Madonna’s Famed “Tardiness” on Tours Now Subject of Lawsuit

Madonna from “Crave,” featuring Swae Lee, from her “Madame X” album. / Image via UMG-Interscope (screen grab).

Madonna is a celebrated live entertainer in part for her theatricality, as well as for the elaborate set designs and dance sequences she stages.

She’s also notorious for late-starting shows. (I can attest to that: One of the Phoenix shows of her excellent 2015 “Rebel Heart Tour” started around two hours later than scheduled.)

One Florida fan, Nate Hollander, apparently had enough of Madonna’s “tardiness.” As NBC News reported yesterday, Mr. Hollander has filed a class action lawsuit against the star and Live Nation, seeking a full refund of tickets he purchased for next month’s Miami Beach show.

Some stops from the ongoing “Madame X” tour have received rave reviews. Leslie Katz, writing for San Francisco’s Examiner, largely praised Madonna’s “intimate” three-night stop in the Bay Area, which let fans feel closer to the megastar than past arena tours allowed, but without sacrificing the spectacle for which her live performances became well known.

Other reviews of the SF shows underlined Madonna’s delayed starts (as late as an 11:10 p.m. opening for one SF performance), and her Vegas appearance this week left some fans enraged. 

As NBC’s Minyvonne Burke reports, Hollander filed the lawsuit “after [the start-time] was pushed back by two hours,” to 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 17, 2019. 

The complaint explains that

[At] the start of the tour, which kicked off in September, Madonna repeatedly arrived hours late to her shows.

The singer, 61, has a “long history of arriving and starting her concerts late” and to accommodate her tardiness her shows, including the Miami Beach one.

Since Mr. Hollander’s suit was filed, several others have joined the class action.

“A Queen Is Never Late”

Thus went Madonna’s explanation to a Las Vegas audience a little after midnight on Friday morning, where she started (again) hours after schedule. The artist shared a clip of the moment via Twitter:

CBS affiliate News3LV reported that many fans were not having it, and their protests led to “more than 500 refunds” for the single show.

Late starts can be irritating—and Hollander being out of just over $1,000 for tickets he can’t use is beyond merely unfortunate; it’s an excessive loss he and others likely cannot recover through resales in full—yet the breach-of-contract basis of the suit may not work out for the plaintiffs here. 

As all first-year law students are taught, there’s a longstanding maxim in contract law: caveat emptor. “Buyer beware.” Hence, Madonna’s notoriety, which makes concertgoers “aware” ahead of time, could work against Hollander and others. We shall see.

Madonna’s next “X” tour show is scheduled for tonight at the Las Vegas Colosseum.

For anyone planning to attend, take the “10:30 p.m.” listed start time with a grain of salt — and maybe really take your time getting there.

What do you think? Is a late start part of the package deal, or has the artist stepped totally over the line? Let us know in the comments below.

(Sources: SF Examiner, NBC News, CNN, News3LV)

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