Brunch at Copacabana Palace
Metrô Siqueira Campos
When Stevie Wonder re-discovered his love of touring after the death of his mother in 2008, the world became a richer place. Sat behind his piano, the infectious smile and deeply funky soul music brought a tear to the majority of the 100,000-strong audience at last year’s Rock in Rio in Barra within the opening strains of ‘The Girl From Ipanema’. Halfway through the song, someone was lucky enough to be coming down a zipwire erected from one side of the crowd to the other, inadvertently flying over one of the most emotional group singalongs you are ever likely to hear.
Left blind from birth, Stevland Hardaway Judkiss’ devotion to music from a young age had brought him a number one record by the age of 14. By 21 he had negotiated an enviable contract with Motown that left no doubt as to the ownership of his songs, more than thirty of which would become US number ones, thus guaranteeing him a fortune rarely found in the industry.
Shrewdness aside, Wonder always gives the impression that what he does, he does for the love of the music. Name-dropped, sampled by and an influence on everyone from The Rolling Stones to Will Smith, his output in the ‘60s and ‘70s has endured to the point that his live shows unite generations of music lovers, making this year’s Christmas Day extravaganza on Copacabana Beach all the more essential.
Joined on stage by Gilberto Gil for what looks like a genuinely awe-inspiring North-South continental collaboration, the feel-good anthems will be flowing with added festive cheer. Millions are expected to head to the sands, so best fill a cooler box with leftover turkey, and head down early to stake out a spot near the stage, for things are going to get crowded.