Aus Madonna Fans Leave Free Show Early After Waiting Five Hours In Rain

11 March 2016 | 1:20 pm | Uppy Chatterjee

"It's 3am on a weeknight and I know Madonna thinks that's okay because it's Madonna and if you're a genuine fan you don't care..."

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After it was announced last week that Madonna would be staging a one-off, super-exclusive show for Melbourne punters on 10 March at the Forum Theatre, fans clamoured to get tickets to what would be a rare intimate show with the pop queen, filled with "performance art, comedy, story telling and music". 

As self-proclaimed "superfan" Michael tells The Music, what fans didn't expect was to be kept waiting for five hours in the Melbourne rain, having the star "stumble" on stage with a cosmopolitan in hand and bring up her custody battle over son Rocco.

Michael details that he arrived outside the Forum at 7pm, much later than other dedicated Madonna fans who had camped out for days prior, and was left waiting until 8.30pm (when doors were meant to open), then 9.30pm, then 11pm.

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Michael says, "We knew there was no way that, Madonna being Madonna, the doors would open at 8.30pm. At 11.30pm, we noticed a lot of people were leaving, some people had a babysitter and others said they had work and we were starting to wonder whether it was going to happen at all."

Doors finally opened around midnight — "a big cheer was let up right up Hosier Lane" where the fans were waiting — but the fans had to wait a further hour after they were let in for Madonna to take the stage around 1am.

"When she first came out she was stumbling around the stage — she said she doesn't drink on stage but tonight she was going to and everyone, of course, was cheering and thought it was a great laugh.

"She kept saying, 'I'm not drunk, I'm not drunk!' but her team kept coming out with more cosmopolitans throughout the show… so whether she was drunk or not is questionable but she was certainty tucking into the cosmos throughout the show."

Dressed as a clown to match the show's title, Tears Of A Clown, Michael says Madonna played a number of songs she "rarely does live" such as 1983's Borderline and 1994's Take A Bow, but stumbled her way through many others, stopping and restarting the performance multiple times. 

"When she first came out she apologised for being late and she said she'd been rehearsing, and we could hear it outside that they had been rehearsing, she said it was a very rough and raw draft of a show and that she wanted to do it out here in Australia to say sorry for the fact that she's cancelled on us the last few tours," said Michael. "There was a couple of times where she had to stop halfway through and go, "no no no, I've stuffed it up, start again", so she stopped and started a few times."

The comedy section of the show was few and far between — and all "below the belt". 

With the VIP section including the likes of Dawn French, Magda Szubanski and Carrie Brownstein, Michael says he expected her to "roll out some really good routines" but instead "the comedy was more a couple of, 'what do you get when this and this happens' or 'what do you call this' and, of course, every single punchline was below the belt — you'd expect nothing less from Madonna... It wasn't a comedy stand-up routine, it was just a couple of jokes and stories between songs."

Despite the atmosphere at the front being "electric", dozens of punters at the back of the theatre were leaving the Forum in droves.

"Once I moved up the back there was no atmosphere, there were just people sitting around looking really bored. People were leaving by the dozens halfway through and you didn't see any of that up the front, you were caught up with the fact that you were so close, and that people were screaming and having a great time like 'oh my god, this is a great show.'"

Echoing her show in Auckland, Madonna brought up a photo of her son Rocco amid her custody battle with Guy Ritchie, but Michael says it seemed very forced: "When a big picture of Rocco came up and she said 'I'm sure you're all aware about Rocco', she stopped and sort of indicated she was crying... it just felt so contrived."

Leaving with about three or four songs to go — about 3am — Michael says, "It was a free show, it was amazing, and I feel conflicted because I feel that I owe her allegiance, but at the same time I had perspective when I walked away from the front of the crowd, and seeing the stuff about Rocco just felt really contrived."

"It's 3am on a weeknight and I know Madonna thinks that's okay because it's Madonna and if you're a genuine fan you don't care, but at the same time, it kind of — not ruined it — but certainly put a downer on it."