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Madonna plays biggest-ever show to 1.6 million fans

Madonna delivered the biggest concert of her career on Saturday night (4 May) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

An estimated 1.6 million people attended the free show at Copacabana Beach, where the 65-year-old wrapped up her Celebration Tour.

The star performed for over two hours, delivering a 26-song setlist featuring guest appearances from two Brazilian musicians – Anitta joined for ‘Vogue’, while Pabllo Vittar guested on the tour debut of ‘Music’.

The concert, promoted by Bonus Track in partnership with Live Nation, was The Queen of Pop’s first gig in Brazil since 2012 and was the only South American date of the tour.

No tickets were required for the event, with fans granted entry on a first-come-first-serve basis on the day of the performance.

The star performed for over two hours, delivering a 26-song setlist featuring guest appearances

According to Reuters, many attendees had waited for hours or even days to secure a good spot, while others watched from boats or beachfront apartments. The show was also broadcast live on Brazilian free-to-air television network TV Globo.

The event was presented by financial services company Itaú, and sponsored by the City of Rio de Janeiro, the State Government of Rio de Janeiro and Heineken, with support from Deezer.

Before Saturday night, Madonna’s best-attended show was a performance at Parc de Sceaux in Paris, France on 1987’s Who’s That Girl World Tour, which drew 131,100 concertgoers.

Copacabana Beach is renowned for mega concerts by artists such as The Rolling Stones in 2006 and Rod Stewart, who broke the world record for the most-attended concert of all time when he performed there in front of 4.2 million people in 1994.

Madonna launched The Celebration Tour in London last October with the first of six sold-out nights at The O2. Its European leg grossed $77.5 million from 429,000 ticket sales, according to Billboard Boxscore.

 


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Madonna confirms Copacabana Beach tour finale

Madonna has confirmed rumours that her 40th anniversary tour will wrap up with a historic free concert in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – the biggest show of her career.

The Queen of Pop will bring her Celebration Tour to a close on Copacabana Beach on Saturday 4 May. Promoted by Bonus Track in partnership with Live Nation, it will be her first gig in Brazil since 2012 and will be the only South American date of the tour.

No tickets are required for the event, with entrance to be applied on a first come first serve basis on the day of the performance, which will be broadcast live on Brazilian free-to-air television network TV Globo.

“The confirmation of this show is a great gift for all Madonna fans,” says Bonus Track partner Luiz Guilherme Niemeyer. It will truly be a unique moment, with one of the most successful musical tours expected across several countries, and the artist chose exactly Rio de Janeiro for this grand finale. Much more than a show, we will show the world the impact of this great event, open to the public, held on Copacabana Beach, a scene that dominates the global imagination as an example of natural beauty.

“Furthermore, it is important to highlight here the numerous positive impacts of this event for the city and the State, with the increase in tourism and the economy.”

The stage will be located in front of the Belmond Copacabana Palace Hotel. The event is presented by financial services company Itaú, and sponsored by the City of Rio de Janeiro, the State Government of Rio de Janeiro and Heineken, with support from Deezer.

“All Brazilians can celebrate and be inspired together with us in this story that transcends generations”

“We are turning 100 years old and celebrating this date alongside our customers in this historic and free Madonna show in Copacabana is something very special and as big as the history of Itaú Unibanco,” says the bank’s CMO Eduardo Tracanella.

“To celebrate our centenary, [there is] nothing like bringing the icon of this campaign, free of charge, so that all Brazilians can celebrate and be inspired together with us in this story that transcends generations. We will soon be releasing new features for Itaú customers.”

Launched in London last October with the first of six sold-out nights at The O2, The Celebration Tour has spanned 14 countries, with its European leg grossing $77.5 million from 429,000 ticket sales, according to Billboard Boxscore.

The run continues this week in North America with two dates at Houston’s Toyota Center. Upcoming dates also include stops in Atlanta and Tampa, as well as three nights at Miami’s Kaseya Center and five nights at Palacio De Los Deportes in Mexico City.

Madonna’s most well-attended show to date was a performance at Parc de Sceaux in Paris, France on 1987’s Who’s That Girl World Tour, which drew 131,100 concertgoers. However, free concerts on Copacabana Beach have routinely attracted in excess of one million people to concerts in the past. The Rolling Stones’ famous 2006 show pulled in an estimated 1.5m fans, while a 1994 New Year’s Eve gig headlined by Rod Stewart reputedly drew 4.2m.

 


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Luiz Niemeyer on Brazil’s hottest new festival

Luiz Oscar Niemeyer, the promoter behind a number of the biggest live shows in Brazilian history, has told IQ about the evolution of his new festival Music Is The Answer.

The Brazilian veteran is renowned for organising concerts such as Paul McCartney’s 1990 concert at the Maracanã, which attracted 184,000 people, and The Rolling Stones’ historic performance to over 1.5 million people on Copacabana beach in 2006.

He is also responsible for the groundbreaking Hollywood Rock festival (1988–1993), which took place in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and drew world-class artists including Bob Dylan, Bon Jovi and Eurythmics.

“Nothing like Hollywood Rock has happened in Rio and São Paulo since then but we had massive success with this two-city model 20 years ago so we’re repeating it with Music Is The Answer (MITA),” Niemeyer tells IQ. 

