When I was eleven, I came across a show on VH1 titled "Madonna's Greatest TV Moments." I was curious and decided to watch. While I always heard about Madonna before, I never considered myself a fan. By the time the show ended, I was ready to obtain my fan card.
I soon got my mother to buy me a copy of "The Immaculate Collection," the first Madonna album I owned. I spent the next several months catching up on all her music, videos, tours, and films.
As of today, I'm still a pretty big fan.
However, I'm not the kind of fan who will blindly worship everything she does.
I have a mind of my own. If she releases something I don't like, I'm honest about it.
Madonna has just wrapped up her stint at BAM's Howard Gilman Opera House. It was the first stop on Madonna's Madame X Tour. With this new tour, Madonna has made many fans happy. Yet, there are many other fans who have been shafted since the tour began.
For starters, the first two shows scheduled for the New York stop were postponed and one was canceled completely. It was claimed that "highly specialized production elements" weren't going to be ready in time for opening night.
At the time, I thought there must be technologically advanced effects being used on stage. When I attended the show on September 26, I was stunned to see that screen projections were the only technological effect used in the show.
This was certainly not as technologically advanced as I thought. I figured the videos weren't ready in time for opening night. However, it seemed a bit weird given the amount of time they had to prepare. It would be quite unprofessional if that were the case.
The strangest development here is the first Chicago and San Francisco shows have been rescheduled for the same reason. Keep in mind that this was announced after the Brooklyn shows started. The "highly specialized production elements" were already being used every night. So why postpone the shows?
This leads me to the main problem with this tour. It's clearly catered to the rich and wealthy segment of her fan base.
The fans who spend well beyond their means to see her are not treated with very much respect.
When a show is postponed, some fans are left with hotel rooms and flights that were booked in advance. Many of which can't be refunded. Obviously, many artists cancel and postpone concerts. However, there's an issue when the majority of the cancellations don't seem to be for a very good reason.
Madonna did have a knee injury, which caused her to cancel one of the shows. It was initially postponed and eventually cancelled. I remember when I attended the show, she wore a knee brace in the shape of a cross.
She claimed that her knee was bothering her, so I was already aware there was an issue. This particular cancellation was for a good reason. A knee injury is one thing, but claiming non-existent "highly specialized production elements" is another.
Madonna also starts her shows extremely late. When I saw her, she didn't start the show until 11:00. The doors opened at 7:45 that night. Fans who have attended other shows have all said the same thing.
This is yet another example of rich, wealthy fans being valued and other fans being ignored.
Maybe some fans were coming from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. What if they didn't have money to book a hotel to stay overnight in New York? They would have trains to make and buses to catch. They would have to leave early without getting to see much of the show at all.
I was sitting next to a guy who took the train in from Long Island and had to leave the show early to make his train in time. The tickets are non-refundable, so it's wrong to inconvenience fans with a late start. There's always the possibility of re-selling your tickets. Yet, the disappointment of not being able to attend after looking forward to it for months is horrible.
Lateness isn't foreign to Madonna. During the "MDNA Tour," her late starts made headlines. However, when I saw her "Rebel Heart Tour" at the Barclays Center, it seemed she was making an effort to start earlier.
If I remember correctly, the show began a little after 9:30 that night. There is now a message on Madonna's official website for fans who have tickets to see future shows. The message claims the show's planned start time is 10:30. The message also informs fans who are taking public transportation to plan accordingly.
If you ask me, this is too little too late. A message saying Madonna will start late and telling fans to leave early if they need to make a train isn't solving the problem. Madonna is still starting late and the fan is still not able to see the entire show.
If you ask me, the show should start at 9:30 every night. I think that's more than enough time for fans to arrive, buy some merchandise, get something to drink, and sit in their seats. I don't see any reasonable excuse why Madonna can't start her show before 11:00.
The merchandise for this tour ALSO had its share of problems.
When the first show began in Brooklyn, fans were disappointed to hear the tour book wasn't ready. When I saw the show on September 26, it still wasn't ready.
I assumed they were taking pictures of the show itself to use in the book. That was the only acceptable reason for the delay as far as I was concerned. However, when the tour book was finally being sold at the shows, no pictures of the show were included. They had plenty of time to have the book ready by opening night. It was another unprofessional mistake that only annoyed fans further.
I wrote a review of the show after attending last month. While I had my own feelings about the show itself, the rest of the experience was just plain bad. The only upside was the nice fans I met and spoke with.
I was expecting this to be a more intimate experience because it was in a small theater. Needless to say, I was disappointed. The closeness you're expecting to feel is impossible when you're up in the balcony. Not to mention that the seating was really cramped and uncomfortable.
At one point in the show, Madonna auctioned off a Polaroid selfie to the audience. She had fans literally throwing money on stage. Some were offering as much as $1,000 for the picture.
She was asking them what kind of jobs they had and it made me feel like crap. My view was already being blocked by a pole and the guy sitting in front of me.
I didn't need the fact that these fans could afford to have a better experience literally rubbed in my face.
I thought, "I'm at a concert right now. Shouldn't I be having a good time?"
Yes, I should've had a good time. The rest of the fans who shared my experience also should've had a good time. The fans who were inconvenienced by unreasonable late starts and cancellations should've been treated with more respect. There have been many mistakes already made on this tour.
Hopefully, Madonna and her team will learn from them. I have no doubt that she will continue to play small theaters in the future. Here's hoping she does things differently going forward, so everyone has a better experience.
I know that some hardcore fans will be angry at my account of this tour so far. Despite what they might think, I'm not ready to turn in my fan card just yet. In fact, I have a feeling I'll be holding onto it for a very long time.