5 Largest Concerts Ever Held

Music is a universal language, and concerts are one of the best ways to bring people together to enjoy it. And when it comes to size, many concert-goers prefer to go big or go home. These 5 impressive concerts featured a variety of different musicians with diverse styles, but all of them have one thing in common: A massive attendance record! The record-breaking turnouts of these shows attest to their memorable, striking performances and set them apart from other concerts, both in size and in cultural impact.

Let’s see who played at the top 5 largest concerts ever, and learn a little bit about what made these big gigs so memorable.

  1. The Rolling Stones

Year: 2006
Location: Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro
Attendance: 1.5 million
Event: A Bigger Bang

The Rolling Stones
Source: wikimedia.org

If there’s anything better than a life-changing rock concert, it’s a chance to see the legendary Rolling Stones for free! Millions of fans were exhilarated by the chance to do just that at “A Bigger Bang” in 2006, with plenty of people traveling many hours to make the gig.

Due to the frequency of crime in Rio de Janeiro, extensive security measures were taken to make sure that musicians, crew, and fans alike were kept safe and able to enjoy the experience.

Did You Know?

To make sure that no one was left out as a result of being unable to attend the show in person, the show was broadcasted on TV in Brazil, and through satellite and internet for people around the globe.

  1. Paul van Dyk, Carl Cox, and Armin Van Buuren

Year: 2008
Location: Dortmund, Germany
Attendance: 1.6 million
Event: Love Parade

Paul van Dyk, Carl Cox, and Armin Van Buuren
Source: wikimedia.org

The Love Parade of 2008 in Dortmund featured bands from several other countries, including Australia, South Korea, Ukraine and Turkey. Putting a unique twist on the traditional concert, this event staged each of the music groups on one of the floats in the parade.

Specifically referred to as an “Electronic Dance Music Festival and technoparade,” this entertaining event first originated in West Berlin in 1989. The main purpose of the event was to celebrate the freedom of love and electronic music. Sadly, after plenty of successful years, tragedy struck in 2010 when a crowd crush took 21 lives and injured many other concert attendants. In honor of those departed, the Love Parade was discontinued afterwards.

Did You Know?

Water-cooled sound systems on each float truck broadcasted the electronic music at deafening volumes. After an earlier Love Parade in 2001, the veterinarians at the Berlin Zoo complained that the loud music had upset many of the zoo animals.

  1. AC/DC, Metallica

Year: 1991
Location: Tushino Airfield, Moscow
Attendance: 1.6 million
Event: Monsters of Rock

AC/DC, Metallica
Source:  wikimedia.org

The first Western-style concert in Moscow, the Monsters of Rock show of 1991 drew an astoundingly large turnout. Before the late 1980’s, the regulations that restricted the Russian people banned foreign influences like Western rock music. This made for an even more enthusiastic turnout than the usual when legends such as Metallica and AC/DC entered the stage. Spirits were high, and the democratic-minded youths of Moscow couldn’t get enough of the heavy, pumping sounds of western metal.

Did You Know?

This concert was so groundbreaking and powerful that even some of the police officers patrolling the concert grounds at the Tushino Airfield set their gear aside and joined in with the other headbangers.

  1. Rod Stewart Concert

Year: 1994
Location: Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro
Attendance: 3.5 million
Event: New Year’s Eve

Rod Stewart Concert
Source: wikimedia.org

Some people insist that over 4 million people attended this spectacular concert, but many attendants were there primarily for the New Year’s Eve fireworks display and are categorized separately as a result. Regardless of their reason for going, they were treated to a spectacular show as Rod Stewart earned his place in the Guinness Book of World Records. He gained recognition for not only putting on the “largest live concert,” but also for the “largest free rock concert of all time”.

Did You Know?

This New Year’s Eve concert and fireworks show was one of several events put on during the holiday season to boost tourism in Rio de Janeiro.

  1. Jean-Michel Jarre Concert

Year: 1997
Location: State University of Moscow, Russia o
Attendance: Over 3.5 million
Event: 850th Anniversary of Moscow

Jean-Michel Jarre Concert
Source: wikimedia.org

Jean-Michel Jarre’s concert of 1997 was the largest concert ever. Immediately following the Oxygene tour, Jean-Michel Jarre was hired by the mayor of Moscow to put on a sensational show in celebration of Moscow’s 850th anniversary. The massive attendance surpassed expectations, with audience members flocking to see the concert set against the impressive backdrop of the State University of Moscow.

Did You Know?

This wonderful concert was held atop the highest hill in Moscow, enabling everyone in the city to enjoy some of the laser and light shows. Four Russian SU-27 jet planes flew overhead, expelling fireworks to start the memorable concert off with a bang.

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