If Two More Gigs Never Come?

Caveat Emptor! Beware what you buy on the internet. I bought an official 5gb Garth Brooks memory stick and it turns out it’s only 3 gigs.

And the country star’s fans that got up early to click “Refresh” 563 times on Ticketmaster’s site before finally securing tickets for his Monday and Tuesday night gigs are not happy. But then, would you be happy if you were a Garth Brooks fan?

Ireland is in the midst of a controversy not seen since Roy Keane chose ordering his dog Triggs around Cheshire rather than Matt Holland around Saipan.

Dublin City Council have cancelled two of Brooks’ dates which, in fairness, is more than most of his fans have had.

The “Red Strokes” star famously sold five Croke Park dates earlier this year and, in the process, broke all of Westlife’s records. “Fair play to him”, I thought at the time, “I hope he used a sledgehammer”. To paraphrase Meatloaf “three out of five ain’t bad” but Garth is having none of it. It’s all or nothing for him, insisting that choosing which dates to cancel is akin to choosing who your favourite child is.

Which shouldn’t trouble him too much as he left his children’s mother for fellow country star Trisha Yearwood in 2005. “Papa Loved Mama” but “Hard Luck Woman”, the man famed for preaching family values wasted no time in making “Night Moves” with Yearwood straight after his divorce.

I must admit to having a dog in the fight here. Overcome with how quickly his first few Dublin gigs sold out, I sensed a money-making opportunity. There wasn’t a chance in hell I was sitting by my laptop at 9am or, even worse, queuing overnight with a blanket, flask and hundreds of goons singing “Friends in Low Places”.

So, much to my shame, I approached a wino and offered him money to queue for me. Unfortunately for me, and him, it transpired that he wasn’t homeless but in fact a Garth Brooks fan already queuing for tickets.

“Wild Horses” wouldn’t actually drag me to one of his gigs, but “The Storm” brewing over the cancellations under Irish planning laws make this particular piece of legislation look like a “Cowboy Bill”. Did no-one in Dublin City Council’s planning department think in January, when the tickets went on sale, that “hold on, he’s not allowed have five gigs is he? So how come he’s selling them? Shouldn’t we do something? Oh hold on, tea-break!”.

It looks like a stand-off will ensue between the Council and Brooks, despite criticism of the decision from the likes of Dublin Chamber of Commerce and the Irish Hotels Federation. In his song titled “Ireland”, Brooks crooned that “I am reaching out won’t you take my hand. I’m coming home Ireland”. Not if Dublin City Council have their way, Garth. On Independence Day, it may be left to a veteran, bearded American performer to intervene and sort the whole mess out. Surely this is something that Tim Howard could save?