Taylor Swift was greeted in Brazil on Thursday by a projection that made the world-famous Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro appear as if she were dressed in 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 her songs.
But that warm welcome was followed by tragedies and problems.
A fan died in the sweltering heat during Friday night’s show in Rio de Janeiro. At 11 a.m., Swift postponed her show from Saturday until Monday, to the dismay of thousands of fans who had already begun to fill the stadium. Military police said a fan who was in Rio de Janeiro for the regularly scheduled concert on Sunday was stabbed to death earlier that morning.
The deaths and other problems marked a departure from the triumphant first leg of Ms. Swift’s Eras tour, a career-spanning, record-breaking production in North America. As the tour’s second show approached in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday night, fans struggled with ruined travel plans, extreme heat and disappointment.
Anne Di Motta, 30, a psychologist from São Paulo, Brazil, was due to attend Saturday night’s show and said she would return home before the rescheduled concert on Monday because she had to work.
“I’ve spent the last 17 years waiting for the chance to go, to fulfill my teenage dream of meeting someone I’ve known since her first single,” Ms Di Motta said. “And sitting for three hours in a chair, completely drenched in sweat, having to overcome various personal challenges to be there completely alone, to receive the news that it was cancelled, was completely devastating.”
Saturday night’s show was postponed due to extreme temperatures, Swift said in an Instagram post hours before the concert began at an outdoor football stadium. “The safety and well-being of my fans, fellow artists and team has to and always will come first,” she said.
By that time, thousands of fans had traveled to see Ms. Swift, enduring the day’s peak heat, which reached 93 degrees Fahrenheit, or 33 degrees Celsius, before they were 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 shows came after Swift performed in Argentina, the first stop on the Eras Tour outside of North America. She had to move a show in Buenos Aires due to a storm. She plans to perform in São Paulo on November 24, 25 and 26, before traveling next year to cities in South America, Asia, Australia and Europe.
Social media influencer Julia Alvarenga was at the stadium when the concert was postponed and said so in a video. shared widely online who had arrived at the show at 11 am. “Taylor Swift, I’m wearing a geriatric diaper that doesn’t even fit,” Ms. Alvarenga said.
“I bought water, I bought a fan, everyone is crying, screaming, so you appear on this stage!” said Mrs. Alvarenga.
Gabriela Werner, 24, a marketing analyst, bought tickets to each show in Rio and two in São Paulo, and said she started preparing for the heat three months ago by working out in an unair-conditioned gym 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, Ms. Werner said the atmosphere was much calmer than at Friday’s show. “It’s not that hot and everyone is holding back because of the previous nights and everything that happened,” she said.
I didn’t expect Swift to return to Brazil. “I’m sure she’s traumatized,” Mrs. Werner said.
Mrs Werner, like many other fans, blamed the Brazilian company that organized the show, Time for Fun, for the problems. Wadih Damous, head of Brazil’s consumer protection agency, said the government would investigate Time for Fun. The company said Saturday it would add staff, provide free water and allow fans into the stadium with water and food.
As the crowd left the stadium Saturday night, there were reports of disturbances near the venue, police said.
After Matheus Duarte, 24, a warehouse worker, left the stadium and headed 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 people running desperate,” Duarte said. “And as soon as I saw him, I started running and hid in a parking lot.”
On Sunday, military police said there had been no reports of robberies or assaults the night before. But before Sunday’s concert, a concert fan in Rio de Janeiro was stabbed to death after an attempted robbery in Copacabana, the famous coastal strip, 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 program, Ana Clara Benevides, 23, died after losing consciousness, authorities said. She was pronounced dead from cardiac arrest after being taken to a hospital, according to city officials and the Brazilian company that organized Swift’s show, Time for Fun.
Benevides, a psychology student, had traveled from Rondonópolis, which is about 1,400 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 outfit for the concert “for more than a month.”
On X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, Ms. Benevides shared her excitement about the concert, writing in November 7 “I don’t know what my purpose in life will be after seeing Taylor.”
Fans who attended Friday’s concert complained about the lack of water and 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 this from the stage because I feel overwhelmed with grief when 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 no longer sure whether it would continue after Benevides’ death and were worried about the heat. “The production of the show was really very reckless and everything was very poorly managed,” she said.
Guimarães said he does not blame Swift for the problems and that he thought the musician must be “very, very discouraged.”
Jack Nicas contributed reports from Buenos Aires.