Rolling Stones to gig on Rio beach

Almost two million people are expected to flock to a free Rolling Stones concert on Rio’s Copacabana beach.

City officials said tonight they expect nearly 2 million people to turn out for the “A Bigger Bang” concert on Saturday.

The Brazilian gig comes just a week before the city’s world-famous carnival celebrations.

“This is the biggest live show that has ever occurred in the world,” health secretary Flavio Tanure claimed at a news conference announcing the city’s preparations.

However, the Guinness World Records website credits the largest live concert to Rod Stewart, who reportedly drew 3.5 million for a New Year’s Eve 1994 performance – also at Copacabana Beach.

Millions of people flock to the famous 2.5-mile beach each year for Rio’s New Year’s Eve celebration, which features a fireworks show and bands playing on several stages.

Crowds are expected to fill half of the beach this Saturday, with the Stones performing on a single stage. Eight video screens and 16 sound towers will allow fans at the back a glimpse of the veteran rockers.

Security is a concern. Earlier this month, three people were crushed to death and 38 injured in Sao Paulo when thousands of fans surged through security barriers at an autograph session for the Mexican band RBD.

But authorities said they weren’t worried about a repeat at the Stones’ concert.

“It’s similar to New Year’s, and we have significant experience with live shows on the beach,” said Ms Tanure.

The city’s port authority also was preparing a for the huge influx of boats expected to crowd the shoreline for the show.

The show marks the Stones’ third visit to Brazil, but the first time the band has played for free in a country where few can afford tickets to see top international acts.

Fans across Brazil were chartering vans and buses to get to Rio, and Mayor Cesar Maia said tourists from as far away as Chile were coming for the concert.

“The Stones have played 54 shows (on their current tour) before this one, and I expect there will be more people watching this show than all the previous shows put together,” Maia said.

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