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)

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

  1. Saw her in Seattle a few years ago Started around 10:30 for an 8:00 show. Oh it was a Tuesday night and most of us had to work the next day. Terrible sound, derivative staging. $150 for nosebleed seats I’m still mad Never again. She’s made all the money she’s ever going to get from me.

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  2. I have no personal axe to grind with Madonna. However, if the start time on the ticket says 8:30 or 9:00, she should start as close to that time as possible. Has she EVER on this tour started anywhere close to “on time”? I have no idea, but my suspicion is that she has not, because she doesn’t apparently respect that ordinary people have jobs to go to the next day, baby sitters to get back home to, and last trains to get. Some parking lots even shut down after midnight – and then you are truly screwed. I have no desire to sit twiddling my thumbs in an auditorium.

    So you are faced with the dilemma of whether to show up late in the expectation that Madonna will be outrageously tardy, or do you go on time and sit doing next to nothing for two hours, paying high prices for shitty food from the concession stands.

    Caveat Emptor be damned – I consider the ticket a contract to show up at the time stated. It would be understandable if her extreme tardiness was a one-off technical hitch-driven issue, but she is habitually super late and she needs to pay a price for this, as anyone doing their regular job is forced to do.

    If cities and venues can fine performers for extending beyond a curfew, why shouldn’t fans have the same power to demand respect and adherence to the stated start time?

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  3. All these complains abouyt her being late like your eally have soemthing really to go home and do. Everyone is soo offened now days it beyoen words

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  4. People take themselves far too seriously…including Madonna herself, of course. But consumer on-demand culture has created consumptive monsters–everything has to be new and now and bigger and more. It’s killing both civility and the species. I don’t see Madonna’s tardiness as the issue…except as it reflects a certain toxic narcissism at the core of modernity. We’ve forgotten how to take a step back and remind ourselves of our extreme blessings. 75% of the Earth’s population will never be able to afford access to a pop music concert.

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  5. Total disrespect for her fans. Along with being late she has the heat turned up in the theatre so high that people get sick. Ridiculous. Show some respect and humility please.

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  6. Madonna is a joke and has been one for the last 20 years. She has forgotten her humility. She’s where she is because of her fans. I hope this lawsuit succeeds where she clearly fails.

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  7. Madonna has too many people around her telling her everything she does is amazing. They are afraid to tell her she sucks . She’s hasn’t access to every song writer out there, and in every aspect of Entertainment. She needs someone around her to tell her the last 3 CDs are crap…. And to be honest with her .

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