Millions of viewers: the ten greatest concerts of all time

million viewers
The ten greatest concerts of all time

Supposedly the most popular place for big concerts: Cobacabana beach in Rio.

© Marcelo Castier / Shutterstock

Helene Fischer will soon be in front of 100,000 people – but she’s always bigger. Ten shows that set records.

Helene Fischer (38) is in for an exciting weekend: On August 20, the singer will give the biggest concert of her career in Munich in front of 100,000 people. On a certain beach and on a certain artist, this may seem a bit bleak.

King of the Mass: Rod Stewart

The biggest concert in the world to date took place in 1994. At that time, Rod Stewart (77) was playing for Rio de Janeiro on New Years Eve at Copacabana Beach. The free concert and huge fireworks attracted some 4.2 million people to the beach. To this day, this concert is in the Guinness Book of Records.

In 1997, French musician Jean-Michel Jarre (73) took the stage in front of about 3 to 3.5 million people in front of a Moscow university to celebrate the 850th anniversary of the Russian capital. The event, which also included a live connection to the Russian MIR space station, was later released as an album: “Oxygen in Moscow”.

A beach of gigantic concerts

The third largest concert goes to Copacabana Beach again and again for the New Years concert. This time, Brazilian singer Jorge Ben Jor (83) played in the transitional period from 1993 to 1994, while around three million listeners enjoyed the beach. However, here too, the fireworks may have been the main reason for some.

Jean-Michel Jarre is again fourth for the biggest concert. It attracted 2.5 million viewers to Paris on the National Day of France in 1990. Spoiler: The Synth artist will meet us again on this list.

The fifth largest concert of all time was held in Moscow again, this time at Tushino Airport. In 1991, the festival “Monsters of Rock” was held there, AC / DC, Pantera and Metallica played in front of 1.6 million people. Admission was free. However, in order to control the crowds, soldiers were also sent, who behaved brutally towards the fans. Several deaths are said to have occurred.

Record love in Germany

Germany also ranks fifth, at least if you answer ‘yes’ to the philosophical question of whether DJ sets qualify as concerts. In 2008, the Loveparade in Dortmund attracted a total of 1.6 million enthusiasts to the streets, far exceeding the number of visitors to the Loveparades in Berlin. An interesting contrast to the metal festival in Moscow: despite the same number of visitors, viewers and emergency services never clashed with each other. “It was extremely loving,” wrote “Spiegel” about the record event.

The Rolling Stones have to share their seat – which they also earned on Rio’s Copacabana Beach – at the Live 8 concert in 2005. The Stones concert took place in 2006 as part of the “A Bigger Bang” tour and gathered 1.5 million people. Live 8 needed many world stars such as Alicia Keys (41), Stevie Wonder (72) and Kanye West (45) for their concert in Philadelphia for the same number of viewers.

Jean-Michel Jarre everywhere

Eighth place is once again Jean-Michel Jarre, and he begins to wonder why a musician is so often the first choice when nations are to celebrate. In 1986 he already set a record. At that time, the city of Houston was celebrating its 150th birthday, and he attracted 1.3 million people to his concert.

Ninth place is occupied by the second edition of the Peaceful Concert “Paz Sin Fronteras”, which took place in Havana in 2009 and gathered around 1.1 million people at the Plaza de la Revolución.

The list is completed by a few artists who share the tenth place for concerts watched by a million people. There is a Beach Boys concert that performed in Philadelphia on Independence Day in 1985, a Black Eyed Peas concert in 2006 at Copacabana Beach and, how could it be otherwise, Jean-Michel Jarre on Bastille Day 1979 in Paris.

Madonna is better than everyone

Incidentally, there are even greater events than all these concerts today – on the Internet. Here Madonna (64) has the advantage: on November 28, 2000, she took the stage in London and was watched by 11 million people via the web. Jarre couldn’t beat it when he performs at Copacabana Beach for New Years Eve.


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