New York songwriter Billy Joel and Canadian rocker Bryan Adams took the stage just outside the Colosseum and performed classic hits to the delight of hundreds of thousands of fans.

Organizers put the number of people who had turned up for the free concert Monday night at half a million.

Joel, playing in front of a Colosseum lit up with purple and yellow lights, performed old favorites like"New York State of Mind,""Honesty"and"Just the Way You Are."

While introducing one song he joked in shaky Italian,"This song is as old as the Colosseum."

Adams, opening the concert, performed classics such as"Run to You."

Giant screens were set up along Via dei Fori Imperiali, the large boulevard that leads to the Colosseum and is lined with ancient Roman relics, for the throngs of people who could not see the stage.

The concert in front of the Colosseum has become a fixture of recent years in Rome. Previous performers include Paul McCartney and Simon&Garfunkel.

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