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Gaga soars, Madonna rankles in dueling performances

Updated November 11, 2019 - 11:38 am

As Madonna closed a controversy-marred run at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Lady Gaga was high-tailing it back to L.A.

“Is it me or the glass?” Gaga wrote in a post of herself holding an “I Got Tipsy In Fabulous Las Vegas” champagne flute, which seemed half-filled with mimosa. The glass showed the iconic Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas sign.

Gaga closed her recent run at Park Theater with her “Jazz & Piano” production on Saturday night. She then dropped into Brian Newman’s “After Dark” show at the NoMad Restaurant with Robby Krieger, guitarist for The Doors, in what seemed to be an all-nighter from a headliner who actually missed Wednesday’s show because of bronchitis and a sinus infection.

But there were no worries at Park MGM this weekend. Prior to Gaga’s performance, signs were placed at Park Theater reading, “Jazz Show #32, The Park Theater, 5,400 Guests SOLD OUT 8:00 p.m. ON STAGE.”

That 8 p.m. reference was a subtle, and maybe intentional, jab at Madonna, who clocked in at about 12:15 a.m. and out at about 2:30 a.m. on Thursday night/Friday morning at the Colosseum. In her Madame X persona, the pop superstar reportedly arrived onstage to chants of “re-fund!” with upwards of 500 fans filing out of the venue before she even sang a note.

“There’s something that you all need to understand,” Madonna said upon arrival. “And that is, that a queen is never late.”

Left unsaid is that some rock-music kings — Guns N’ Roses, for one recent Colosseum-headlining example — did show up at or near the appointed time. Same with Journey, and also Keith Urban, as the venue has showed off its spruced-up technology and seating flexibility since reopening in September.

The late start was an imposition to members of the production crew, some of whom finally finished their work at 4 a.m.

The inconvenience for fans was intensified by confusion and a convergence of issues:

The start time was moved from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. the week before the show. Not all fans got that message.

One fan in Florida is taking the superstar to court over her tardy arrival at the Fillmore Miami Beach. That lawsuit might be the reason Madonna was motivated to take the stage at about 10:45 p.m. Saturday (as of this writing her Sunday start time was not known).

Also, ticket-holders on the “Madame X” tour have been required to “pouch” their mobile phones in soft Yondr cases or leave them behind. Ticketholders were also told to arrive early to account for the long lines to lock phones — or, 7:30 p.m. for an 8:30 p.m. start. That’s why some fans complained of waiting more than four hours for Madame X to show up, and why some shouted, “Shut up and sing!” toward the stage.

Though phones were not allowed, some fans were able to sneak devices in and capture video.

“I’m a little bit scared of you,” Madonna said from the stage in a post by @TheDaveRiker, an account that has since been taken down. “You’re slightly aggressive, so I’m keeping a professional distance, yes. But I still love you, in spite of your hostility.”

Madame X also mentioned she is a distant cousin of Celine Dion, while sipping from an unidentified brewski. She handed the bottle to a fan near the stage, saying, “Drink my backwash.”

As expected, Madonna sampled generously from her latest album, “Madame X,” so those who attended her Colosseum production expecting greatest-hits show were disappointed. She reportedly spent ample time talking to the audience rather than singing, playing to her Madame X persona — which included a black eye patch adorned with a red X.

It seemed as if the woman who shone in “Evita” is performing a piece of musical theater.

Maybe all of this really has been an exercise in method acting, with the superstar inhabiting a character similar to how Andy Kaufman performed as crudely conceived lounge lizard Tony Clifton for so many years. It could be that Madame X is the one who refuses to adhere to anyone’s schedule, refers to herself regally in the third person and sloughs off any inconvenience suffered by the commoners.

And it could be that Madonna is the mastermind behind this performance, and that a star — one just who just can’t be late — was born in Las Vegas.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram

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