Madonna responds to late concert lawsuit with statement that her tour was sold out

I’m calling it right now: this Madonna late concert lawsuit has all the makings of being the next Gwyneth ski trial. As we discussed on Wednesday, Madonna is being sued by ticket holders who went to her Celebration Tour concert in Brooklyn last December, for starting the show over two hours late. They were left “stranded!” in downtown Brooklyn (above 11 separate subway lines). These people had to work the next day — before noon! Here’s the thing, I agree that it’s despicable for Madonna to disrespect her paying fans’ time for hours on end, especially given her history of charging backup dancers $100 a minute for being late to rehearsals. I’m on the side of the concertgoers. But they keep saying too much and making their own case sound bad, in my opinion. The latest development is that Madonna’s team has made their first comments on the lawsuit:

Flippant difficulty: Madonna is being called to task by a pair of ticketholders for exhibiting ‘flippant difficulty’ in starting her recent string of Brooklyn “Celebration Tour” concerts on time, court records show. A lawsuit against the entertainer filed Wednesday, January 17 in New York, and obtained by CNN the next day, accused her of false advertising and negligent misrepresentation after the singer started her concerts at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center last month after 10:30pm on all three nights, when the tickets advertised that the shows would start at 8:30pm.

Significant inconvenience: The suit claims that most concertgoers left the venue after 1am each night, causing them significant inconvenience, including being “confronted with limited public transportation, limited ride-sharing, and/or increased public and private transportation costs at that late hour… In addition, many ticketholders who attended concerts on a weeknight had to get up early to go to work and/or take care of their family responsibilities the next day,” the complaint read.

Defendants & plaintiffs: The lawsuit cites Madonna as a defendant, along with tour operator and promoter Live Nation Worldwide, Inc; Live Nation M Tours; and Brooklyn Events Center, LLC, which does business as Barclays Center. The proposed class of plaintiffs includes ticketholders for her tour throughout the US, and the plaintiffs are asking for an undisclosed amount in damages to be determined at trial.

Consequential damages: “Defendants have collected money for concert tickets from Plaintiffs and other Class Members who reasonably believed the Concerts would promptly begin at 8:30 p.m. Had Plaintiffs and other Class Members known that the Concerts would start after 10:30 p.m., they never would have agreed to purchase the tickets,” the complaint read. The plaintiffs involved in the proposed class action “demand judgment against Defendants for actual and consequential damages.”

Team Madge responds: “Madonna’s just completed, sold out 2023 Celebration Tour in Europe received rave reviews,” a joint statement from Live Nation and Madonna’s management shared with CNN on Wednesday read. “The shows opened in North America at Barclays in Brooklyn as planned, with the exception of a technical issue December 13th during soundcheck. This caused a delay that was well documented in press reports at the time… We intend to defend this case vigorously,” the statement concluded.

[From CNN]

Am I crazy (don’t answer that) or is this statement from Madonna’s people just as spotty as the claims from the concertgoers? I guess you could say the opposing sides are well matched in that sense. Taking it from the top: “Madonna’s just completed, sold out 2023 Celebration Tour in Europe received rave reviews…” The reviews are irrelevant to the case, unless there’s a rule somewhere that you can hold up a show for hours as long as it’s good or well-reviewed. And as for touting that the tour was sold out, that’s like highlighting for the plaintiffs that they can squeeze her for hefty damages. Moving on, if the delay was down to a technical gaffe during soundcheck, why wasn’t the soundcheck done earlier? That’s just stage management 101. And for the life of me I cannot understand what they’re aiming for by saying the delay was “well documented in press reports at the time.” How does this help her defense? Are they suggesting it’s old news? Cause the suit was filed only one month later, a month in which there were major holidays.

Yeah, so legally I’m disappointed by the arguments from both sides so far. The ticket holders should have simply said “The show started over two hours late, as was well documented,” and Madonna’s team should have left it at “We intend to defend this case vigorously.” But as an audience member, I am sufficiently intrigued by this teaser trailer and am eager to binge on the full series when it airs in a courtroom some time this year. Of course the perfect pilot episode would be Madonna arriving at court… two hours late.

Photos credit: Papculture/Backgrid

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60 Responses to “Madonna responds to late concert lawsuit with statement that her tour was sold out”

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  1. MichaelaCat says:

    Madonna and her people were in the wrong, not the concert goers.

