American country singer Garth Brooks will now begin his global comeback tour in September with 10 successive shows at a Chicago venue.
Brooks, who because of restrictive Dublin City Council planning laws was prevented from fulfilling five concerts at the city’s 80,000-seater Croke Park stadium, is now scheduled for 10 shows at the All-State Arena in Chicago running from September 4 to 13.
Tickets went on sale in Chicago on Friday morning for one show on September 4, but it quickly turned into a ticket frenzy for 10 concerts and 180,000 tickets were sold in less than three hours.
The last time Brooks played Chicago, in 1997, he sold 139,000 tickets in less than four hours for his eight shows.
The All-State Arena has a seating capacity for this tour of appro ximately 18,000 at each show.
For the proposed five Croke Park shows on July 25-29 400,000 tickets were sold and the cancellation has led to huge disappointment for his legion of fans.
The CMT Nashville network in Tennessee reported that on Friday morning Brooks called Chicago’s country radio station WUSN and talked about what it was that brought him out of retirement and back to Chicago after 17 years.
“The faces,” Brooks said. “I miss them, I miss looking out and seeing them singing.
“You look out there, and you hope to see the faces you remember.
“And I gotta tell you, I’ve seen those, but the other half are faces I’ve never seen, and they’re kids. And kids that know all the words to every song.”
Brooks will be joined on the three-year global tour by his wife and singing partner Trisha Yearwood, who appeared with him back in November 1998 at five shows at the King’s Hall in Belfast which drew an aggregate attendance of 35,000.
The fall-out from the cancelled shows at Croke Park is still reverberating in the Republic’s capital with huge financial losses not just by Aiken Promotions, who were staging the shows, but by the South’s tourist, catering and licensed industries.
A high percentage of the tickets for the Dublin shows were snapped up by Brooks fans in Northern Ireland, with special train and coach transport laid on to convey the fans to the shows.
The cancellations have also resulted in political and civic ramifications with an overhaul of the issuing of entertainment licences for major shows expected.
Since the cancellations, 330,000 tickets have so far been refunded through Ticketmaster.