MUSIC

Florida Man Sues Madonna: Should Concerts Start on Time?

"Ticketholders [have] to work and go to school the next day."

A Florida man is suing Madonna because she changed the start time of her show at the Fillmore Miami Beach from 8:30 to 10:30.

"Ticketholders [have] to work and go to school the next day, which prevent[s] them from attending a concert that would end at around 1:00 a.m.," the suit stated.

Nate Hollander's ticket did cost $1,024.95, so maybe he can't be blamed for expecting some special treatment. He also claims that he's unable to sell the tickets because the time change has caused the tickets to "[suffer] an extreme loss of value," making reselling "impossible."

For her part, Madonna is famous for being late. At a recent Las Vegas show, fans were told to arrive at 9:30, but she didn't show up until midnight. Because of the delay and the audience's subsequent outrage, over 500 refunds were issued.

Madonna - Material Girl (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com

Apparently, Madonna doesn't see a problem with her lateness. During a recent show in Las Vegas, she announced, "There's something that you all need to understand. And that is that a queen is never late."

Who's in the right here? How many Nate Hollanders have arrived at work tired the next morning because some pop star they paid $1,024.95 to see decided not to honor the not-so-sacred tradition of concert timeliness? Should stars like Madonna be expected to be on time? Is their time somehow fundamentally more important than the audience's? Is that part of the power imbalance that makes a star a star?

Of course, the phenomenon of concerts that start extremely late isn't a new one, nor is it reserved for queens like Madonna. Concerts start late for a lot of reasons—and unsurprisingly, one of the main ones has to do with revenue. The longer people wait around for a show to start, the more likely they are to buy drinks and food, and the more they drink, the more likely they are to shell out cash at the merch table.

Naturally, technical and logistical issues can also play a role. Musicians typically have an extremely short amount of time to go from one show to the next, and innumerable things can go wrong with the setup.

According to Lauryn Hill, another famously late performer, her delayed start times are purposeful. "Me being late to shows isn't because I don't respect my fans or their time, but the contrary, It can be argued that I care too much, and insist on things being right," she said. "I like to switch my show up regularly, change arrangements, add new songs, etc. This often leads to long sound checks, which leads to doors opening late, which leads to the show getting a late start. This element of perfectionism is about wanting the audience to experience the very best and most authentic musical experience they can from what I do."

Lauryn Hill- Killing Me Softly www.youtube.com

While stars with cult followings like Lauryn Hill and Madonna are often forgiven easily for their lateness, do-it-yourself shows that start late often get a bad rep when they take hours to get the ball rolling. On the other hand, indie artists and venues are the ones who face the worst fallout from technical and transportational mishaps, and don't always have the cash to ensure that everything is running smoothly. Sound engineering is one of the most underappreciated and difficult jobs in the music industry—anyone who's ever run a sound table knows that sound equipment can be unbelievably temperamental—and so maybe we shouldn't be so quick to get angry when the sound check takes a while.

On the other hand, nobody wants to have to loiter around at their friend's EP release show for six hours, especially when there's no reason for such extreme lateness. But in some ways, when you've been waiting that long, finally seeing an artist come out and smash their set is just that much more rewarding.

Regardless, it seems that Madonna has met her diva match in one Nate Hollander, who's certainly rocking back and forth in some dark room right now, whispering, "See you in court."

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