Talkin' trash to the garbage around me.

14 February, 2006

One million to see the Stones in Rio

Damn. It seems that everyone (and I do mean everyone) in Brazil loves the Rolling Stones:
More than one million people are expected to gather in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday night for the Brazilian leg of the Rolling Stones' world tour, A Bigger Bang, to be broadcast live on national television.

With a production crew of nearly 1,500 and a guest list running to 4,000 names, the free show on Copacabana beach is expected to dwarf other legendary rock concerts. Seven huge screens have been installed on the beach, stretching more than half a mile back from the stage, while a specially constructed walkway has been erected to take the group from the luxurious Copacabana Palace Hotel, where they will stay, to the seven-storey-high stage.
Ho. Lee. Shit.

On first reading, I was stunned by the numbers: one million, 1,500, four thousand, seven stories... but then my attention was drawn to this: "the free show on Copacabana beach..."

Those bastards! The Stones come to the States and charge ticket prices in the three digits (excluding poor schleps like me), and the Brazilians get to see Mick strut and Keith pickle for free? There's gotta be a catch, right?
However, with tens of thousands of fans pouring into Rio, some locals have reacted angrily to the amount of money being devoted to the show.

Rio's town hall has splashed out 1.6m reals (£425,000) on the event, arguing that it will help raise the city's profile.

"How is it that they can spend all this money on one show and not have hospitals that work?" said Fernando Cerdeira, a music promoter who worked with the likes of Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes and Baden Powell during the bossa nova heyday in the 1950s and 60s.
Priorities, people. I didn't realize that Rio de Janiero's profile was lacking. I suppose the images of sun-kissed beaches and beautiful women in thongs don't have the drawing power that four old coots - albeit four rockin' old coots - from Merry Olde England have.

And I'm sure all the money coming into the city will trickle down to the poor - it worked here in the States, right?

And while they ain't the Hell's Angels, the Stones will have an equally brutal security contingent:
About 10,000 police officers will be mobilised to patrol the crowds. Police say they may also occupy several of the hilltop favelas, or slum districts, which tower over the beachside district.


If the Stones need a reminder of Rio's well-publicised social problems, they need look no further than their support act, Afro-Reggae.

The group - whose latest album, No Motive Can Explain the War, contains participations from British rappers, Ty and Estelle - formed in the aftermath of the notorious 1993 Vigario Geral massacre, in which off-duty policemen killed 21 innocent slum-dwellers.
What a mess, even if it is for the Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World. A crowd three and a half times the projected size of the Stones show would increase these problems exponentially. Who could draw 3.5 million people?
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the only bigger show was a Rod Stewart concert, also on Copacabana beach, which attracted about 3.5 million people in 1994.
Rod Stewart? Un-fucking-believable.


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