sound and video towers had been constructed throughout the seaside, and final Wednesday, 4,000 staff ready the stage in scorching warmth.

As a result of this was the one Celebration live performance in South America — Madonna final toured there in 2012 — followers congregated from all around the continent. Within the days main as much as the occasion, a Madonna impersonator, Izelene Cristina, danced to “La Isla Bonita” at a bus station as she welcomed vacationers. She wouldn’t be attending the live performance as a result of pleasure over the famous person’s efficiency had led to a flood of bookings.

“Such is the lifetime of an artist,” she mentioned. “You’re employed to maneuver and entertain folks.”

On Monday, Madonna and her touring workforce of about 200 arrived in Rio, heading on to the French Riviera-inspired Copacabana Palace, the posh lodge close to the place the stage was constructed. Later within the week, crowds gathered as near the stage as potential, because the pop star crossed a specifically constructed footbridge from the lodge to the stage to rehearse with a few of her dancers.

Social media was flooded with clips of Madonna operating by songs together with the opener, “Nothing Actually Issues.” “Are you content? Are you prepared?” she asked the assembled crowd at one point. The response: wild cheering. “OK, simply checking,” she replied.

At a press briefing forward of the live performance, officers mentioned the security considerations that may accompany an viewers of that dimension and unpredictable climate on the shore. Final yr, the Brazilian D.J. Alok scheduled what had been billed because the “live performance of the century” on Copacabana Seaside, however a storm led a part of the gang to scatter, and concertgoers had been confronted with rampant pickpocketing, an issue at the very least some confronted on Saturday evening as effectively.

Marco Andrade, a spokesman for the Rio police, advised reporters that the division deliberate to deploy 3,200 officers on the Madonna live performance, in contrast with about 900 for Alok’s occasion. He mentioned that facial recognition know-how could be used at inspection areas, along with drones to watch the gang. Ultimately, the viewers stretched into the ocean as effectively — a set of boats anchored within the waters close to the venue.

The environment on the bottom Saturday evening was like a World Cup occasion, avenue carnival and New 12 months’s Eve celebration mixed. Avenue distributors supplied shirts, hats, cups and followers adorned with Madonna’s face and rainbow colours, and a plethora of barbecue, grilled cheese, empanadas and the Brazilian cocktail caipirinhas had been out there. To battle the warmth, a firefighter atop a fireplace truck sprayed a jet of water on the gang.

Because the present ended with a remix of her 2009 monitor “Celebration,” Madonna addressed the viewers for a remaining time: “Thanks, Rio,” including “obrigada,” the equal in Portuguese. She smiled and let go of a Brazilian flag, flipped a white veil over her head and descended beneath the stage.

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