Top 10 Biggest Concerts of all Time

Music concerts are to the music business what movie theaters are to the film business. There’s no better way to connect and experience your favorite singers than to see them perform live on stage. Most concerts take place within arenas or stadiums, which heavily limit the reachable attendance to a few tens of thousand. Sometimes, usually for very special occasions, concerts are open air however. Hundreds of thousands attend those on average. But there have been a few concerts in history that even attracted millions of attendees. The following shows you the top 10 of the officially confirmed highest-attended concerts of all time, worldwide.

biggest concerts of all time
Source: Pinterest

The 10 Highest-attended concerts of all time

(as of October 2019, based on official numbers by local authorities)

1. COPACABANA NEW YEAR’S EVE CONCERT (1994/1995)
Rod Stewart
~ 3.54 million people
2. 850th ANNIVERSARY OF MOSCOW CONCERT (1997)
Jean-Michel Jarre
~ 3.5 million people
3. COPACABANA NEW YEAR’S EVE CONCERT (1993/1994)
Jorge Ben Jor
~ 3 million people
4. BASTILLE DAY CONCERT (1990)
Jean-Michel Jarre
~ 2 million people
5. MONSTERS OF ROCK CONCERT (1991)
Various artists
~ 1.6 million people
6. (tied) LIVE 8 CONCERT (2005) / A BIGGER BANG TOUR CONCERT (2006)
Various artists / The Rolling Stones
~ 1.5 million people each
7. RENDEZ-VOUS HOUSTON CONCERT (1986)
Jean-Michel Jarre
~ 1.3 million
8. PAZ SIN FRONTERAS CONCERT II (2009)
Various artists
~ 1.1 million people
9. (tied) BASTILLE DAY CONCERT (1979) / INDEPENDENCE DAY CONCERT (1985) / A.S. ROMA CHAMPIONSHIP VICTORY CONCERT (2001)
Jean-Michel Jarre / The Beach Boys / Antonello Venditi
~ 1 million people each
10. STATUE OF LIBERTY WEEKEND CONCERT (1986)
New York Philharmonic
~ 800,000 people

1. Copacabana New Year’s Eve Concert 1994/1995

biggest concert of all time

Location: Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date: December 31, 1994 – January 1, 1995
Artist: Rod Stewart

The beach in Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana district is likely the most famous beach in the world. Various songs and stories were written about the 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) long beach and its promenade. Copacabana beach also proved itself to be an excellent concert location. British rock singer Rod Stewart proved that better than anyone else on New Year’s Eve 1994/1995. His free New Year’s Eve concert attracted a bit more than 3.5 million people that year, making it the biggest concert of all time.

2. 850th Anniversary of Moscow Concert

moscow concert

Location: Moscow State University in Moscow, Russia
Date: September 6, 1997
Artist: Jean-Michel Jarre

Not only is Moscow one of the largest cities in the world, it’s also quite old. In 1997, the city celebrated its 850th anniversary. For this occasion, the city organized week long festivities. The absolute highlight then came on September 6, 1997 when French composer and performance artist gave his concert on the huge campus of Moscow State University. Around 3.5 million Moscovites came to see the French artist on stage. He was the only non-Russian artist invited for the city birthday festivities, but ended up being the by far most watched artist during the entire celebration week.

3. Copacabana New Year’s Eve Concert 1993/1994

copacabana new year's eve concert

Location: Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date: December 31, 1993 – January 1, 1994
Artist: Jorge Ben Jor

Before Rod Stewart broke it one year later in the exact same place for the exact same occasion, it was Brazilian singer Jorge Ben Jor who first broke the 3 million mark for attendance, setting the record for the highest-attended concert at the time. Ben Jor performed his free concert on New Year’s Eve 1993/1994 and 3 million Brazilians came to see him at Copacabana Beach.

4. Bastille Day Concert 1990

 bastille day concert 1990

Location: La Defense District in Paris, France
Date: July 14, 1990
Artist: Jean-Michel Jarre

The La Defense district of Paris is primarily known as a business district. But Jean-Michel Jarre turned it into a big concert site on July 14, 1990. July 14 is Bastille Day, France’s national holiday. Each year a concert takes place in honor of the French revolution inthe 18th century. But it was, once again, Jean-Michel Jarre who took the Bastille Day concert one huge step further and made it the to this day 4th biggest concert in history. Around 2 million Parisians (and tourists) came to see the free concert.

5. Monsters of Rock Concert 1991

highest attended concerts of all time top 5 top 10

Location: Tushino Airfield in Moscow, Soviet Union
Date: September 28, 1991
Artists: Various

The Monsters of Rock festival was an annual rock and heavy metal music festival that took place each year from 1980 until 1996. The festival featured the biggest contemporary names in rock and heavy metal. While the festival originated in England, it later branched out to worldwide locations. The biggest show was the one in Moscow on September 28, 1991. The concert took place in the midst of the political turmoil in the collapsing Soviet Union. Perhaps also as a distraction, around 1.6 million Moscovites rushed to Tushino Airfield in Northern Moscow to see bands like AC/DC, Metallica or Pantera perform live. Almost exactly 3 months later the Soviet Union then finally collapsed and Moscow became the capital of the newly created Russian Federation.

6. (tied) Live 8 Concert / A Bigger Bang Tour Concert

Locations: Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, United States / Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Dates: July 2, 2005 / February 18, 2006
Artists: Various / The Rolling Stones

7. Rendez-Vous Houston Concert

Location: Downtown District in Houston, United States
Date: April 5, 1986
Artist: Jean-Michel Jarre

8. Paz Sin Fronteras Concert II

Location: Plaza de la Revolucion in Havana, Cuba
Date: September 20, 2009
Artist: Various

9. (tied) Bastille Day Concert 1979 / Independence Day Concert 1990 / A.S. Roma 2001 Championship Victory Concert

Locations: Place de la Concorde in Paris, France / Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, United States / Circus Maximus in Rome, Italy
Dates: July 14, 1979 / July 4, 1985 / June 24, 2001
Artists: Jean-Michel Jarre / The Beach Boys / Antonello Venditi

10. Statue of Liberty Weekend Concert 1986

Location: Central Park in New York City, United States
Date: July 5, 1986
Artists: New York Philharmonic


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