12 Biggest Concerts Ever In The World

Thanks to the myriad of musical devices available today, you can listen to your favorite music anytime, anywhere you want. But going to a live event is a whole new experience. And as far as most concert lovers are concerned, their motto is ‘the bigger, the better.’

So as a fellow music lover, do you want to know which are the biggest concerts ever? Let’s find out.

Paid Concerts

12. Frank Sinatra Live

Location: Maracana Stadium, Rio
Date: 26th January 1980
Total Attendance: 175,000

On January 26, 1980, the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro hosted a massive crowd of 175,000 people. The occasion was Frank Sinatra’s live concert. Perhaps the most influential musician of the 20th century, Sinatra doesn’t need any introduction. With 150 million records sold, he is one of the top 30 best-selling artists of all time.

The event broke all previous records and made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest (paid) attendance ever recorded for a single artist.

11. Break Every Rule World Tour

Location: Maracana Stadium, Rio
Date: 16 January 1988
Total Attendance: 180,000

The title of the highest-attended female solo concert goes to Tina Turner’s Break Every Rule World Tour, which was witnessed by 180,000 fans at the famous Maracana stadium. It was the biggest music concert of the 20th century.

Tina Turner, often referred to as the queen of rock n roll, came into the limelight in the 1960s with the success of Ike & Tina Turner Revue. She is one of the best-selling musicians, with more than 200 million records sold worldwide.

10. The Paul McCartney World Tour

Maracana stadiumThe Maracana Stadium during the concert | Image Courtesy: paulmccartney.com

Location: Maracana Stadium, Rio
Date: 20-21 April 1990
Total Attendance: 184,000

In 1990, during his first major tour in more than a decade, bass-legend Paul McCarthy performed in front of a record-breaking crowd of about 184,000 in Maracana Stadium. As it stands, it is the second-highest attendance at the stadium for a music event. The tour was later documented in albums Tripping the Live Fantastic and concert movie named Get Back.

9. Glay Expo’99 Survival

GlayGlay members at the MTV Video Music Awards in Japan (2014) | Image Courtesy: [email protected]/Flickr

Location: Chiba
Date: 31st July 1999
Total Attendance: 200,000

Glay is Japan’s one of the best-selling rock bands that work in both rock and pop genres. In 1999, the band launched Glay Expo, an occasional concert which unlike conventional open-air concerts, is more lavish and attracts a larger audience. The concert attracted 200,000 people at the Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba, Japan. It was the highest-attended concert (single act) at that time.

8. Turneja 2005

Bijelo DugmeBijelo Dugme with Zuzi Zu (Zumreta Midžić) in 1987 during a concert in Belgrade

Location: Belgrade Hippodrome, Serbia
Date: 28th June 2005
Total Attendance: 200,000

Bijelo Dugme (White Button) was perhaps the most famous rock band that existed in the former Yugoslavia. Their work influenced the next generation of Balkan musicians. In 1989, after creating many memorable titles for more than a decade, the band was disintegrated and seized to exist.

The members, however, reunited in 2005 for live concerts in Sarajevo (Bosnia & Herzegovina), Zagreb (Croatia) and Belgrade (Serbia). Their event in Belgrade attracted more than 250,000 people, while the ticket sales were reported to be around 220,000.

7. Modena Park 2017

Location: Parco Ferrari, Modena, Italy
Date: 1st July 2017
Total Attendance: 225,000+

Vasco Rossi, nicknamed II Blasco, is one of the most popular Italian rock singers, with more than 35 million copies of songs sold. Rossi’s concerts are mostly sold-out, though he has never performed outside Europe.

In April 2016, Vasco Rossi announced his plans to organize a concert in Modena, the city from where he started his musical journey. His announcement created a media frenzy state in the country.

About 225,000 tickets to the concert were sold and more than 5.5 million audiences watched the event on their television sets. It remains the highest-attended single artist music event to date.

Free Concerts

6. The Beach Boys Independence Day Concert

The Beach BoysThe Beach Boys reunion in 2012 | Image Courtesy: Louise Palanker

Location: Philadelphia Museum of Art
Date: 4th July 1985
Total Attendance: 1 million

Arguably the most influential rock band of the ’60s and ’70s, the legendary Beach Boys performed in front of a massive independence day crowd in 1985. The venue was the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Later that day, the band pulled another gig in Washington, D.C, in front of 750,000 spectators.

The Beach Boys, around that time, were embroiled in a minor political fix. In a surprising turn of events, the then U.S Secretary of Interior James Watt banned them from performing at Washington D.C’s National Mall in 1983 by accusing them of attracting “the wrong element.” The ban was lifted by President Ronald Reagan the next year.

