It’s been an amazing two weekends of music for our first trip to the United States, and the final day of Pop Weekend was no different. Artists from around the world came together in the City of Rock for soulful, hit-filled performances that brought out some of the most incredible energy of the entire festival.
Mikky Ekko and Mayer Hawthorne kicked off the day with stunning performances on the Evolution Stage. Mikky Ekko’s stunning vocals wowed the crowd, and Mayer Hawthorne’s soulful stomp rang across the festival grounds, perfectly matching the summer weather.
Many fans weren’t sure what to expect from Big Sean’s set, as he seemed like an outlier on the lineup. “You guys know I’m the only rapper on the bill, right?” he said, before proceeding to completely own the Main Stage crowd for a full hour. Hands were in the air and fists were pumping throughout the energetic set, as the Detroit-born rap star showed everyone in the City of Rock that he knew exactly what fans wanted to hear.
Our next two performances were all completely different styles, but the musicianship and showmanship were so good that it brought everyone together nonetheless. Canadian pop rock band MAGIC! played a set of smooth reggae anthems like “Rude” and “No Way No”, with lead singer Nasri Atweh swaying for literally the entire hour-long set.
Empire of the Sun took the whole crowd to another dimension, with huge production and dancing that matched their stadium-sized synthpop to Rock in Rio’s eager crowd. Smashing their guitars to pieces at the end of the set gave us a flashback to Rock Weekend.
As the sun began to set, we slowed it down a bit to help everyone get even deeper into the mood. Joss Stone brought incredibly soulful melodies to the massive crowd that had gathered around the Evolution Stage, working her way through brand new material, older hits, and even covers like “Some Kinda Wonderful”.
After her set, John Legend brought the whole crowd together with a set that mixed love anthems like “Ordinary People” and his mega-hit “All of Me” with civil rights anthems like Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” and his own Oscar-winning song “Glory”. He also stopped near the end of his set to dedicated the song “Lay Me Down” to his duet partner Sam Smith. It was a fitting tribute, as John brought members of the audience to tears over the moving track.
After an impressive fireworks show, Bruno Mars stepped onto the Main Stage and had the audience in the palm of his hand. His flawless musical and entertaining abilities easily showed why he was the perfect artist to close our final weekend of Rock in Rio USA 2015. Fireworks and pyro filled the sky throughout his performance, as tens of thousands in the audience sang and danced along to every note. It was a beautiful ending to a historic event.
We hope you had as good a time as we did at our first Rock in Rio USA. We want to thank the fans, artists, and staff that helped make this two weeks of music truly something that we’ll all remember for a long time. We’ll see you soon, America.