Frank Sinatra in Rio: January 1980

40 years ago, in January 1980, the unlikely figure of the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra, arrived in Rio de Janeiro. He landed on 21 January at Rio’s international airport to be the star attraction at the opening of a new five star hotel on Rio’s Copacabana Beach, the Rio Palace. A property that has been recently renovated and is now the Fairmont Rio.

Sinatra had been brought to Rio by the head of the Artplan advertising agency, Roberto Medina, a name familiar now as the man behind the famous Rock in Rio festivals. But it is unlikely that without the visit of Sinatra in 1980 that Rock in Rio would ever have taken place five years later, or that the gates would have opened for other major performers and artists to come to Brazil.

Medina had already worked with Sinatra, having used Ol Blue Eyes in an advert for the Brazilian bottled Scotch Whisky, Passport. Medina had also used David Niven and Burt Bacharach as part of the campaign. Sinatra also had his own links to Brazil having performed and recorded an album with Tom Jobim in 1967, which they followed up with a second in 1969.

Medina paid Sinatra a reported US$1 million for five shows in Rio. Four of these would be for an exclusive nightly audience of just 700 in the Rio Palace’s ballroom on the 22, 23, 24 and 25 of January 1980. The fifth show was altogether more ambitious, a stadium show on Saturday, 26 January at the Maracanã Stadium, which would also be broadcast in Brazil on TV Globo.

The shows at the Rio Palace were the place to be and be seen in Brazil that week of January 1980 (each ticket costing over US$1,000), and did what they were intended to do by putting the hotel on the map, both in Brazil and internationally. Few hotels outside of Las Vegas had the clout to attract Sinatra.

The famous concert at the Maracanã Stadium nearly did not take place, however, due to the weather. It was an open stage located right in the centre of the pitch. The special seats on the grass, closest to the uncovered stage, had been the first to sell out at US$160 each, with tickets in the stands costing just US$6.

Due to the persistent rain on the Friday and through Saturday, it was impossible to mic and wire the orchestra, and for a time it looked as if the concert would be called off and fall foul to the weather. And there was no back up date as Sinatra had to return to the US.

At 21.00, on the night of 26 January, Sinatra walked on stage just as the rain stopped and performed to the largest crowd of his career, 175,000 people, a crowd that went into the Guinness Book of record as the largest paying audience for a single act.

In honour of Brazil, Sinatra started with “The Coffee Song” which he followed by his repertoire of hits including “The Lady is a Tramp”, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”, “Someone To Watch Over Me”, “My Way”, “Strangers In the Night”, which the crowd sang with Sinatra when he appeared to forget the lyrics, and his new hit that year, “New York, New York”. In all Sinatra performed for one hour and forty-five minutes.

Not only were Sinatra’s shows in Rio historic, but it showed that Brazil could hold major concerts. Sinatra was followed at Maracanã by Sting, Tina Turner, Kiss, Madonna, The Police, The Rolling Stones, Roger Waters, and the Pope, no-less, and in 1991 Medina’s own Rock in Rio II with headline acts such as Prince, Santana, George Michael, Guns’n Roses, A-ha! and INXS among others. But it was to be Sir Paul McCartney who, on another wet Saturday, would break Sinatra’s record for the paying public for a single act, when he sold an estimated 180,000 tickets for his show at the Maracanã

Sinatra was to return to play Brazil one more time, in August 1981 when he played the Maksoud Plaza hotel in São Paulo.

Rock in Rio 2019

The 8th Rock in Rio in Rio de Janeiro took place between 27 September and 6 October 2019 with seven nights of shows spread over two weekends. 

Iron Maiden, who played the first festival in January 1985, returned for its fourth Rock in Rio performance. Also returning to the festival in 2019 were Bon Jovi, Muse, Scorpions, Nickelback, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Dave Matthews Band, Whitesnake, Sepultura, Foo Fighters, Slayer, Seal and Jessie J, as well as a number of Brazilian acts, such as Paralamas who played the first festival, and Ivete Sangalo.

But Rock in Rio never stands still so the opening headline act in 2019 was Drake, one of the most watched star on the planet right now, but a man who was born 21 months after the first festival. Pink also made her Rock in Rio and South American debut, on a night that also included the Black Eyed Peas, H.E.R., Charlie Puth, and one of Brazil biggest acts, Anitta.

Other new acts performing in 2019 included Imagine Dragons, Ellie Goulding, Bebe Rexha, Alok, Weezer, Tenacious D,  Goo Goo Dolls, Panic! At the Disco, Helloween, Anthrax and King Crimson.

