Live Nation, Madonna's management respond to lawsuit over show starting late

Two concertgoers filed a lawsuit against the singer last week.

January 24, 2024, 2:50 PM

Live Nation and Madonna's management have responded to a lawsuit filed against the singer for starting a show late.

In a joint statement, Live Nation and Madonna's Management said that the delay during her Dec. 13 "Celebration" tour concert at Barclays Center was due to a technical issue.

"Madonna's just completed, sold out 2023 Celebration Tour in Europe received rave reviews," according to the statement. "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."

The "Material Girl" singer is being sued by concertgoers Michael Fellows of Brooklyn and Jonathan Hadden of the Bronx for starting her show late because they had to get up early the next day.

The tickets said the show would begin at 8:30 p.m., but Madonna did not take the stage until sometime after 10:45 p.m., according to the lawsuit, and the men said they were "confronted with limited public transportation, limited ride-sharing, and/or increased public and private transportation costs" by the time the show let out at 1 a.m.

Perhaps encouraged by Madonna's urging to express yourself, Fellows and Hadden also complained the concert was no holiday because "they had to get up early to go to work and/or take care of their family responsibilities the next day."

Fellows and Hadden are suing Madonna, Live Nation and Barclays Center 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.

Julia Garner and Madonna perform during "The Celebration Tour" at Barclays Center on December 14, 2023 in New York City.
Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images

"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, filed Dec. 17 in Brooklyn federal court, seeks class action status because the men said it is their belief other "Celebration" tour concerns began similarly late.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

"Based on the years-long history of Madonna arriving several hours late to prior concerts (and which conduct continued at concerts in other cities after the Concerts at the Barclays Center, including concerts in Washington, D.C. and Boston), Plaintiffs knew or should have known that the Concerts would not start at 8:30 p.m., and that Madonna would not take the stage until several hours after the start time, causing Plaintiffs and all Class Members to have to wait several hours," the lawsuit said.

Madonna kicked off her "Celebration Tour" in October at London's O2 Arena after initially having to delay the tour following a medical scare. She had been scheduled to start the tour in July 2023, but had to postpone due to being hospitalized in June for a serious bacterial infection.

Madonna performs during opening night of The Celebration Tour at The O2 Arena on October 14, 2023 in London, England.
Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images

ABC News has also reached out to the Barclays Center for comment.

Madonna has faced similar lawsuits before. During her 2019 "Madame X" tour, she was sued multiple times for starting concerts late.

A Florida man, Nate Hollander, sued Madonna and Live Nation in November 2019, alleging they had moved a concert two hours later than originally planned and it was too late for him to attend. Hollander voluntarily dismissed the suit just a month later, according to court records.

On the same "Madame X" tour, a pair of concertgoers at a show in Brooklyn, New York, filed a similar suit to the one this week. Andrew Panos and Antonio Velotta sued Live Nation, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Madonna in February 2020 claiming the pop star didn't start her two shows at the venue until more than two hours after the listed start time on the tickets. Panos and Velotta came to an unspecified settlement in July 2020 and the lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed, according to court documents.

ABC News' Mark Osborne contributed to this report.