What’s the biggest concert you’ve ever attended? Did it have 1,000 people? 10,000 people? What about 500,000? For centuries, live music has brought people together, and sometimes, the number of people around you can feel unfathomable. Yet, even so, there are some concerts that over a million people in attendance. Concerts may not happen again in full swing in the United States until summer 2021 or later, but until then, we wanted to reminisce on some popular concerts that brought in massive numbers.
Garth Brooks – August 7, 1997
After many stops on his world tour, Garth Brooks decided to put on a free concert in New York City. The concert took place in Central Park. Brooks and his team projected about one million attendees while the city mayor projected 300,000. The actual number? That tends to vary depends on who reports it, but what we know for sure is that it had at least 750,000 people. That’s a lot of people to cram into Central Park. Here’s a view of the park filled with Brooks’ fans.
Unfortunately, I was unable to find a clip of the concert, but this picture helps set the mood for what it was like.
AC/DC and Metallica – September 28, 1991
Moscow, Russia put on an event called Monsters of Rock in 1991. At the Tushino Airfield. Before we get to the number, it’s important to note how historical this event was for its time. Before the late 1980s, Russians were banned from western influences, and that included western rock music. This event was one of the first big ones for the country, plus adding the two rock legends to the mix, it had an enthusiastic and massive turnout of 1.6 million people. To help keep the large crowd in check, the city had 11,000 soldiers there as security. Although, it’s been said that some wound up letting loose and rocking out at the show.
The entire concert was filmed for a production DVD for purchase. You can see a clip of the concert here.
Rod Stewart – December 31, 1994
On New Year’s Eve in 1994, rock icon Rod Stewart put on a free concert at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The concert attracted over 2.5 million people to the beach to see him perform. Some records indicate it could have been even more, but that data could have been skewed because of the fireworks display happening in the same place. The concert wound up going into the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest free concert of all time. Looking at aerial shots of the concert is baffling. It’s even more so baffling to see so many people gathered together in light of the current pandemic. One day, we will safely return to those numbers. Until then, we can look back in awe.