    So it’s not a “both sides have issues” thing for me.

    • Mc says:

      I’m glad concert goers are suing, even if they likely won’t win. I’m sick of musicians thinking their time is worth more than fans time.

      I doubt Dolly would pull this ish.

      • MY3CENTS says:

        Taylor Swift which currently has the most successful tour starts her shows one time. 3.5 hour shows.
        Everyone should treat their fans with respect.

      • Ivan says:

        Well written! Quite amusing commentary about another self indulgent affluent popstar out of touch with what it means to be a fan. She should have apologized promptly and made some sort of conciliatory gesture like special vip setup after the tour ends.

    • ML says:

      MichaelaCat, ITA. I live in Europe (the NLs) and people were -pissed off- that she started so late. Lots of people here are actually dependent on public transportation and not everyone has (access to) a car—there’s a strong bicycle culture here. Madonna was panned for being late to the first concert and just repeated her behavior. The fans have an excellent point, and for someone who punishes people who work for her for being late, this is really crappy behavior.

      • kirk says:

        So Madonna was late in NY, late in NL, late in London, and possibly elsewhere. Soundcheck excuse is just evidence of her lackadaisacal approach. The NL Times article you posted said, “Festival organizer MOJO had already warned fans of possible delays before the concert as Madonna has often started her concerts later than planned recently.” Wonder if Live Nation has also “warned fans” of Madonna’s laggard behavior? Not sure what the lawsuit is asking for; damages can’t be that high. Still, to point to presence of subway lines does not negate the claim; it is foolish to expect that all trains run all hours, even on weeknights, or that they always go to the end of the line and make all stops.

      • ML says:

        Kirk, Yup. The fans were warned, but, you know considering the woman charges hundreds of euros for her tickets…I just think it’s gross. She performed on the 1st & 2nd of December. There was a lot of criticism and she did exactly the same thing the next night.

    • Kirsten says:

      Starting this late is also completely inconsiderate of everyone working on the tour and at the venue. The people working on the tour have to work well past the end of the show to take down and pack the equipment and then get on buses, travel to the next venue and start work all over again.

      • Eurydice says:

        The box office has to stay open late for the people who know to arrive late. Security, intake, outtake, stage manager, housekeeping, all have to work extra hours. Union people have to be paid overtime, not just pay but also pension and health insurance.

    • SarahLee says:

      It also hasn’t just been the one show with a soundcheck issue. The lateness has been out there enough that I don’t think I would go expecting the show to start before 10. I’m guessing it takes a whole army to fluff Madonna up and stuff her into these costumes.

    • Kitten says:

      Yup she is 100% in the wrong. I was invited to see her at the Garden because a company I work with rented a box but I passed on it PRECISELY because of this, It was a Monday night–I’m not trying to get home at 1AM!
      But yeah, she is KNOWN for being late and having essentially zero respect for her fans’ time.

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        This – its esp triggering given how much she scam’s fan for tickets. Her concert tickets prices are astronomically high, even the cheap seats at the back.

    • StillDouchesOfCambridge says:

      I hope the concertgoers win. If you know you’re starting at 10:30, it should be on the ticket. Madonna’s minutes in a day are just as valuable as anybody’s minutes in a day. Pay up. That’ll teach all the others to respect fans and customers. To have 2 hours late and blame it on tech is straight up incompetence. To successful famous celebrities in the entertainment industry: we made you. Stop thinking you’re all that. Your talent is something, your voice is something, but it isn’t everything. Have some respect for others.

  2. BlueNailsBetty says:

    Doesn’t she have a history of starting late? Am I misremembering that?

    • MY3CENTS says:

      Yes she’s notorious for it. I think there’s reports of one concert that started 3 hours late. This is not a one time emergency instance
      This is just disrespectful.

    • MaryContrary says:

      Yes-but I swear it’s a more recent thing. Like years ago I seem to remember she was always on time.

      • AJ says:

        Not that recent. I saw her on the Confessions tour (so like maybe 2006?) and she was at least 2 hours late. She also shuts off the AC because it affects her voice. It was May and so uncomfortably hot inside the Garden.

  3. Kokiri says:

    Easy solution Madge: start on time

    Regardless of subways, Ubers, working the next day, the fact remains that other people’s time is important too. Just as important as Madge’s.

    Though I am a stickler about time keeping. Be on time (or early). Keeping people waiting is disrespectful.

