The Rolling Stones have arrived in Cuba to play a historic free gig Friday night in the country where their “subversive” music was once banned by the Communist ruling party. As many as a million people—one in every 11 Cubans—are expected to flock to the concert, which comes just three days after a groundbreaking visit to Havana by President Barack Obama. The show, a surprise addition at the end of the Rolling Stones’ Latin America tour, is being widely seen as a major step in Cuba’s emergence from years of cultural, ideological, and economic isolation. Sophisticated audio equipment is in such short supply in Cuba that staging the gig has meant the Stones have had to import gear in 61 sea containers and a packed Boeing 747. “We have performed in many special places during our long career, but this show in Havana will be a milestone for us, and, we hope, for all our friends in Cuba, too,” the band said in a statement released before the arrival.
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