Launched during the pandemic, MITA takes place in both Brazilian cities across two days at the end of May. The two-stage, daytime festival is slated to return for a second edition this year, headlined by Lana Del Rey and Florence + the Machine.

“We had massive success with this two-city model 20 years ago so we’re repeating it with MITA”

Niemeyer says the two-city model has been a crucial factor in securing artists from across the globe, as well as sponsorship deals.

“Rio is the door to Brazil – all the artists want to play it – but São Paulo is the main market and the biggest city, where all the companies are established. It’s a very important market for sponsorship and selling tickets because 20 million people live there.

“If we only did Rio, we wouldn’t have enough to offer the artists. If I offer them two cities and maybe a concert in the middle, I’ve got a nice package for them.”

Niemeyer says that MITA is the only festival offering such as package, which helps it stand out from a competitive festival market that includes Rock in Rio, Lollapalooza and Primavera.

“I would say we’re the third festival in Brazil right now… probably bigger than Primavera because we do two nights in two cities,” he explains. “Rock in Rio and Lolla are major festivals – they play for 100,000 people per night. We do have competition because our acts play those festivals but we have a different proposal. I think the artists now value what we’re doing and they want to play our festival. You can see that by the talent we managed to book.”

“I would say we’re the third festival in Brazil right now, behind Rock in Rio and Lolla”

A bigger investment in talent is one of the main changes for this year’s MITA, according to Niemeyer. While the debut edition offered five international acts – Gorillaz, Rufus du Soul, The Kooks, Two Door Cinema Club and Tom Misch – this year’s will deliver eight.

In addition to the aforementioned headliners, Haim, Flume, The Mars Volta, BadBadNotGood, Sabrina Carpenter and Jehnny Beth make up the international representation on the MITA 2023 bill.

The bigger budget is thanks, in part, to more sponsorship as well as the move to a bigger location in São Paulo – from Spark Arena (cap. 12,000) to Novo Anhangabaú (35,000).

The Rio edition, meanwhile, will once again take place at the 20,000-capacity Jockey Club as “it’s linked to the brand, image, spirit and philosophy of the festival”.

Niemeyer says that both festivals are almost sold out and that this edition will recoup losses from the debut edition, which was faced with additional challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We’re living in a very enthusiastic moment in our business”

“Last year, we had several problems,” he says. “We opened sales in late November 2021 and, in mid-December, Brazil suspended all outdoor activities because of this new variation. Also a lot of suppliers shut down over Covid and the remaining ones didn’t have the same labour force to fulfil the demands. There were several surprises for the first festival and we had to go above budget, ending up with a bigger loss than we expected.

“But now, there’s no pandemic anymore and everything’s under control. Our budget is according to new prices and we’re prepared to work with no surprises. This year, we’ll recoup losses from the first edition and from the third year on, we’re going to be very profitable.”

Though Brazil is reckoning with extraordinary exchange and interest rates, Niemeyer says business has been “booming” since the pandemic: “We’re living in a very enthusiastic moment in our business. People are eager to go out and have fun experiences. Coldplay did 10 or 11 stadium shows recently and sold out, Rock in Rio in September was a big success. Everything is doing well.”

Niemeyer is promoting MITA under his new company, Bonus Track, which was formed after he left T4F (Time for Fun), South America’s leading live entertainment company.

T4F bought Niemeyer’s company Planmusic in 2016 and later appointed him head of live music/entertainment activities on a five-year contract, which ran out during the pandemic.

In addition to launching MITA alongside local promoter Thirty Entertainment, Bonus Track manages the Teatro XP Investimentos theatre at the Jockey Club headquarters in Gávea. The company will also revive Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Canecão arena, which has been closed for 12 years.

 


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Niemeyer’s Bonus Track company to revive iconic Rio arena

Veteran Latin promoter Luiz Niemeyer’s company Bonus Track is to revive Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Canecão arena, which has been closed for 12 years.

The company, in partnership with Klefer Entretenimento e Participações, won an auction for the 30-year lease with a final bid of BRL 4,350 million (€769,392).

The Bonus-Klefer consortium will invest BRL 184m (€32.6m) into the construction of a brand new 6,000-capacity arena on the Praia Vermelha Campus, which is owned by The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ).

The multipurpose arena is projected to open in 2025 and will host around 120 concerts per year, according to Bonus-Klefer.

In addition, UFRJ has required the conglomerate to build 80 new classrooms for the university’s students, along with a rehearsal space for musicians.

“[Canecão] is where popular music was born, as all the major acts in Brazil have played there”

“Canecão is a very iconic place in Rio and Brazil in general,” says Niemeyer, who has promoted some of the biggest concerts in Brazilian history, including The Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney.

“It’s where popular music was born – all the major acts in Brazil have played there. People have a very emotional connection with this place. The whole country knows about it and there’s a lot of history related to this place. Everyone’s very excited about it reopening and everywhere I go, people are congratulating me. It’s going to become a tourism point of Rio.”

Bonus Track manages the Teatro XP Investimentos theatre at the Jockey Club headquarters in Gávea, and is responsible for the MITA (Music Is The Answer) festival, which will be held in Rio and São Paulo from the end of May.

Canecão previously hosted concerts from some of Brazil’s biggest stars, including Roberto Carlos, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, Vinícius de Moraes, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Toquinho and Miúcha and Elymar Santos, and has been closed since 2010 due to legal disputes.

 


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