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by Mick the Ram
Two New Yorkers have brought a class action lawsuit against pop icon Madonna, alleging that because the superstar started a concert that they attended over two hours late, it represented amongst other things, a breach of contract.
Residents Michael Fellows and Jonathan Hadden had brought tickets for the show, which was part of her Celebration Tour, taking place on 13 December last year. It was advertised with an 8.30pm start time, but Madonna did not actually take to the stage until 10.45pm.
This meant that concert did not finish until around 1.00am on the 14th. The two men argue that this constitutes “false advertising, negligent misrepresentation, and unfair and deceptive trade practices” by not only the singer – who is listed as a defendant under the name Madonna Louise Ciccone – but also promoter Live Nation and venue the Barclay Center.
They point to the late finish resulting in concertgoers being “confronted with limited public transportation, limited ride-sharing, and/or increased public and private transportation costs”.
The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages.
The concert was the first of three sold-out shows at the venue, forming part of her North American tour, which is set to run through until April this year.
Mr Fellows, who paid $155.90 for his ticket, and Mr Hadden, who bought two tickets for $292.50, claim that because the event took place on a midweek night, they were further inconvenienced as “they had to get up early to go to work and/or take care of their family responsibilities the next day.”
“Actual” harm suffered
They have asked for the case to be heard by a jury. Their lawyers, Richard Klass and Marcus Corwin will state that their clients “would not have paid for tickets” had they known it would finish so late.
They will also put forward an argument that the two men have “suffered actual harm” because of Madonna’s lateness which include, but are “not limited” to, “annoyance, harassment, time, frustration and anger”.
Never been known for punctuality
Part of the defence is likely to point to the fact that the Queen of Pop – as she has become known – is characteristically late for her performances, and fans have become used to it, almost expecting it, many would say.
Indeed, she faced a previous lawsuit which was dismissed and reference it to a Las Vegas audience in 2019, confidently stating that “a queen is never late”.
Live Nation also have experienced lawsuits in the past for a range of issues, such as unruly crowd behaviour and equipment failures, but this will have come as a surprise to them and have so far made no comment.
40 years in the business
The show was part of the star’s Celebration Tour, put together to mark her 40 years in the music industry and showcase all her greatest hits. It had been due to start in Canada, but that was postponed when the singer contracted a serious bacterial infection.
This meant that the opening gig actually took place at London’s O2 Arena in October 2023. Since then delayed starts have become a reoccurring theme, as she moves from venue to venue. In her early January shows in Boston, Toronto and Detroit, she has taken to the stage any time between 9.50pm and 10.30pm.
The documents presented at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York say that Madonna “demonstrated flippant difficulty in ensuring a timely or complete performance” and highlighted that the start time of 8.30pm was essentially, “optimistic speculation”.
The vast majority of fans who have spoken to the media after those concerts have said the expected her to appear much later than advertised.