Between the end of October and the beginning of November, the British band Coldplay will give nine concerts in the largest soccer stadium in Argentina, the Monumental de River Plate. The 550,000 seats sold for his world tour Music of the Spheres they represent a new record in the South American country, despite the difficult economic context that the country is going through, and draw attention to the fanaticism of the Argentine public for foreign artists.
“It is a phenomenon that is already 30 years old, two generations. The public feels that international bands come to Argentina for the only time or for the last time and that generates a lot of expectation and anxiety, unlike what happens in the United States or Europe, where they can see them every two years”, says the journalist specialized in rock Marcelo Fernandez Bitar.
Buenos Aires will be the city with the highest number of concerts for the Coldplay tour. In their native country they will go on stage eight times, the same as in Brazil, a country with 212 million inhabitants, compared to 47 in Argentina. The nine consecutive recitals equal those given by the legendary Pink Floyd bassist and vocalist in March 2012 at the same stadium.
At that time, a decade ago, the Argentine economy was coming off years of significant growth and recovery of purchasing power after the 2001 corralito crisis, although it had already begun to stagnate. In 2022, Argentina is struggling to cope with inflation of almost 60% and to recover after three years of an economic recession that was exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic.
“It is a paradox about the economic crisis. In Argentina there is an upper class with great purchasing power and an upper middle class that can buy in installments, but since the concept of saving does not make sense due to inflation, many people who have satisfied their basic needs turn it into consumption,” he says. Fernandez Bitar.
Added to the difficulty of saving in a country where the national currency loses value daily is the desire to attend recitals and massive events after almost two years in which they were prohibited. “There is a lot of desire after the pandemic to go out and there is a sector that, given the small possibility of accessing shows, takes advantage of it,” cultural producer Daniel Grinbank told the Infobae portal. For Fernández Bitar, this attitude benefits the entire music scene, including local artists. The rapper Duki has already sold out the tickets for two recitals at the Vélez stadium and it is possible that he will perform a third.
The nine Coldplay concerts have revived the memory of other international visits that generated enormous expectations and contribute to enlarging the story of Argentina’s passion for rock recitals. At the top are the five recitals that the Rolling Stones gave on their first visit to the country, in 1995. When it was confirmed, madness exploded. The fans began to camp in front of the gate of the Monumental several nights before the tickets went on sale and forced to advance it. They were received by the president, Carlos Menem, and his public went to wait for them at the airport, in front of the hotel and wherever they found out they were. Amazed by the enthusiastic reception, the British returned in 1998, in 2006 and in 2016.
A video with more than three million views on YouTube collects some of the moments of greatest collective ecstasy of Argentines in recitals and statements by leaders of foreign bands, such as Dave Mustaine, who was impressed to see how Argentines sang even the parts Symphony of Destruction acoustics. Slash and Johnny Ramone are among those who have said that there is no better place in the world to play than in Argentina.
The Argentine public goes crazy when their favorite bands cross thousands of kilometers to reach this country in the extreme south of America, but some recitals by local groups also remain in memory, such as the tour with which Gustavo Cerati, Zeta Bosio and Charly Alberti they were fired from Soda Stereo in 1997. The “Thank you totals” improvised by Cerati at the end of ‘De musica light’ went down in history.
In 2017, Charles the Indian Solari, founder of the group Patricio Rey y sus Redonditos de Ricota, offered a recital in the Buenos Aires city of Olavarría. A year ago the musician had confirmed that he suffered from Parkinson’s and the rich audience mobilized from all over the country to go see him fearing that it would be the last time he would go on stage. About 400,000 fans collapsed a city of just over 130,000 inhabitants. The capacity overflowed more than usual at his concerts and two attendees died, but most of those who were there euphoric, jumping “in the world’s largest pogo”, only found out the next day. After the shock of the tragedy, his followers once again demanded a new last recital.
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