Watch Gisele lose it during the Rio Olympics opening ceremony (and other musical highlights)
Percussion thumped as if in perpetual motion inside Maracana Stadium in Rio for the opening of the 2016 Olympics.
But would Brazil have it any other way?
While athletes from around the world entered the arena as part of the Parade of Nations, drummers and bell-shakers dressed in vibrant-colored tuxedos and matching face paint pounded out a rhythm. Audience members got onstage samba lessons and erupted with joy during musical interludes. The beat kept moving.
Pomp of such magnitude can’t exist without music, and this being Brazil, the samba and its many variants drove the night. But so did jumping up and down while screaming along to Jorge Ben Jor.
Just ask supermodel Gisele Bundchen, whose work bouncing in the crowd nearly eclipsed her catwalk entrance (which was accompanied by “The Girl From Ipanema”).
Earlier in the evening, the country celebrated its heritage through a visual history lesson that opened with the singing of the Brazilian national anthem. Samba star Paulinho da Viola, in a vivid blue suit, performed the song, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar as a string section offered backing.
Other performers during the opening party included a hip-hop duet between 12-year-old rapper MC Soffia and Karol Conká, who wore matching pink hair and wildly original outfits. As well, the Rio-born rapper Marcelo D2 teamed with veteran crooner Zeca Pagodinho.
Most ridiculous, though, was the moment that got Gisele and most of the crowd at Maracana Stadium dancing. The exuberant performance by Jorge Ben Jor of his song “Pais Tropical,” accompanied by a choreographed dance piece featured hundreds of afro-wigged dancers strutting and jiggling. It was the kind of over-the-top extravaganza normally seen during a parody dance number on “The Simpsons.”
After the Parade of Nations and the formal part of the ceremony, the stadium busted out in a party as speeches gave way to celebration. Leading the charge: singers Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, a bunch of samba dancers and the Brazilian pop star Anitta.
As the party inside the stadium concluded about five hours later, the percussion kept banging, urging revelers into the streets and no doubt guiding them to the clubs. That volume of energy, after all, needs a few hours to dissipate.
There’s a lot of terrible music out there. For tips on the stuff that’s not, follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit
From the Emmys to the Oscars.
Get our revamped Envelope newsletter, sent twice a week, for exclusive awards season coverage, behind-the-scenes insights and columnist Glenn Whipp’s commentary.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.