Taylor Swift was welcomed to Brazil on Thursday with a projection that made Rio de Janeiro’s famous Christ the Redeemer statue appear as if she were wearing a T-shirt similar to the one she wore in her “You Belong to Me” . music video and was decorated with the names of Brazilian states and symbols from its songs.
But tragedies and troubles followed this warm welcome.
A fan died in the sweltering heat during Friday night’s show in Rio de Janeiro. At the eleventh hour, Swift postponed her show from Saturday to Monday, much to the dismay of thousands of fans who had already started filling the stadium. Military police said a fan who was in Rio de Janeiro for the concert scheduled for Sunday was stabbed to death earlier in the morning.
The deaths and other problems were a departure from the triumphant first leg of Swift’s Eras Tour, a career-long production that broke records in North America. As the tour’s second concert in Rio de Janeiro approached on Sunday evening, fans were grappling with ruined travel plans, extreme heat and disappointment.
Anne Di Motta, 30, a psychologist in São Paulo, Brazil, was supposed to attend the Saturday night show and said she would return home before Monday’s postponed concert because she had to work.
“I’ve spent the last 17 years waiting for the opportunity to go there, to fulfill my teenage dream of meeting someone I’ve known since his first single,” Di Motta said. “And sitting in a chair for three hours, completely drenched in sweat, having to overcome several personal challenges to be there completely alone, receiving the news of the cancellation – it was completely devastating.”
Saturday night’s show was postponed due to extreme temperatures, Swift said in an Instagram post hours before the concert was set to begin at an outdoor football stadium. “The safety and well-being of my fans, my fellow artists and my team must and always will be the priority,” she said.
By then, thousands of fans had turned out to see Swift, enduring the day’s peak heat, which reached 93 degrees Fahrenheit, or 33 degrees Celsius, before being asked to leave the venue.
A representative for Swift did not immediately respond to emailed questions about the postponement of Saturday’s show.
The Rio concerts took place after Swift performed in Argentina, the first stop on the Eras tour outside of North America. She had to move a show to Buenos Aires because of a storm. She is scheduled to perform in São Paulo on November 24, 25 and 26, before heading to cities in South America, Asia, Australia and Europe next year.
Julia Alvarenga, a social media influencer, was In the stadium when the concert was postponed and said in a video widely shared online that she had arrived for the show at 11 a.m. “Taylor Swift, I’m wearing a geriatric diaper that doesn’t even zip on me,” Alvarenga said.
“I bought water, I bought a fan, everyone is crying, screaming, so you show up on this stage!” » said Alvarenga.
Gabriela Werner, 24, a marketing analyst, bought tickets for every show in Rio and two in São Paulo, and said she started preparing for the heat three months ago by training in a gym sports without air conditioning in the middle of the day. She lives in Porto Alegre, about 700 miles southwest of Rio.
While waiting in line for Sunday night’s concert, Werner said the atmosphere was much calmer than Friday. “It’s not that hot and everyone is holding back because of the previous nights and everything that happened,” she said.
She didn’t expect Swift to come back to Brazil. “I’m sure she’s traumatized,” Werner said.
Werner, like many other fans, blamed the problems on the Brazilian company that put on the Time for Fun show. Wadih Damous, director of Brazil’s consumer protection agency, said the government would investigate Time for Fun. The company announced Saturday that it would increase its staff, provide free water and allow fans to enter the stadium with water and food.
As crowds left the stadium Saturday evening, disturbances were reported near the venue, police said.
After Matheus Duarte, 24, a warehouse worker, left the stadium and went to a nearby shopping center, he saw people shouting that there was a raid.
“I don’t really know if it really happened, but I saw desperate people running,” Duarte said. “And as soon as I saw him, I started running and hid in a parking lot.”
On Sunday, military police said no robberies or assaults had been reported the night before. But before Sunday’s concert in Rio de Janeiro, a concert fan was stabbed to death after an attempted robbery at Copacabana’s famous beach, military police said. Two men were arrested, they said. The fan, Gabriel Mongenot Santana Milhomem Santos, was with friends when he was stabbed, civil police said.
During Friday’s broadcast, Ana Clara Benevides, 23, died after losing consciousness, officials said. She was pronounced dead of cardiac arrest after being taken to a hospital, according to city authorities and the Brazilian company that organized Swift’s show, Time for Fun.
Benevides, a psychology student, had come from Rondonópolis, about 880 miles northwest of Rio de Janeiro, for the concert, O Globo reported. Her friend Emiliane Félix, 22, told O Globo that Benevides had been sending her friends photos of her outfits for the concert “for more than a month.”
On X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, Benevides shared his excitement for the concert, writing about November 7 “I don’t know what my purpose in life will be after seeing Taylor.”
Fans at Friday’s concert complained about the lack of water and the extreme heat. The heat index, a measure of how hot the air feels due to humidity, reached 139 degrees Fahrenheit, a record for Rio.
In an online post, Swift said she was “devastated” by her fan’s death. “I’m not going to be able to talk about it from the stage because I feel overwhelmed with grief whenever I try to talk about it,” she said.
Luiza Guimarães, a 33-year-old economist, said she was disappointed that it took so long to cancel Saturday’s show because some fans were already unsure whether the show would continue after Benevides’ death and were worried about the heat. “Really, the production of the show was very reckless and everything was handled very poorly,” she said.
Guimarães said she didn’t blame Swift for the problems and thought the musician must be “very, very discouraged.”
The report was provided by Genevieve Glatsky in Rio de Janeiro and Jack Nicas in Buenos Aires.