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I N • D E P T H

A RECORD-BREAKING CITY

CDMX: Passion for live music

The massive metropolis has become a landmark for promoters, artists and bands. For years, all the “paper” is sold in Mexico City, a metropolis in which artists from a wide range of genres pack large venues for several nights.

197,444 people. It is the highest record that was achieved by veteran metal kings Metallica in Foro Sol just a year ago in three consecutive concerts. Never before had the venue gathered such number of enthusiastic fans. The Californian band, who had the luxury of coming with the mythical Iggy Pop, hurried to mention that in their social networks: another important date to add to their accomplishments. Some years earlier, Metallica had played in Palacio de los Deportes nothing but eight days in a row!. In no city in the world is there such a demand, for Metallica or any other band.

Metallica’s records are not a single case. For more than a decade, Mexico City has become a must destination for touring bands and artists from all around the world, with unbeatable records of attendance figures. In 2011 Irish band U2 succeeded in bringing together 300,000 people in mythical Azteca Stadium for three nights in a row, so “sold out” posters had to be hung. An amazing record even for a band used to filling up stadiums since the mid 80’s.

The scale is enormous in this city, even with Mexican artists. A highly illustrated example: local idol Luis Miguel offered 30 concerts in a row in Auditorio Nacional in 2006. The grand Zócalo Square has also been packed with massive concerts like the one by Roger Waters a year and a half ago. More than 200,000 attendees enjoyed the former member of Pink Floyd show, despite the vast array of stages, which considerably reduced the capacity of the massive square.

As promoters and artists confirm, the demand for live music for a long time has been as gigantic and enthusiastic as the city itself and its endless vitality. All the events get crowded. Apart from the above mentioned venues, Pepsi Center or Teatro Metropolitan host great artists continuously. Although it has been more than a quarter of a century since Michael Jackson packed Azteca Stadium for five nights in a row, the demand has become much more consistent, with artists coming from a wide range of genres.

British band The Cure played their longest concert ever in Foro Sol four years ago, breaking the record of four hours and six minutes. One of the longest in history. Tickets for artists like Madonna or Justin Bieber get sold out within minutes (25 minutes in one of Madonna’s latest tours); and prices can be either high or skyrocketing, even for European standards: people paid up to 12,000 pesos (about 534 euros) to see Paul McCartney. It is hard to see the American diva, another favourite of the local audience, for less than 4,000 pesos (180 euros).

However, on special occasions, fans have had the opportunity to enjoy their idols for free (with some paying VIP zones). It was the case of some of the most crowded concerts in the country’s history: Paul McCartney gathered 250,000 people in Zócalo Square in 2012; it was a historical event due to its size and impact. Canadian teen star Justin Bieber had to settle for 210,000 people in the same stage, although at the time it was published in certain media that he had beat the Beatles’ legendary bassist and singer.

In the case of Spanish artists, the fever dates back a long time, and there is a closer bond. Mexico City has been a second home for years. Many of them, ranging from Joaquín Sabina and Joan Manuel Serrat to the alternative scene, with names such as Granada’s Los Planetas, Barcelona’s Love of Lesbian or Madrid band Vetusta Morla (who recently played the renowned Plaza Condesa venue), for long have deemed Mexico City as a mandatory stopover. They have also played crowded concerts of great intensity. Ex-Héroes del Silencio Enrique Bunbury is the Spanish musician that has gathered the most fans in a single event. It was 90,000 people in Azteca Stadium, a record figure which seems hard to break even in his own country. Everything is done in grand style in Mexico City.

© JC Peña • PosterCity