Madonna’s show delay renews calls for inner-city venue

24 Mar

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By Clint Stephens, Bond University Journalism Student

Madonna’s Gold Coast fans were left stranded in Brisbane late last Wednesday after the Material Girl’s first Australian concert in 23 years ran over time by three hours.

The late running show has given more ammunition to the argument that Brisbane needs a centralised inner city arena close to public transport, as backed by Lord Mayor Graham Quirk.

A spokesperson for Translink said they were aware of the Madonna concert, but no extra transport was planned because of the venue the concert was held in.

“Because Madonna performed at Brisbane Entertainment Centre, a privately owned establishment, no extra transport was provided,” said the spokesman.

“If she had performed at a state-owned venue such as Suncorp Stadium, then the state would have been happy to provide additional services throughout the night as we have done in the past.”

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk and his Labor rival Rod Harding both back plans proposed by Anschutz Entertainment Group to build a 15,000 capacity arena in the inner city.

The company operates multiple stadiums and arenas around the world including London’s The O2 as well as Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane city, and the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.

Plans proposed see a new complex being built on top of Roma Street station, or adjacent to a new public transport hub to be built in Woolangabba.

Brisbane based AEG chairman Harvey Lister said a new inner city location with connection to public transport is needed for Brisbane to continue attracting top tier events from around the world.

Madonna, originally scheduled to appear on stage at 8pm on Wednesday night, didn’t show until after 11pm.

The late start to the concert at Brisbane Entertainment Centre, 20km’s east of the city, meant that the 1.20am finish time was well after the final public transport departed the nearby Boondall train station.

Fans of the Queen of Pop who had travelled to Brisbane from the Gold Coast and had stuck around until the end of the late starting concert were stranded until services to the Coast resumed early the next morning.

Varsity Lakes resident Marlowe Vincent said that she would have forgiven the three hour late start and overnight stay in the city had the show been worth it.

“She was a mess,” said Miss Vincent.

“Stumbling around on stage, she was clearly drunk, swearing at the audience and telling us she wasn’t late, we were early.

“It was extremely disappointing. I saw her at The Girlie Show in 1993 and couldn’t have raved more about her.

“Twenty-three years later, with pitchy vocals performed over a backing track, she’s lost me forever.”

Mermaid waters resident Alex Steele said she hoped plans for a new inner city arena are followed through.

Miss Steele, who travelled to the concert by train from Robina, said the lack of public transport was deplorable.

“They’ve got 14,000 people here and no trains, only a handful of taxis,” she said.

“Every other major venue I’ve been to around Australia puts on extra transport for concerts.

“The entertainment centre is so far away already, and with the lack of accessibility it is very frustrating.”

Miss Vincent said on top of her ticket prices she had tofork up to $70 to get a cab back to the city to wait until the 4.30am trains started.

“Most venues in the city were closed by the time we made it through the taxi line, so we waited inside the 24-hour McDonald’s,” she said.

“Luckily there was a few of us, so we had safety in numbers, but it was still a long night until we arrived home after 6am.”

Brisbane Entertainment Centre sent out an announcement to ticketholders for Madonna’s second concert the following night, warning patrons to make alternative travel arrangements.

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