Music is universal, and for most, it’s the first thing that comes to mind when you ask what their hobbies are. Because of this, millions of people go to concerts every year. Whether they be in small venues that only hold a few dozen people or massive widespread parks, we love seeing our favorite bands live. Out of all of the concerts ever held, though, which ones drew the largest crowds ever?
For this list, the concert had to be for a single artist as the headliner and fans had to pay for admission. Festivals that last for several days and free shows weren’t considered. That’s what sets these five concerts apart as being something genuinely captivating to have that many people pay to see one person in one venue.
5. Tina Turner (1988)
Tina Turner went on the sixth tour of her career between March 1987 and March 1988 which would end up being one of the biggest tours of all time and the highest-grossing female tour of the 1980s. Pulling in over $60 million, Turner opened each show with “What You Get Is What You See” and wrapped up with “Paradise Is Here”.
Due to being marketed as the final tour of her career, Turner sold a lot of seats, but none more than in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at Maracana Stadium. On January 16, 1988, Turner brought in 180,000 people to see her belt out her greatest hits. To this day, it remains the largest audience for a female artist ever.
4. Paul McCartney (1990)
For many years, Paul McCartney toured with the Beatles and then with Wings. Starting in September 1989, though, McCartney went on tour on his own with over 100 shows until July 1990. McCartney started his tour in Drammen, Norway, and wrapped up at Chicago’s Soldier Field, ending his shows with songs like “Carry That Weight” and “The End”.
One of the stops along the way was at the same venue, Maracana Stadium, where Tina Turner had played just two years prior. McCartney topped what was then the all-time record with 184,000 people buying tickets to his show in Rio. For McCartney, Rio was the only stop he had in South America, but a worthwhile one indeed.
3. Glay (1999)
While the first two artists on the list are people that North Americans and Europeans are extremely familiar with, they might not be accustomed to this next group. Glay is a Japanese rock band that formed in 1988 and became one of the country’s most successful bands ever. The group had traditional concerts, but also had what they referred to as expos.
The first-ever Glay Expo was held in 1999 in Chiba, Japan, and at the time broke McCartney’s record for attendance. In the same year, Glay released the album “Heavy Gauge”. Just around 200,000 people made their way to Glay Expo’99 Survival, which was tops among their impressive list of concert attendances.
2. Bijelo Dugme (2005)
Once again, North Americans probably aren’t too aware of Bijelo Dugme, though this time the Europeans get to join in on the fun. The group is one of the most notable from the old Soviet Republic, hailing from Sarajevo and formed in 1974 until their split in 1989. After years of listening to their greatest hits albums, fans finally got to see Bijelo Dugme live again in 2005 for a trio of reunions.
The reunion tour had stops in Sarajevo, Zagreb, and Belgrade. The latter of which was held at the Belgrade Hippodrome in Serbia and set a new attendance record with 220,000. Unfortunately, the band hasn’t toured since the massive performance.
1. Vasco Rossi (2017)
Among the best-selling Italian artists of all time is Vasco Rossi, who was a huge name during the 1980s throughout much of Europe. Though his fame never made it to the United States, Rossi was a big enough name to hold the record for the most-attended paid concert in music history with over 225,000 attendees.
The concert was titled Modena Park 2017 and was held at Enzo Ferrari Park on July 1 of that year, which is a race track that’s nearly 1.5 miles in length. Several artists backed up Rossi, including an appearance at the end from Manowar.