Garth Brooks fans lick wounds at news of cancellation

Some blame the licensing process but others blame the promoter

Trevor Smith, the lead singer of Friends in Low Places, a Garth Brooks tribute act, was looking forward to seeing his role model at  the Tuesday concert. Photograph: Garrett White

Trevor Smith, the lead singer of Friends in Low Places, a Garth Brooks tribute act, was looking forward to seeing his role model at the Tuesday concert. Photograph: Garrett White

Wed, Jul 9, 2014, 01:00

When Caroline Morgan heard that Garth Brooks was coming to Dublin, she and her partner Paul Lynch celebrated by dressing their nine-month-old son in a Stetson and posting photos on Facebook.

“I was over the moon,” she says. “Now I think I’ll take the same photos but with him crying.” She may be joking, but she’s “absolutely gutted”.

While her friends think her Garth Brooks fandom is “funny”, they were sympathetic about the cancellation. Her phone has exploded since the news with conciliatory messages. She doesn’t blame Garth. She blames the process by which tickets can be sold “subject to licence”. What will she do now? “I’ll probably go over to his house,” she says. Again, she may be joking.

The Irish Times breaks the news to Susan Dixon, who we first encountered dressed in a cowboy hat and shirt at a Garth Brooks tribute evening in Swords. “Ah no, it’s not been cancelled has it?” she says. She and about half of her Lucan- based Rhinestone Hotline line- dancing group were going.

“I’m really disappointed,” she says, while simultaneously expressing empathy with the locals around the stadium. “Five nights of Garth Brooks, if you don’t like him, would be awful,” she says. “And they do have a hard time with concerts.”

Disappointed

Garth Brooks impersonator Trevor Smith, who sings with Friends in Low Places, The Ultimate Garth Brooks Experience, will not hear a bad word said against the “absolute gentleman” he emulates for a living. “It’s hard work being Garth Brooks,” he says. Despite poring over tour videos of the great man in order to recreate his moves and clothes, he has never seen him live. He and his band had tickets for the Tuesday night. “I just think of those 400,000 disappointed people. They can come see us. But I’m not crazy. I know I’m just an imitation.”

 

Pat Hagan keeps a number of Garth Brooks CDs and a Stetson in his car. He retrieves the latter, he says, in moments of high passion. The rest of the time it stays in the car.

“This country was broke when Garth decided to come and the next thing there were 700,000 people looking for tickets,” he says. “This is making a show of us really.”

No permission

He blames the promoter. “He should never have put the tickets up for sale without permission.” Asked about speaking to another Garth Brooks-loving relative of his, Phyllis Valentine, who last week promised “war” if the gigs were cancelled, he replied: “All you’d get is swear words. You wouldn’t be able to print it.”

 

Irish Times employee Jane O’Hora was going to Croke Park with 27 relatives and friends, many flying in from the US, the UK and Germany. For the last few months they’ve all been texting each other via a Garth Brooks group on Viber and they’d planned a pre-gig party on the Saturday night.

“Now it’ll just be 27 people listening to a Garth Brooks CD . . . I know why everyone is snickering but I can’t describe the nostalgic feeling [these gigs] brought . . . It’s like Christmas has been cancelled.”

Another fan in the group, who doesn’t want to be named, is a bit more stoical when called. “It’s cancelled?” she says. “Ah, I’ve bigger fish to fry. I lost my job this morning. If anything this’ll take my mind off it. I mean, I’m slightly devastated, but it’s just a gig.”

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