Rio Cleaning Up After Free Stones Show

Monday, February 20th 2006, 10:18 am
By: News On 6

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ It was a gas gas gas, judging by the trash trash trash.

The Rolling Stones' free concert on Copacabana Beach attracted more than a million exhilarated spectators, and on Sunday hundreds of fans were already in line for a U2 concert in Sao Paulo.

U2, performing in Brazil for the first time since 1998, will play at Sao Paulo's Morumbi stadium on Monday and Tuesday. Band leader and activist Bono met privately with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Brasilia and lauded the president's fight against poverty.

``It is a dream to be here because Lula (Silva) is fighting against poverty not only here but also in Africa. I feel very enthusiastic about it,'' Bono told cheering fans at Brasilia's airport.

The Stones had visited Brazil three times, but Saturday was the first time the band played for free in the country, where few can afford tickets to see top international acts.

Rio de Janeiro was still recovering Sunday from the two-hour show.

About 400 city workers hauled almost 220 tons of trash left behind by the more than 1 million people who attended the concert, which brought a carnival spirit to the city a week ahead of the world-famous annual celebration.

Civil defense officials said nearly 500 people received minor medical treatment during and after the show. The most serious cases were three stabbings during robbery attempts, but none of the victims reportedly suffered life-threatening wounds.

The Stones' opened with ``Jumpin' Jack Flash'' and played mostly older hits, with a few songs from their newest album, ``A Bigger Bang.''

During the show, Mick Jagger, who has a Brazilian son, ad-libbed comments in Portuguese, delighting the crowd. At one point, he wore a white shirt with the Brazilian flag and the words ``Brasil'' and ``Rio de Janeiro.''

``I went to see the concert but couldn't see anything, not even the screens,'' said Lisania da Conceicao, a 22-year-old maid. ``My friends came from Aruama 80 miles west of Rio and couldn't see anything either, and they were robbed.''

Other tourists had better luck.

``I didn't expect I would even get close,'' said 24-year-old Beto Andrade, who came from the southern Parana state. ``But one thing led to another and I ended up in the VIP area.''