If her Twitter feed was any guide, Lady Gaga was spitting mad. Her gig in Paris had been cancelled due to the adverse weather conditions currently paralysing Europe and she wasn't particularly impressed by her unscheduled night off.
"I am furious and devastated. It's unfair to my fans and to me," she fumed. But refreshingly, Lady Gaga actually did something about it. Rather than postpone the gig until the new year, or simply cancel it indefinitely, she rescheduled for just two days later. On Tuesday, Paris just danced.
And it was refreshing because, increasingly, pop stars are finding any excuse to simply cancel their gigs - in fact, 2010 must be the year that lame excuses became de rigueur. Ridicule her all you like for her outlandish behaviour and preposterous clothes, but her Monster Ball world tour has undoubtedly revealed that she genuinely cares about her fans. The show is an enthralling spectacle: when somebody threw a book on stage at her London show, she opened it, stopped the show and began reading it aloud. And when a home-made T-shirt was thrown at her, she decided to wear it rather than dismissively chucking it at the nearest stage hand.
Such commitment to entertainment is why Gaga's dates sell out around the world - although the spot-on pop of Bad Romance and Just Dance certainly helps. She doesn't let fans down. Compare her attitude to the rockers Kings of Leon. It can't have been particularly pleasant for them to be peppered by the excrement from unimpressed pigeons at their gig in St Louis earlier this year, but to ditch a concert three songs in because of it does seem a little extreme. Umbrellas might not have been a good look, but still.
In fact, such bad luck follows Kings of Leon around - a triumphant pre-Christmas gig in London last week was postponed after a tour bus caught fire. You can imagine there won't be such an atmosphere of celebration when they try again on a dreary evening in February. Yes, on both occasions Kings Of Leon were victims of circumstance - but can you imagine Lady Gaga being unable to play because she was locked in her house? This was the scenario in which Courtney Love found herself last February. Admittedly there was a mini-riot after a Facebook party got out of hand on her street in London, but maybe she should have, you know, left earlier?
This year also saw the oft-peddled "unforeseen circumstances", "scheduling conflicts" or mystery illnesses cited as the reasons for a raft of cancellations and postponements in America from the likes of Jonas Brothers, Rihanna, Limp Bizkit and Christina Aguilera. Suspiciously, these artists then promptly popped up in the same big cities in which they had previously sold out. Could it be that no one was buying the tickets in the first place? But for Justin Bieber, the exact opposite was true. His Sydney gig in April was cancelled because he was too popular, Australian police fearing that there might be a crush amid the teenage girls desperate to see the pop poppet. At least he appears to be learning from Lady Gaga. "I want to make this clear. I don't cancel," he tweeted.
Kings of Leon, Courtney Love and Rihanna have a long way to go before they can match the excuses of Morrissey, though. Maybe the reason he hasn't scheduled any gigs this year is simply because he's run out of reasons not to do them; this is the vegetarian, after all, who has pulled out of three separate gigs because sausages were thrown at him, because he could smell the barbecue backstage and because he learnt the venue was once an abattoir. But his moans haven't all been meat-based. A burst water main, snow on the roof and poor central heating have also all kept Mozza in his hotel room. You couldn't make it up.
In fact, if bands are going to continue these excuses into 2011, we'd like them at least to pay us the compliment of fashioning entertaining stories. Stories like the one Arcade Fire came up with for cancelling their Lisbon gig last month. They couldn't play, they said, because they were literally taken down by Nato, one of the most powerful military alliances in the world. The thing is, it was actually true. The Nato summit was going on at the same time and it was deemed too much of a security risk to have 20,000 excitable gig-goers mingling around the leaders of the world. Well, Arcade Fire do have a song called Rebellion.
* Ben East