Madonna plays biggest-ever show to 1.6 million fans on Rio's Copacabana beach

Madonna has played her biggest-ever gig to an estimated 1.6 million people on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro.

It was the last show in her Celebration tour and she performed hits such Like A Prayer, Vogue, Hung Up, Into The Groove and Like A Virgin.

The Brazil city was buzzing ahead of Saturday's free two-hour show, with hotels and Airbnb's packed and about 170 extra flights expected into the city.

Helicopters and drones buzzed over the beach as the Queen of Pop took to the stage at 10:37pm, nearly 50 minutes late.

"Here we are in the most beautiful place in the world," Madonna told the crowd as she pointed out Rio's famous mountains and Christ the Redeemer statue.

The 65-year-old opened up with Nothing Really Matters from 1998's Ray of Light album.

Eighteen speaker towers were dotted along the beach to ensure everyone could hear the US star's vocals.

Brazilian musicians and people from local samba schools were involved in the show - with many fans dressing up in Madonna-themed outfits.

"Since Madonna arrived here, I've been coming every day with this outfit to welcome my idol, my diva, my pop queen," said Rosemary de Oliveira Bohrer, 69, who wore a version of Madonna's iconic gold cone bra.

Many fans had staked out a spot many hours - or even days - before the show, while others took in the spectacle from yachts or apartment balconies.

Madonna's website said it was the biggest she had ever done - more than 10 times the 130,000 she played to in Paris in 1987.

However, Rio is used to huge shows - The Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart have played to similar-size crowds there.

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Thousands of police were on duty for Saturday's show, which city authorities estimated drew a crowd of 1.6 million and would earn the local economy about 293 million reals (£46m).

For Madonna, it was the culmination of an 81-date retrospective tour that began in London in October and moved across Europe and North and South America.

The singer embarked upon the tour a few months after being admitted to intensive care with a serious bacterial inaction in June 2023.