Remember When: The Rolling Stones Gave a Free, Record Breaking Performance in Havana, Cuba

It’s not everyday you play to 500,000 people. In fact, many musicians never get that honor. The Rolling Stones did so in 2016 in Havana, Cuba. The free, record breaking performance has gone down as one of their most iconic efforts. Revisit the show, below.

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Remember When: The Rolling Stones Gave a Free, Record-Breaking Performance in Havana, Cuba

The Stones achieved many firsts at the Ciudad Deportiva de la Habana sports complex. The show was the first open-air show from an English rock band in Cuba–not to mention the biggest rock show played in the area. Naturally, it has become a talking point in the case for The Stones being the biggest band ever.

Aside from sheer numbers, the show was culturally significant. The band’s heyday corresponded with the Cuban Missile Crises. Needless to say, any media from the U.S. (or U.S. adjacent) wasn’t tolerated in Cuba at that time. According to The Guardian, young Cubans stood by The Stones, sneaking their albums into their homes.

“It was so closed, but now it is incredible how much it has changed,” Enrique Plá, a famous Cuban rock drummer said of The Stones’ decision to play in Cuba. “By coming here, the Rolling Stones concert here will take that to another level. It will be a masterclass for all the musicians, artists and people of Cuba. I think the Rolling Stones will also learn something.”

“Rock ‘n’ roll is just one part of the cultural jigsaw,” Mick Jagger once added to the conversation. “You need all these parts, you need cultural and political exchanges on every level, and you need people to exchange their ideas. Popular culture, movies, music and television are all part of the dialogue.”

The fervor for the band was more than apparent. The massive show was captured in The Stones’ accompanying film Havana Moon. Anyone who has seen the film will know just how pleased the crowd was to see the iconic rockers.

If you haven’t yet seen it, check out a clip from Havana Moon, below.

(Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

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