Stones Roll Into Rio For Free Copacabana Beach Gig
Roll over, bossa nova. The Rolling Stones will take over Rio de Janeiro's famed Copacabana Beach Saturday (Feb. 18) for what promises to be a historic rock'n'roll extravaganza. Organizers expect moreRoll over, bossa nova. The Rolling Stones will take over Rio de Janeiro's famed Copacabana Beach Saturday (Feb. 18) for what promises to be a historic rock'n'roll extravaganza. Organizers expect more than 1 million people to fill the beach area for the free concert by the aging but still agile rockers -- one of the biggest crowds ever for a rock show.
A huge stage is being constructed on the sand opposite the elegant Copacabana Palace Hotel where the band will stay.
Local media is gossiping about the VIP list, which will include singer Mick Jagger's 7-year-old Brazilian son. Hotels are booked solid by fans despite jacked-up prices and apartments overlooking the beach have been rented out.
Behind the excitement lies concern over security. Rio is scarred by violent crime and gunplay often spills over from the slums ruled by drug gangs into city streets. More than 6,600 people were killed last year in a population of six million. Copacabana, where the gentle bossa nova sound was created in the 1950S, is now a haunt for prostitutes and drug dealers.
A huge security operation will be mounted with up to 10,000 police on duty. They might even occupy some of the favelas, or slums, close to Copacabana. "We have a series of worries, from teenagers in a total state of abandon to traffic jams," police spokesman Colonel Aristeu Leonardo Tavares said: "A show of this size has no comparison to other shows."
Though sex and drugs are an important part of Stone's lore, the band will avoid the action on Copacabana's main drag. They will cross from their suites on the 6th floor of the Copacabana Palace Hotel on a purpose-built walkway over Atlantic Avenue onto the seven-story-high stage on the beach.
The concert is being financed by the Rio municipality and communications companies Claro and Motorola.
Some question Rio city's involvement in the show. In a letter to Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, Pedro Fontes said the money would be better spent on improving favelas and community projects.
"Is it better to have a million-dollar rock show than to try to ease the misery that exists right next to the concert stage?" he wrote. "Only one more thing... I adore the Rolling Stones."
Fans around the world will be able to catch the show virtually via AOL Music and XM Satellite Radio (Deep Tracks Channel 40), which will feature a live simulcast beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET.
The Rio show will also be filmed for an eventual DVD release. Those not willing to wait can see the footage Feb. 28 in U.S. movie theaters via a Big Screen Concerts One Night Only presentation. Theater locations and tickets can be found via bigscreenconcerts.com.
Following the Rio show, the Rolling Stones tour will move on to venues in Mexico and South America.
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