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Madonna will perform at Rio's Copacabana beach to close out her tour

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Madonna is closing her global Celebration Tour with a free concert in Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Beach. Today, it's expected to gather more than 1.5 million people and is mobilizing the city in what locals call Madonna Week. Reporter Julia Carneiro is there with the fans.

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Singing) I hear your voice.

JULIA CARNEIRO: I'm outside Rio's iconic Copacabana Palace, where crowds have been gathering the whole week, hoping to catch a glimpse of Madonna. She arrived in Rio on Monday for the closing concert of her world tour, the only stop in South America. But here, she's set to perform in front of the biggest crowd in her career. And people are just so excited.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Speaking Portuguese).

CARNEIRO: While the real Madonna is nowhere to be seen outside the hotel, the crowds here are taking turns to take pictures with a Madonna lookalike in her 60s, dressed in white lingerie and a cone bra.

What's your name?

KATHERINE MONROE: Katherine Monroe.

CARNEIRO: And what does it mean to have Madonna here in Rio?

MONROE: Well, obviously, it's a great spectacular event. And I'm loving it because people think I look like her, and I think I do. So I'm a more natural version. I don't do all the Botox.

CARNEIRO: This concert means business for Rio, and the show will bring almost $60 million to the local economy. One of the places benefited is this kiosk where the samba music's coming from that has a privileged location by the stage. They sold all their seats for $300 a person, and they're fully booked.

You're going to make some good money out of it, aren't you?

BRUNO AFONSO: (Speaking Portuguese).

CARNEIRO: Bruno Afonso is the manager of this kiosk. And he says this is like a second New Year's Eve for them, when Copacabana stages a massive celebration.

And here on the sand, there are lots of people gathered following the preparations. Can you tell me your name?

ANDRE ZAMBARDA: Andre Zambarda.

CARNEIRO: And you just flew in from Italy.

ZAMBARDA: Yes. This is my fourth concert on this tour. Finally, I'm seeing that it's real. It's happening.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ZAMBARDA: And - oh, look. I'm very...

CARNEIRO: You have goosebumps

ZAMBARDA: Yes. Yes, yes only to think about what will happen. Oh, "Celebration." This is the last song of the concert. And obviously, when it starts on the concert, I will be crying.

CARNEIRO: You will be crying?

ZAMBARDA: Of course I will cry on the concert, but specifically here 'cause will be the ending. So I don't know when we will have another concert again. It's very important for me.

CARNEIRO: For NPR News, I'm Julia Carneiro in Rio.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Julia Carneiro