  4. Minnieder says:

    I thought there were several instances where she started 2 to 3 hours late. Am I remembering that correctly? Depending on the venue, a concert has to stop at a set time, regardless of when it starts.

  5. mellie says:

    I’m with the ticketholders too. I’m 52 years old, if an event is going to start at 8:30, ok, I’m in, however, if it starts at 10:30 p.m., I’m out, that’s my bedtime! I wouldn’t have bought tickets had I known that either. She needs to cater to her target audience, which is probably 40-50 somethings, no matter how much she’d like to think otherwise.

    • Turtledove says:

      Agree with all you said, Mellie.

      I would likely pass on tix for a 10:30pm show. And for me, the issue here isn’t JUST that she started so late and caused those domino effects of post-event transportation, being exhausted the next day etc. But her starting late means people waited around for hours. I can picture myself sitting there, yawning and trying to keep myself awake waiting for her to take the stage. That window of waiting would have really pissed me off.

      For her to blame it on sound check when there are reports of this extreme lateness at many of her shows/different venues? She’s supposed to be a professional, act like one.

    • D says:

      Exactly! Her true fans are middle aged and older, they are not people who typically stay out until 2am on a Monday. They have to sit for several hours waiting for an artist to get their act together to start a show that probably cost a few hundred to attend? And Kismit jokes about all the subways however doesn’t mention the fact that Brooklyn trains tend to run late and spotty but especially late at night. So if you have to take a subway to a commuter train back in Manhattan you are basically out of luck and have to Uber home. Maybe her team lies to her and says the audience is full of 25 year olds?

  6. bisynaptic says:

    I don’t see the problem with the plaintiffs’ arguments. Late-night transportation in outer-borough NYC is very dodgy.

  7. Becks1 says:

    The ticketholders have to prove that they were hurt by her tardiness. It’s not enough to just say someone did X, you to have argue why X injured you. I can’t sue the local coffee shop for having an icy front walk if I didn’t slip on it and hurt myself.

    So from that perspective, it makes perfect sense why they’re bringing up the transportation and childcare/work the next day. There’s a big difference between going to a concert that you think is going to start at 830, maybe even 9, where you think you’ll be home by midnight, and going to a concert that starts at 1030 that puts you home at 2 am.

    Madonna’s response is just weird though. Its like she’s saying because it was sold out no one else must have cared about her lateness.

    • Dutch says:

      In the coverage the day after, the chief fan complaint appeared to be about having to bail out of the concert early because the trains stopped running at 12:30

  8. Dutch says:

    Madonna and her people seem to also be misremembering the timing of events. The sound check issues were her well publicized excuse for her tardiness AFTER the concert was over not before it began. Plus they claimed it started only an hour late, not 2 to 2.5 hours late as fans are alleging

  9. Chaine says:

    For someone who did not attend the sold out tour, is that Amy Schumer? What are they doing?

    • Pomski says:

      As someone who did attend the not sold out tour, Madge does a dance competition and brings a celeb on stage to help her judge. My show had Santa Claus.

  10. Bad Janet says:

    Their case is weak and I doubt they’ll win, but they’re trying to make a point and I appreciate it. Madonna is notorious for this (which weakens the argument that they couldn’t predict this outcome). Sound check my ass. She couldn’t be bothered.

  11. Lolo86lf says:

    It would be best if Madonna just returned the ticket money to those people. She started 2 hours late ffs. They are unhappy customers who deserve their money refunded to them. Her tour being sold out has nothing to do with her show starting so late.

  12. Ameerah M says:

    Ugh…Amy Schumer’s evil a$$ in that top photo…I honestly think this will end in a settlement and all parties will go about their lives.

  13. Duchess of Corolla says:

    Just an unrelated comment that the one photo in the blue corset ensemble totally gives Grey Gardens vibes. With the headpiece, she screams Edith Bouvier Beale.

  14. DaveW says:

    Echoing those who think it’s disrespectful, especially as she’s so known for her discipline, keeping her staff on task, etc. and will be interesting to see how the case unfolds.

    Also curious, if anyone has seen one of the concerts in this tour, is it really that good? I’ve seen a few clips from people who are major fans and yes, there’s the usual spectacle you’d expect but Madonna almost looks like she is in pain, isn’t really dancing or moving well at all. I kept thinking put on some platform sneakers or something because she seemed cautious in the heels.

