Madonna’s exalted stature in the pop music world allows her to play by her own rules. And the diva knows too well that she can get away with things that lesser artists might not be able to.
Performing in Macau over the weekend, the Queen of Pop began her first show at Studio City two-and-a-half-hours late but there was nary a protest from the audience.
Instead, fans greeted her with cheers as she made her way onto the stage at 10.30 pm at Studio City on Saturday, setting a new record for late appearances.
The pop icon held two shows in the gambling enclave — on Feb. 20 and 21– as part of her “Rebel Heart Tour” that promotes her 13th studio album.
The world tour for “Rebel Heart”, which includes the Billboard Hot 100 hit “Bitch, I’m Madonna”, started in September in Canada before coming to Hong Kong and Macau last week.
If there is anything that Madonna loves foremost, it is surprises. And the audiences love her, even if means putting up with some inconveniences.
Two night shows in Hong Kong last week not only had the crowds on fire at the Asia World Expo Arena, they also set the record of clearing out all the tickets in 10 minutes.
Madonna started her first show in Hong Kong after 10:20 pm on Wednesday but surprised many by appearing on stage as soon as 9.30 pm the next night.
According to eye witnesses, many ticket-holders missed at least 30 minutes of the performance on Thursday as they walked in late assuming that the concert won’t begin before 10.
After a day of rest, Madonna and her crew took their music party to Macau, performing at the newly opened Studio City Event Center.
Towards the end of the Saturday performance, the pop diva — as per her usual practice – invited a member of the audience onto the stage to dance with her.
But rather than a lucky fan, the person called onto the stage happened to be Eason Chan, the well-known Cantopop singer from Hong Kong.
Not aware of Chan’s celebrity status, Madonna asked him for his name, giving rise to some awkward moments for the Hong Kong singer.
Also, he was given a banana as a “prize”, with the fruit serving as sexual imagery. The encounter between Madonna and Chan has gone viral on social media.
Compared to the first performance on Saturday, the next Macau show on Sunday — which I attended — was less of a fanfare.
But there was a surprise: Madonna showed up by 9.40 pm.
So half of the audience felt they were 50 minutes better off than their peers the night before. But the other half, which came in only at around 10 pm, believed that they had lost out.
You can never guess it right when it comes to Madonna.
As opposed to the full house that one would have expected, the Sunday show was only 70 percent full. Tickets were still being sold ahead of the concert.
But there was one catch: the tickets on sale were mostly those in the 7,888 to 10,888 Macau pataca (US$985 to US$1,360) range, much higher than the usual maximum price of HK$2,488 (US$320).
The pricing was benchmarked more to Las Vegas, which sold tickets for a similar gig at an average of US$950 (HK$7,410). The average ticket price for Rebel Heart Tour had been around US$450.
Luckily we got tickets at a hefty discount because it was a Sunday in a casino city that is in need of more travelers.
But as any Madonna fans would say, her shows are worth every penny.
Also, one can’t be sure when — and if — we’ll get to see her again, as she is getting on in age.
Even tireless icons have to retire!
(Madonna & Eason Chan)
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