Some Madonna fans are suing the “Material Girl” because they bought tickets and say she did not perform at the advertised start time. They claim when the concert was over they faced less choices to travel home and were faced with higher prices. The show started at 8:30 and Madonna took the stage at 10:45. The show ended at 1 AM. Madonna, Live Nation and Barclays Center are also being sued for “unconscionable, unfair, and/or deceptive trade practices” for promising the public that the concert would begin at 8:30 p.m. knowing that Madonna would not begin performing at the advertised start time. The pair is arguing there was a breach of contract. Madonna has a reputation for starting her concerts late. She has been sued in the past for this and has settled in the past.
There are things we do not know according to the article. Was there an opening act? It is my understanding that Madonna usually has a DJ open for her. When I buy tickets for a concert I don’t expect the headliner to hit the stage at the advertised time. I figure there will be at least one opening act. I like to see the opening act(s) but plenty of people do not and take their seats later than the scheduled start time with the understanding the start time is not when the headliner hits the stage but when the opening act hits the stage. Usually the opening act performs for thirty to sixty minutes. Then there is an intermission usually of roughly thirty minutes. By this calculation it is reasonable to expect Madonna to hit the stage around 10 PM. She hit the stage at 10:45 which is exceptionally late. In fact most shows are over around 11 PM because the artist pays for union over-time costs which are avoided if they finish by 11 PM.
Madonna is not the first and definitely will not be the last superstar to keep her audience waiting. Guns and Roses was famous for this which is a reason why I did not see them until they cut that crap out. I think we can all agree, at the very least it is disrespectful to the audience to willfully start the show late. Is that worth a lawsuit? Maybe.
Today, we all have the information available to us to find out if an artist is continuously starting their show late. If they are it is not a fluke, it is a trend. At that point you know exactly what you are getting into and should plan accordingly or do not attend the concert. When shows stop selling out artists will notice. If they continue to sell well it means enough people are willing to put up with the inconvenience and if you are not you can stay home. Nobody is forcing you to put up with an artist’s disrespect for their fans.
If the artist is known for starting late then you signed up for this nonsense. If the artist usually starts on time and they are late because of tech issues or they got held up and traffic well that sucks for everyone and I would file that under no fault.
Where I would make the artist liable is if they usually start on time but they don’t feel like starting this show on time. Get your ass out there. Or if they usually start the show on time but they are incapacitated due to drug or alcohol use. I am not talking about they are sick and took some medicine and they had an unforeseen negative reaction to the medicine. I am talking about they usually start at a certain time but are very late because tonight is the night they decided to get shit faced backstage. This is on the artist and I as a customer had no way of knowing you were going to start very late. You got reckless and I had no warning. In that case, I could see a class action suit for minimal damages. Not the price of the ticket. But maybe $20 as an inconvenience tax. Is that going to make anybody happy? No. Does it reward the artist who is perpetually late as there is an expectation we aren’t getting home any time soon? Perhaps but there are so many moving parts and so many reasons things go wrong at live events it is hard to hold the artist liable. The best advice I would give is if you can’t party late don’t go to the show where the artist refuses to party in what you consider a timely manner.