Night 17: Santiago

Tonight’s concert, I’m sad to say, is the last of the year in what has been a highly enjoyable visit to Latin America. But I’m happy to say that it’s the band’s first in Chile.

Not a new arena, this one (it opened in 1938), but certainly an iconic and historic one. The Estadio Nacional de Chile – or to give it its full title, Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos, having been renamed in 2008 in honour of the late sports commentator and journalist – is located in the Ñuñoa district of Santiago.

A long and distinguished list of performers have played here since 1989 – all the biggest names in music, basically. Most recent shows have been by Queen and Adam Lambert, Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam.

It hosted this year’s Copa América final (as it did the tournament in its previous format, the South American Football Championship, in 1941, 1945, 1955 and 1991) as well as the 1962 World Cup final.

Much more than a football ground, the stadium is part of a 62-hectare sporting complex; its tennis courts, athletics track, gymnasium and velodrome have been put to good use down the years, hosting the 1959 World Basketball Championship, the 1976 Davis Cup, the World Junior Championships in Athletics in 2000, and last year’s 2014 South American Games.

People also pack the stands for the finale of Chile’s annual Teletón charity event, a popular 27-hour telethon to raise funds in support of children with developmental disabilities.

Interestingly, a section of the stands retains its original wooden bench seating, and is always kept free, to serve as a sombre reminder of darker days.

Expect another vibrant crowd tonight. If you’ll be there, have a great time.