Most of us have been to at least one concert in our lifetime where the number of people in the crowd was stupendously large. Famous musicians are not called superstars without a good reason. They have millions of fans across the globe and, when they’re on a tour, people are willing to travel for hundreds, if not thousands of miles just to see them play.
In this article, we will focus on music performances that have had record visits. Whether they were a part of a bigger music festival or just a stand-alone act, these are some of the biggest concerts in history.
Live 8 (2005, Philadelphia)
Live 8 concerts were organized in 2005 at ten different locations around the world at the same time and included dozens of artists. However, the one held in Philadelphia was the largest of them all, as around 1.5 million people attended the event at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
The lineup consisted of Bon Jovi, Kanye West, Linkin Park, Maroon 5, Jay-Z, and others.
Monsters of Rock (1991, Moscow)
The breakup of the Soviet Union opened Russia and its neighboring countries to the Western world. You might wonder why we are talking about politics in an article that’s clearly about music, but there is a connection.
Namely, the people of Russia were so eager to listen to live music they had never had a chance to hear before so, in 1991, the city of Moscow organized a rock festival by the name Monsters of Rock that included some of the biggest rock and metal bands of that time.
The four bands that headlined the festival were Metallica, AC/DC, The Black Crowes, and Pantera. The concert was held at the Red Square, and the rough estimate is that 1.6 million people attended. This was by far the largest music gathering at the time.
Jean Michel Jarre (1997, Moscow)
We are back in Moscow again, but this time with a little different kind of a concert. Jean Michael Jarre is one of the most renowned electronic music composers and performers, and, in 1997, he arguably held the biggest concert in history.
Jarre was already getting used to breaking records for the biggest outdoor concerts, as he did it three times before — twice in Paris and once in Houston. The 1990 Paris concert was attended by two million people, which is ridiculous in its own right, but there were as much as 3.5 million people that came to see him seven years later in Moscow.
Interestingly enough, this was not the single largest concert of all time. It is actually tied to another concert held three years earlier, which brings us to…
Rod Stewart (1994, Rio de Janeiro)
Copacabana beach in Brazil’s biggest city of Rio de Janeiro is one of the most popular tourist locations on earth. The beach is visited by thousands of people at any part of the day, but the largest gathering on one of the biggest beaches in the world happened during the Rod Stewart concert on New Year’s Eve in 1994.
Just like with Jean Michael Jarre’s concert in Moscow, the official reports say that there were 3.5 million people. Since both events were held outdoors and were free to watch, it’s hard to count how many people attended them exactly, so the best we can say is that it was a tie.