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Madonna, two hours late to her own gig? Believe me, I’ve seen far worse | Simon Price

LLast week, news broke that Madonna was sued by two New York fans who bought tickets for her show at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, which didn't start until 10:30 p.m., two hours later than the advertised time. Ta. It ends around 1am.

“Many of the ticket holders who attended the weeknight concerts had to wake up early the next day to go to work or attend to family responsibilities,” Michael Fellows and Jonathan Hadden's lawsuit states. It included the claim. The story was met with eye-rolling reactions in many quarters, pointing out that this is a crazed litigious American who has taken the “where there's blame, there's a charge” culture to absurd extremes. I had the feeling that this was just one example. But while it remains to be seen how this case will pan out in court, I think Mr. Fellows and Mr. Hadden may have a point.

Some musicians consider their job a lifelong vacation from responsibilities. Mean, mundane worries like having to work the next day, coming home in the middle of the night, and organizing childcare are for little people to worry about and for rebellious superstars. It's too ordinary. Punctuality doesn't suit your lifestyle. Punctuality is not punk. (Full disclosure: I'm not good at punctuality myself. I'm not proud of it, and I don't think it makes me rock 'n' roll.)

However, there are limits to what the audience can tolerate. Seasoned live attendees will know the unspoken rule that he usually adds 15 minutes to stage time to make sure everyone is in their seats. But once it gets past an hour, it turns from artistic whimsy to utter contempt.

Madonna's story unfolds against the backdrop of a changing late-night culture. Students and young people don't drink alcohol as much as they used to, and older people don't drink alcohol either. The nightclub industry has been hit hard by the reluctance to go out until stupid times. As the trend towards earlier lockdowns increases, London's legendary LGBTQ+ club Duckie recently ran a series of popular daytime events featuring actor Vicky McClure and her husband, producer, actor and writer Johnny. -Owen is attracting a lot of attention at the afternoon club “Day Fever''. , in Sheffield.

Axl Rose (left), who stands on stage at Glastonbury with his Guns N' Roses bandmate Slash in 2023, is notorious for being late to the clock. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

However, this is not the first time that viewers have complained about performers being late. Axl Rose is famous for his arrogance when it comes to time management. In 2012, I attended a Guns N' Roses gig in Newcastle, where he didn't get on stage until 10:45pm, probably too busy braiding cornrows and stuffing his face with pizza. Ta. There were boos upon his arrival, and many fans went home by the time the show ended at 1:40 a.m.

I don't blame them. I once left a secret Prince show at Bagley's Warehouse in London at 4 a.m., midway through an endless funk jam. I couldn't quite believe what I was doing, going out on the GOAT, but I had to admit to myself that I was tired and bored. At least that gig didn't pretend to be anything more than a late night session.

Lateness is a different story, but programs that are objectively terrible are also within the scope of complaints. In 1995, I attended a show in Ilford that was falsely advertised as a Wu-Tang Clan show, but was actually attended by Ol' Dirty Bastard, who performed without assistance from other Clan members. He was muttering listlessly while listening to a CD. He made the mistake of staging an open mic rap battle, in which he was spectacularly owned by a local kid. “I paid £12.50 to get into this place / To see this shit is a fucking disgrace!”

Of course, there may be extenuating circumstances. This unnaturalness could be a sign of a slowly unfolding tragedy. In 2007, I saw the Amy Winehouse show in Brighton, which didn't start until 10:10pm, but there were rumors that she had been spotted drinking on the beach beforehand. had. (When the show finally materialized, it was great.) And then there was Whitney Houston at the Birmingham NEC in 2010 during her infamous Nothing But Love tour. partially imitated performance It became a national scandal. We all know how it ended.

Also, such excuses may not hold up. The Oasis documentary Supersonic has Liam Gallagher somehow forgetting that he was scheduled to perform for two nights at the Knebworth in 1996, partying too hard after the first day, and ending up on the second night. includes a story about how he was barely able to function.

Of course, polished professionalism can sometimes be dull. Sometimes the most memorable shows end up in tatters. For example, Nicky Wire's fun and wild rosé-fueled solo performance at the 2006 Hay Festival is still fondly remembered by Manic Street Preachers fans.

And sometimes a kind of masochistic pleasure comes to mind afterwards. Participation in a below-average Shocker becomes a war story and a badge of honor to wear. I was present at The Worst Gig of All Time when The Stone Roses' Ramp headlined Reading in 1996, and Ian Brown honked his horn without a tune even by foghorn standards. was ringing. I'm strangely happy just to see it.

But for those things to happen, the band has to actually be there. I've been to Pete Doherty's show at least twice, where he couldn't be bothered at all.

So what do we look for in performers? At the very least, be there and actually perform. And barring a natural disaster (as opposed to the make-up artist's actions), it shows up almost at the advertised time.

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