Madonna & Manchester: A Brief History

While Madonna and Morrissey are mortal enemies, she and the latter can probably at least agree on this lyric from “Suffer Little Children”: “Manchester, so much to answer for.” There are  a number of cities in Madonna’s career that have proven, to the chanteuse, unworthy of visiting very often. With this in mind, the last time Madonna performed in Manchester was for 2004’s Reinvention Tour, and before that, it was an even longer reprieve, with her debut in the town occurring in 1984 at the Hacienda (incidentally sharing a bill with Morrissey), one of many legendary establishments the pop star could later lay claim to as part of her performance history. Apparently, her first impression of the northern town was not very favorable, as she was only paid fifty pounds for the gig and her hotel room was pilfered by roguish purloiners (nothing she wasn’t used to from her time spent in the East Village of the early 80s).

And so, it is a bit unfortunate that after an eleven-year hiatus from the city that spawned The Smiths, Joy Division and Oasis, Madonna would receive a rather rude welcome in response to her fifty minute lateness to the stage for her Rebel Heart Tour due to technical difficulties.  In spite of attempting to cheekily address why she was late (in which, she, in her usual brash fashion, called the crowd “diva bitches”) before delving into a ukulele rendition of “True Blue,” the media instead decided to graft what she said and twist it into some of her “typical” cunty behavior à la hydrangeas incident. Rather than news outlets and audience members taking it in stride and interpreting it as Madonna trying to make light of the situation, the instance has been hyper-stylized as her lashing out at her own fans.

And yet, as pointed out by Manchester Evening News, no one batted an eyelash when Rihanna was over an hour late to the arena stage back in 2013. It is, indeed, yet another blatant form of discrimination toward Madonna in particular, who at this point has no shortage of absurdist ire directed at her–whether because she’s a certain age or simply because she expresses herself. Who knows why? But this isn’t likely to make her want to return to Manchester again anytime soon.