Burning up: DC fans sue Madonna over late starting, hot shows at Capital One Arena

Three D.C.-area fans are suing Madonna, after the pop legend’s shows at Capital One Arena last December allegedly started hours late.

The suit claims the Material Girl broke the law and showed “total disrespect for her fans” by taking the stage two hours late during her D.C. performances, on Dec. 18 and Dec. 19, 2023.

The plaintiffs, Elizabeth Halper-Asefi, Mary Conoboy, and Nestor Monte, Jr., filed the class action complaint, Friday, saying they were deceived when purchasing tickets and had to leave the concerts before they were over.

According to the suit, which also names promoter Live Nation and the arena’s owner Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the concerts at Capital One were scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m., with doors opening at 7:30 p.m., as part of Madonna’s Celebration Tour.

However, the plaintiffs said Madonna didn’t take stage until 10:40 p.m. In addition, they allege the temperature in the arena was uncomfortably hot, and that Madonna lip synched much of her performance.

“Forcing consumers to wait hours for her performance in a hot, uncomfortable arena is demonstrative of Madonna’s arrogant and total disrespect for her fans,” wrote plaintiff attorney David Greenbaum. “In essence, Madonna and Live Nation are a consumer’s worst nightmare.”

The proposed class-action suit comes three months after Madonna was sued by angry fans in New York City, in part because the plaintiffs claimed they “had to get up early to go to work” the next day. In that case, Madonna’s lawyers have said that doesn’t qualify as the type of “injury” required to support a lawsuit.

The D.C.-area suit specifies, “This Complaint is not about unhappy fans who don’t want to stay up late, but instead, reasonable, responsible people who had commitments to babysitters, work, getting their vehicles out of parking lots that closed at 12:00 midnight, and realizing that public transportation would no longer be operating.”

According to the suit, at the Dec. 18 show, when Madonna finally took the stage, she allegedly said “I am sorry I am late…no, I am not sorry, it’s who I am… I’m always late.”

Madonna and Live Nation have said it’s not reasonable for concert-goers to believe that the 8:30 p.m. start time on the ticket indicates that’s when the show will begin and that no concerts begin on the start time advertised.

“This is absurd. In fact, reasonable consumers have seen that concerts featuring Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen, whose tours are also promoted by Live Nation, do start on the time indicated on the ticket and have similar experiences attending Broadway theater, NFL football and Major League baseball games, for example,” according to the plaintiffs.

The suit alleges Madonna, Live Nation, and the arena engaged in “unconscionable, unfair, and/or deceptive trade practices” by advertising the show would begin at 8:30 p.m. and “failing to warn ticket purchases of the uncomfortable temperatures inside the Venue and that the performer would not perform all her music live.”

WTOP is seeking comment from Live Nation and Monumental Sports.

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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