Tonight’s concert is the last of four very happy nights for the band, touring party and, I hope, all who have attended the shows in Brazil. This one is in Brazil’s most southern state, Rio Grande do Sul, in the port city and Gaúcho capital, Porto Alegre.
Once more it takes place in another impressive modern footballing temple, the Arena do Grêmio, home of Grêmio Football Porto Alegrense. One of the largest and most modern multi-purpose sports arenas, it opened in December 2012. Like Sao Paulo’s Allianz Parque, the state-of-the art venue, which has a capacity of 60,540 seats (and also recycles its rainwater), is another Stadium of the Year winner.
It’s a very blue stadium; even its roof is made of blue glass (the club colours are blue, black and white).
The most recent rock concert to be held here was by Pearl Jam just last month.
Curitiba was idyllic. Porto Alegre seems similarly tranquil with its tree-lined streets of fine neoclassical architecture, many rivers and sprawling parkland. It boasts an attractive Windmills district, Moinhos de Vento – the windmills originally ground wheat in the eighteenth century.
If I may add, Porto Alegre is also the birthplace of one of my heroes: environmental activist José Lutzenberger, later Brazil’s Environment Minister, who, in 1971, co-founded the country’s first non-governmental organisation committed to ecological issues. Chico Mendes Park, south-east of the Arena, is named in memory of another: Chico Mendes, the union activist and environmental campaigner assassinated by a rancher in 1988 because of his work to protect the Amazon against deforestation.
Expect the skyline of this very and proudly green city to be bathed in blue light tonight. If you are heading to the stadium later, do let us know and have a lovely time; we look forward to hearing all about it.