Garth Brooks: Selling 400,000 tickets for five Dublin gigs again 'impossible'

Country singer says cancellation of 2014 shows was like a death in the family

Country music star Garth Brooks has said that it will be the “greatest privilege and greatest joy” to play to audiences in Ireland again. Video: Enda O'Dowd


Country music star Garth Brooks has said it will be the “greatest privilege and greatest joy” to play to audiences in Ireland.

He appeared in Dublin on Monday to announce details of two concerts he will play at Croke Park on September 9th and 10th next year.

Dublin City Council recently confirmed it had granted event licences for five Brooks concerts at Croke Park in 2022. But only two were confirmed by the singer on Monday, with the others subject to demand.

It was his first appearance in Ireland since he arrived in 2013 to announce two shows which quickly expanded to five to meet demand, but never went ahead because of objections.

It was all or nothing, Brooks declared at the time, and he and the 400,000 fans who booked tickets, ended up with nothing. How does he feel about it now?

“It was like a death in the family to us and it hurt, hurt, hurt,” he recalled. “It’s still very fresh for me. I don’t know how personal it was for you. If it was personal for you, you know how it felt on our side.”

Brooks said he was back to fulfil a promise to his Irish fans that someday he would return to play.

Referring to the cancelled dates he said he hoped there would be a “blessing in that curse and now hopefully we have a chance to play Ireland”.

He felt like Ireland was a “home” to him and his music, he said, and praised promoter Peter Aiken for bringing him to the country.

When asked would he like to do five shows again, he responded: “I’d like to, but I’d also like to be six foot five and have abs.

“You had 400,000 tickets in one city and one show. There’s no way we are going to do those numbers again. Would I like it? Yes. Is it going to happen? I think it would be impossible.”

He said there was no place like Ireland to play. “Getting this news to play Ireland – my it makes me happy.”

Confirming he had been vaccinated against Covid-19, he added: “We would love to be on the back side of this [Covid-19 pandemic], but we thought that before”.

It will be 25 years since his last Croke Park show in 1997. Five members of his band are still with him along with his crew.

“I’m hoping that Croke Park 2022 blows Croke Park 1997 out of the water. The footage from Croke Park 1997 is ungodly.”

Playing Ireland would “complete the circle for me. This is a chapter I’d like to complete and now the chance to close it has come.

“I’m a musician, I’m a storyteller, I’m an artist. It’s my job to make the memories. I would love for it to be about the music than any debacle it might cause.”

Brooks said he always wanted to come back. “Truthfully, I’d just got to the point where I was going to have to live with it for the rest of my life, until I got the call.”

He only found out about the gigs in Croke Park a week ago, he added. “I’ll enjoy it more than other people. I’ll probably cry. It’s a joy for me to be here today. It’s always an honour.”