5. Live 8 Philadelphia

Location: Philadelphia Museum of Art
Date: 2nd July 2005
Total Attendance: 800,000-1.5 million

Live 8 Philadelphia, also known as “Live 8 USA,” was a free concert in which at least 800,000 people turned up to enjoy some of the most famous bands and artists in the world. The event was covered by various television channels around the globe.

Among the performers, at Live 8 Philadelphia were popular bands, including Linkin Park and Maroon 5, as well as solo artists like Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, Keith Urban, and Toby Keith.

There has been a dispute regarding the total number of attendees at the concert. According to the organizers, over 1 million people were at the event. But as per non-organizer sources, this number was somewhere between 600,000 and 1.5 million.

4. The Rolling Stone Concert

Location: Copacabana Beach, Rio
Date: 18th Feb 2006
Total Attendance: 1.5 million

Legendary British band, The Rolling Stone performed at Rio de Janeiro’s famous Copacabana beach in 2006 at a free concert. As expected, about one and a half million music lovers gathered to seize this rare opportunity. It was huge.

The concert was part of the band’s ‘A Bigger Bang’ world tour to promote their new album of the same name. It is currently the second-highest-grossing world tour by any band, with more than $550 million in revenue.

Three days after the event, Irish band U2 performed in Sao Paulo, a few hundred kilometers away from Rio. “They’re still the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in the world, better by far than U2 or Oasis or Franz Ferdinand or any other pretenders,” said a fan in an interview with The New York Times.

At the event, Mick Jagger won the hearts of Brazilian fans before their performance by addressing them mostly in Portuguese.

Read: AI Can Make Individual Instruments Softer or Louder In Music Videos

3. AC/DC, Metallica Concert

MetallicaMetallica in 1988 during the Damaged Justice Tour

Location: Tushino Airfield, Moscow
Date: 28th September 1991
Total Attendance: 1.6 million

In 1991, a few months before the dissolution of the USSR, more than a million Russians gathered together in Tushino Airfield (Moscow) to witness the first-ever open-air concert by western rock bands in the country. It was part of the annual Monsters of Rock music festival.

While popular bands like Pantera, The Black Crowes, and E.S.T electrified the crowd, AC/DC and Metallica took things to the stratosphere. It was a night to remember. According to unofficial estimates, about 1.5 million people attended the concert. However, officially this number is between 800,000 to 1 million.

2. Jean-Michel Jarre Concert

Location: State University of Moscow
Date: 6th September 1997
Total Attendance: 3.5 million

In 1997, Jean-Michel Jarre was signed by Moscow’s Mayor for a live performance to commemorate the 850th anniversary of the city. Surpassing every expectation, about 3.5 million audiences turned up at the State University of Moscow to witness the music extravaganza.

It was not the first time the French-born megastar has attracted such a crowd. His first Paris concert in 1979 attracted more than 1 million spectators, setting a new world record. Jarre broke his record twice.

As a surprise to the Russian audience, live coverage of the Russian space station Mir was shown during the concert.

1. Rod Stewart New Year’s Eve Concert

Rod StewartRod Stewart in 1976, during his concert in Oslo, Noway

Location: Copacabana Beach, Rio
Date: 31st December 1994
Total Attendance: 3.5 million-4.2 million

The title of the highest-attended concert goes to the Rod Stewart rock concert held on New Year’s Eve in 1994. Sir Rodrick David Stewart is a British singer who, with over 140 million records sold, is one of the best-selling musicians in the world. In the same year, David Stewart was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (solo) alongside Elton John, John Lennon, and Bob Marley.

Read: What Song Is This? 15 Best Music Identifier Apps To Find Unknown Track

The concert made it to the Guinness World Record as the world’s largest free rock concert, with more than 4 million attendees. However, a large number of spectators had turned up solely for the midnight fireworks.

Written by
Bipro Das

I am a content writer and researcher with over seven years of experience covering all gaming and anime topics. I also have a keen interest in the retail sector and often write about the business models/strategies of popular brands.

I started content writing after completing my graduation. After writing tech-related things and other long-form content for 2-3 years, I found my calling with games and anime. Now, I get to find new games and write features and previews.

When not writing for RankRed, I usually prefer reading investing books or immersing myself in Europa Universalis 4. But I am currently interested in some new JRPGs as well.

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  • Am not happy about this thread saying the rolling stones are the infamous American band????.
    They are British so get your facts right..

    • I do not believe these are the 12 largest concerts ever either. Kind of weird to go to all this inaccurate effort. Don’t you think?

    • I couldn’t agree more. What moron put this article together and doesn’t know The Rolling Stones are from the U.K.?