The festival is scheduled to return to Rio in September 2021, when there is expected to be a parallel festival in Santiago, Chile.

Photos courtesy of Rock in Rio.

Rock in Rio – 2015 Line Up

Rock in Rio Site 2011 02v2Friday, 18 September: Queen + Adam Lambert, One Republic, The Script, Rock in Rio 30 Years, Tribute to Cássia Eller, Lenine + Nação Zumbi + Matin Fondse, Ira! + Rappin Hood + Toni Tornado, Dônica + Arthur Verocai.

Saturday, 19 September: Metallica, Motley Crue, Royal Blood, Go Jira, Korn, Ministry + Burton C. Bell, Angra + Dee Snider + Doro Pesch, Noturnall + Michael Kiske.

Sunday, 20 September: Rod Stewart, John Legend, Magic!, Baby do Brasil + Guests, Alice Caymmi + Eumir Deodato

Thursday, 24 September: System of a Down, Queens of the Stone Age, Hollywood Vampires, CPM 22, Deftones, Lamb Of God, Halestorm + Guests, Project 46 + John Wayne.

Friday, 25 September: Slipknot, Faith No More, Mastodon, De la Terra, Steve Vai + Camerata Florianópolis, Nightwish + Jukka Nevalainen, Moonspell + Derrick Green, André Moraes + André Abujamra + Constantine Maroulis + The Heavy Metal All Star

Saturday, 26 September: Rihanna, Sam Smith, Sérgio Mendes + Carlinhos Brown, Angelique Kidjo + Guests, Erasmo Carlos + Ultraje a Rigor, Brothers of Brazil + Guests,

Sunday, 27 September: Katy Perry, Ah-Ha, Cidade Negra, Al Jarreau + Guests, Aurea + Boss AC, Suricato + Raul Midón

Rihanna and Rod Stewart return to Rock in Rio 2015

6176769555_4c1bdd6ee7_bRihanna has been confirmed as the headline act at Rock in Rio on Saturday, 26 September 2015. The singer last played Rock in Rio in 2011when she shared the bill on the opening night with Elton John and Katy Perry. Perry also returns this year and will headline on Sunday, 27 September.

Rod Stewart returns to headline the night of 20 September. Stewart, like Queen, played at the first rock in Rio in 1985.

Other recent additions to the line up include Sam Smith, Royal Blood, Motely Crue, The Script and One Republic.

So far confirmed are:

Friday, 18 September: Queen, One Republic, The Script

Saturday, 19 September: Metallica, Motley Crue, Royal Blood

Sunday, 20 September: Rod Stewart, John Legend

Thursday, 24 September: System of a Down, Queens of the Stone Age, Hollywood Vampires, CPM 22

Friday, 25 September: Slipknot, Faith No More, Mastodon, De la Terra

Saturday, 26 September: Rihanna, Sam Smith

Sunday, 27 September: Katy Perry, Ah-Ha, Cidade Negra

Perry

Rock in Rio 2015 takes shape

9830879256_a393ca435f_kQueen, the stars of the first ever Rock in Rio in 1985, and Metallica are the latest acts to be added to the line-up for Rock in Rio 2015. Metallica (photo) last played Rock in Rio in 2013.

Queen and Metallica join other acts announced that include Katy Perry, who also performed in 2013, John Legend, A-Ha (that attracted a crowd of 198,000 in 1991, when the festival was staged at the Maracãna), System of a Down, Queens of the Stone Age (who played in 2001), Slipnot (who played in 2011), Faith No More (who played in 1991), and Hollywood Vampires, the group made up of Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp and Joe Perry.

The festival takes place between 18 and 27 September 2015 close to where the Olympic Village is being built.

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Rock in Rio 2015 card sells out in five hours

RiR cardsThe first 100,000 tickets for Rock in Rio’s 30th anniversary shows in September 2015 sold out in just five hours when they were put on sale on 18 November 2014.

Fans will now have to wait until later in 2015 for the opportunity to by general tickets when they are released.

With few artists yet confirmed other than Katy Perry, John Legend and System of Down, fans that purchased the card will have first choice of days when the full schedule is confirmed.

Dates for the shows in 2015 are September 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26 and 27.

The concerts take place in the Olympic Park.

Prior to the Rio shows, Rock in Rio will take place in Las Vegas in May 2014. Artists confirmed include Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Metallica, Linkin Park, No Doubt, Deftones, Joss Stone and John Legend.