    • StarWonderful says:

      So, Madonna almost died this summer and after a short recover of only a few months rearranged the dates to her concert tour. From fans and reviews, I hear the tour is awesome. Her shows are legendary for a reason.

  15. Raven says:

    The energy I’m getting from Madonna statement is that she is late on purpose because she likes to make an entrance.

  16. Sheri says:

    I remember when she was going to tour a few years ago. The venues were offering tickets starting at $20 and still were not able to sell them. That is $20 more than I would personally pay to see the old bat but I guess she still has some fans.

  17. Concern Fae says:

    Localities need to start enforcing hard stop times on large concerts and other events, especially when the audience will be using public transportation. It’s a safety issue. I remember reading that Lana Del Ray got her sound cut at Glastonbury because she went over time.

    • D says:

      I think many outdoor venues are on strict schedules and are more likely to stick to start times. Indoor venues need to do the same.

    • TIFFANY says:

      Some do. I went to a concert within a county ordinance that had concerts shut down at 11pm due to traffic control. The act that I went to see knew this and purposely kept us waiting for 2.5 hours and was only on stage for 45 minutes.

      I have never supported them again.

  18. [insert_catchy_name] says:

    I’ve recently been to a few big concerts in Germany and Switzerland, and they all started on time…. Not sure if it is the artists or the culture of the country (stadium) that were responsible for that…

    • Coco Bean says:

      I was at a sold out Depeche Mode Concert in San Francisco a couple months ago for over 19,000 people. They always start on time, down to the same few minutes for each show. I can’t remember the last concert I went to where they started late or were intentionally rude to their fans.

      • Louisa says:

        I saw DM at Madison Sq Garden in Oct and it was fantastic! I rarely go to concerts anymore mainly because at 53 yo I need my sleep so staying out past midnight is just not fun anymore! But I made the exception for them and yes, they started bang on time and I was home in bed by 12 🙂

      • GamerGrrl says:

        Same with Duran Duran – they had two openers, 7 pm start. Chic hit the stage at 6:59 pm, second act started 8:15, Duran Duran was on stage by 9:15. We were out the door and on our way home by 11 pm. It was glorious.

  19. TIFFANY says:

    When I went to see Elton John, I received a email with an update, and it stated that Elton will be on stage at 7:30pm, no if, ands or buts so get there on time for the show. Guess what? Everyone was there, in their seats or on the floor, on time.

    When I went to Bey’s show, I got a updated email pushing the show back an hour. Basically, she will be on stage at 9pm, instead of 8pm. Again, we knew.

    It’s almost a joke to Madonna at this point it feels. If the time is going to change, send out a email stating as such.

    They already got the tickets and want to come. Just show some courtesy to the people who traveled and commuted to see you.

  20. Jason says:

    I am going to the show in Miami in April but her show is not “sold out”. You can still get tickets in many cities including here in Seattle. She should have sounded a little contrite at least. Smmfh

  21. Gisby says:

    She seems to be wearing those outfits thirty years too late.

    • Jayna says:

      Her outfits in this concert are so beautiful as far as the detail and the little nods to other eras. So I think differently. I thought Madonna had destroyed her body and face with horrible plastic surgery, but she looks more like Madonna again. And she looks fantastic in those outfits.

      I saw Cher when she was about age 70 in skimpy pop outfits and she rocked them. And for the people who said she was too old, boo.

      • Bettyrose says:

        No such thing as too old. That’s a myth perpetuated by a billion dollar industry to sell us “age defying” products. But Madonna’s extreme cosmetic procedures are a different story. She’s eternally chasing youth rather than rockin’ her natural awesomeness. Still, I’m grateful for her and Cher and all the women who’ve normalized being sexy with age, as I fully plan to be (not so much with public lingerie but I’m not a performer).

  22. Sara says:

    What would happen if all the concert goers went to the box office and demanded refunds when she’s severely late? If nothing else the concert promoters might start fining Madonna like she fines her dancers. That might work

  23. Pittie Mom says:

    She started in Philly last night after 10 pm (scheduled show time 8:30) citing “weather.”

    There were intermittent rain showers yesterday and last evening.

  24. JC says:

    I dunno – are we surprised? at least she doesn’t constantly cancel last minute like Moz

  25. Kate says:

    Of course it’s super annoying/frustrating when she starts late. But what in the world are the damages they are suing for? The cost of the surge Uber fare and the extra espresso shot they had to get in their coffees the next day? Were they really harmed or just inconvenienced?

