Madonna and concert promoter Live Nation are pushing back against a lawsuit from disappointed fans who lamented the late start of her Celebration Tour launch in Brooklyn last month.
New York City residents Michael Fellows and Jonathan Hadden accused the Material Girl, Barclays Center and Live Nation of false advertisement and breach of contract in a lawsuit filed in Brooklyn federal court last week — a lawsuit that Madonna and Live Nation vow to fight "vigorously."
"Madonna’s just completed, sold out 2023 Celebration Tour in Europe received rave reviews. The shows opened in North America at Barclays in Brooklyn as planned, with the exception of a technical issue December 13th during sound check. This caused a delay that was well documented in press reports at the time," Madonna's management team and Live Nation said Thursday in a statement to The Times.
"We intend to defend this case vigorously," they added.
The “Like a Virgin” and “Like a Prayer” hitmaker upset an arena full of fans in December when she started a pivotal Celebration tour concert about an hour later than usual. The superstar kicked off the U.S. leg of her retrospective tour at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Dec. 13 close to 11 p.m. — several hours after doors opened.
Fans took to social media to air their grievances for nearly three hours while they waited for the “Vogue” singer to appear. Some called her rude, others demanded refunds and another reported that the crowd of 14,000 started chanting “b—” as the minutes ticked by.
The seven-time Grammy winner had been dealing with sound issues ahead of the performance and was doing sound checks until doors opened at 7:30 p.m., a person close to her who was not authorized to comment told The Times at the time. Madonna usually takes the stage around 9:30 or 10 p.m. most nights after a DJ warms up the crowd. She took the stage that night at about 10:50 p.m. and the show ended around 2 a.m.
Madonna — who had rescheduled the entire tour during her sudden hospitalization over the summer — did not acknowledge her tardiness during the sold-out show, but at one point she asked members of the audience if they could hear her given the sound issues she had been contending with earlier. Otherwise, the singer was stoked to be back in the city that launched her career.
Weeks later, two of those concertgoers filed a lawsuit against Madonna, the venue and the promoter.
Fellows and Hadden claimed in the lawsuit, obtained by Variety, that they were “confronted with limited public transportation, limited ride-sharing, and/or increased public and private transportation costs” because their show on Dec. 13 ended past midnight.
“Madonna had demonstrated flippant difficulty in ensuring a timely or complete performance, and Defendants were aware that any statement as to a start time for a show constituted, at best, optimistic speculation,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit also made note of the pop superstar's "long history of arriving and starting her concerts late," adding that she also took the stage later than expected during her Dec. 14 and 16 concerts at the same venue. That, they argued, constituted "not just a breach of their contracts," but also "a wanton exercise in false advertising” and “negligent misrepresentation.” Because of that history, the plaintiffs are seeking class-action status for the lawsuit," Variety reported.
Madonna, who had been scheduled to perform a series of concerts at Crytpo.com Arena last October, has rebooked those shows at the Kia Forum in Inglewood on March 4, 5, 7, 9 and 11.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.