As expected, Gwen Stefani and No Doubt, along with the heavy metal band, Metallica, dominated the first weekend of Rock in Rio in Las Vegas, Nevada. There were some great sets by other bands, as well, like Foster the People and Linkin Park; but, the majority of the Rock in Rio ticket-holders came, primarily, to see No Doubt on Friday night and Metallica on Saturday. Each of the quite different acts drew large crowds to Rock in Rio, an estimated audience of 82,000 people.
Rock in Rio U.S.A., in Las Vegas, got off to a bumpy start, as there were some headaches that many of the attendees faced. There were, for example, transportation issues with taxis and shuttles not knowing where they could drop passengers off at. Also, there was, at times, just one line available to fill up their wristbands with credits to purchase food and other items with at the several on-site “Top-Up Stations.”
Food and beverages were, reportedly, quite expensive, and there was a policy at Rock in Rio of not accepting either cash or credit, other than the funds loaded up on attendees’ wristbands. Another problem that some of the attendees who had not downloaded an app about when acts were going to perform and where had was that the set times and locations were not posted anywhere at the event.
Though Rock in Rio drew an audience that was less than half of what was expected, and the organizers had hoped would be there, of 170,000, other than the glitches and hiccups already mentioned, attendees appeared to be having a terrific time at the two-day event. There were amazing street performers, magicians, jugglers and stilt-walkers to entertain the crowds, rides and live musical groups on each of the three main “Rock Streets” there, themed after Brazil, the U.K., and the U.S.A.
The musical acts on the themed streets of the 40-acre site included hip-hop dancers and Brazilian capoeira drummers. There were some fantastic Irish cloggers there, also, among the many other performers. Besides establishments offering a wide range of food and alcohol, there was even a neon-lit chapel there, complete with an Elvis impersonator, where attendees could go to get married.
On Friday night, the attendance was just 37,000 at Rock in Rio, but Orange County’s Gwen Stefani, 45, and No Doubt put on a great set for the appreciative crowds. Gwen Stefani danced around the stage, and got the audience there pumped up, shouting out to them “Rock in Rio! I want to see every (expletive) person here jump up with me!” The attendees there to see her and No Doubt happily complied.
Saturday, Metallica and frontman, James Hetfield, electrified the crowds at Rock in Rio with a spectacular set, featuring all of their big hits, like their opening number, Fuel, Welcome Home (Sanitarium), Unforgiven, Sad But True, One, and — of course — Enter Sandman. Yet another song that Metallica played was the band’s latest single, Lords of Summer. Their encore was Seek & Destroy, from their 1983 debut album.
Next weekend, Rock in Rio will feature the pop musical acts Jessie J, Ed Sheeran, Josh Stone, John Legend, Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift. Hopefully, the few problems that some attendees faced during the opening weekend will have been resolved by then, and the overall attendance levels will surpass the 82,000 of the first weekend.
For the first time that Rock in Rio has ever happened in the United States, the weekend went off fairly well, with No Doubt and Metallica dominating and likely attracting the most amount of the attendees there. One of the major organizers of the event, Roberto Medina, expressed his happiness at how well things went, all things considered. He called it “a steppingstone for future editions.” Future Rock in Rio concerts held in Las Vegas will, undoubtedly, do even better, and attract larger audiences, and the good news is…there is still next weekend to look forward to, for fans of more pop-oriented music, like those of Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars and John Legend.
Written By Douglas Cobb