    If we can’t sue airlines for every delayed flight I can’t see how they are going to be able to win anything for a delayed concert.

  26. StarWonderful says:

    Two articles here on Madonna’s tardiness, but nary an article on Madonna almost dying last summer — or did I miss that article?

    • kirk says:

      Check the Celebitchy archives “on Madonna almost dying last summer”: posting dates 6/29/23, 6/30/23, 7/13/23, 8/1/23, 12/20/23 and possibly others.

      Specifically, the 7/13/23 post stated: “they probably wouldn’t have made any kind of announcement but for the 40 date Celebration tour she was due to begin in mid July. By the end of June Madonna was cleared to go home to continue her recovery, but there were concerns that she would start to do too much too soon to get the tour back on track. Now Madonna has taken to Instagram herself to thank everyone for their well wishes and to confirm that her Celebration tour would begin in October.”

      Perhaps this would be a good time for her to regroup and postpone or cancel the remaining dates. Doesn’t sound like she’s gotten “the tour back on track” as well as she may like.

      • Jayna says:

        She doesn’t need to regroup or cancel this tour. The tour is amazing, brilliant, and artistic, and Madonna is doing better and better on stage as it goes along. They’ve worked around her hip and knee problems and weakness from her illness as far as how they’ve set it up. She is really enjoying herself on this tour.

        She would have been this late even if her illness had never happened. I remember as far back as 2012 when it became the norm that she was consistently going on very late. I remember Guy Oseary, her manager, trying to get her out sooner because of all of the complaints. She ignored him.

        While I understand that at age 65 putting on a pop show isn’t like the Madonna of 45 regarding her aches and chronic pain from old injuries, and the toll a tour like this can take, especially after such an illness, but ultimately that isn’t the main reason she is going on so late. It truly is just her arrogance.

        Having said that, as posted on another thread, I’m even going to a second show. I love this tour. It’s a retrospective of her career musically. Stuart Price’s mixes are stunning.

        I am making an exception regarding her unacceptable lateness for this tour, because I am emotional about this tour. It’s worth it to me. I know she won’t be around forever, and this concert is magical and sentimental for me, and there really is a warmth from her in this show. Too bad that warmth toward her audience didn’t translate into showing up by at least 9:30 for her shows. Oh, well. I get why many won’t go because of it.

      • StarWonderful says:

        Thank you,@Kirk. I was starting to wonder… I missed the article/links. (I’ll go back and check.) That said, I think it all comes down to the value a performance/artist/event has for the consumer. If it’s worth your time and effort, you’ll see the show regardless of the late star time. Generally, we expect events to start on time but some don’t. For example, movies never start as advertised. Should we sue? Or should we wait it out over inane commercials, etc. because the film is worth seeing? Madonna starts late, but she’ll give you a fantastic show every time. The question is Is it worth it to the consumer? Ticket sales, so far have not suffered for her ‘Celebration Tour.’ Maybe this suit will. Who knows. I’m looking forward to the show in February — and I’m factoring in the late time!

  27. Anonymous says:

    I saw her several years ago in New Orleans and she was about this late. I asked others around me if this was normal and they were like, ‘Yeah. It’s Madonna!’
    I hated the lateness, and her show was phoned in.
    The most recent concert I’d been to before that was Lady Gaga, who is not late and allergic to phoning in a performance.
    It’s just shitty to do that. If all of Metallica can show up at a decent time and give it everything, Madonna can.
    It feels like the other performers are appreciative to an audience for being there, Madonna felt like, ‘You are welcome, be appreciative I showed up at all for you.’

  28. LizzieB says:

    She’s notoriously late. Hours. Always has been. Incredible selfishness on her part. Exactly why we never went to see her in concert. That and her concerts were shown on HBO and they did a great job with sound.

  29. Khadi says:

    Of course her people are talking about the lawsuit and their comments are about same.
    Bottom line to me is some fans are disgusted generally being disrespected.

    Her and her people are still silent and make no apologies for Madonna’s extreme tardiness beginning her Concert. .

    I would think her people could cordially contact the fans who filed the lawsuit and maybe include a kind personal call from Madonna herself and the lawsuit would be dropped for a fee.
    She can afford that.

  30. Ann says:

    I think this case is absurd!