The Brazil beach gig was far bigger – but Argentines filled a soccer stadium and clashed with police on the streets outside as the Rolling Stones rocked Buenos Aires with their A Bigger Bang tour.
More than 50,000 people wearing Stones T-shirts and wagging-tongue tattoos lustily welcomed the top-grossing rock tour that kicked off in the United States in August.
It was not the million-plus people who thronged Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday, but fever for the “Estones”, as they are known in Spanglish slang, gripped the Argentine capital in the dog days of the hot South American summer.
“Hola, Argentina! Hola, Buenos Aires!” a fired-up Sir Mick Jagger said as he kicked off the concert just as he did in Brazil, with one of their older hits - Jumpin’ Jack Flash.
Wearing a tight red satin jacket over a black T-shirt, he then wiggled riotously through another old favourite, It’s Only Rock ’n’ Roll.”
“It’s been eight years, and we’ve missed you!” Sir Mick shouted as the crowd roared its approval, many still pouring into the Monumental Stadium, home of the River Plate soccer team.
Outside, police fired a water cannon at dozens of people as some knocked down police barricades in an apparent bid to reach the stadium entrance.
Television news footage showed groups of young people running from police amid flying bottles. At least one car had its windows shattered and firefighters put out a burning pile of debris on the street.
At least two people were reported injured, the independent news agency Diarios y Noticias said. But police had no immediate report. Security was tight inside the stadium.
Ticket prices started at £42, a large sum for Argentines still recovering from a deep economic crisis in 2002. But many gladly paid that, and some even more.
Many mused whether the band’s third appearance in Argentina, after concerts in 1995 and 1998, might be their last. Both yesterday’s concert and another planned for tomorrow sold out.
“This is the last time they are going to play here. They are a myth, a legend,” Romina Bitullo, 23, said. As for Mick Jagger, she added: “I love him. He’s ugly, but for me he’s beautiful.”
Fans rocked through the night, sweat glistening on their necks in the sultry heat.
“All my life I’ve been waiting for this moment,” said Marcelo Zapata, 15. “On the outside, I am calm, but inside, my heart is beating fast.”
Argentines came from around the vast country to attend the concert.
“I’m just lucky to be here,” said Nahuel Casares, 14, who came from central Cordoba province on a bus with his middle-aged father.
One Stones die-hard, Juan Jose Banegas, 57, said he saved up for weeks for tickets to both concerts.
“They’re my whole life,” said Banegas, who spent days lounging with other fans outside the Stones’ hotel.
Dozens of fans have kept vigil for days, many of them so-called “Rolingas”, who wore hairstyles with short bangs reminiscent of a Mick Jagger 70s look. Borrowing chants normally reserved for soccer teams, they waved home-made Stones flags.