THE return of American megastar GARTH BROOKS to Ireland this summer is the big news of the week in country circles, with the Oklahoma man eagerly looking forward to his two Dublin concerts.
Even though he has effectively been off the road for 13 years, 51-year-old Garth is still box-office when it comes to attracting huge crowds, as he has done in the States in recent months.
His ‘Comeback Special’ shows, promoted by Aiken Promotions, should pack Croke Park in Dublin on Friday and Saturday July 25 and 26, with many fans expected to travel down from Northern Ireland.
Since emerging in the early 1990s as an up-tempo ‘New Nashville’ cross-over singer, Garth Brooks has brought a young audience to country music and his 128 million album sales are testimony to his magnetic appeal.
Garth will start an extended global tour after the Dublin shows and we can expect his wife Trisha Yearwood, also a big name in Nashville, to join him on stage.
The singer/songwriter flew into Dublin by private jet on Monday to make the announcement. He apologised for being late as he had forgotten his passport. To compound matters, the windshield of his private plane cracked on its way across the Atlantic.
He described his previous shows in Croke Park in 1997, which were made into a bestselling DVD, as the “best shows I ever did”.
Brooks retired from the music industry in 2001 to rear his children, but recently made a comeback with shows in Las Vegas.
“Ireland has always been a wonderful place for us. If I am to do a comeback special this is the place. Bob Doyle, my manager, was talking about our recent Vegas shows and he said: ‘If you are going to make a comeback, you’ve got to do a special. Something that is huge. We said Dublin in Ireland’.”
He joked that he is 30 pounds heavier than he was in 1997. “I’m not getting any younger. I have to get myself in shape. When I come back here I don’t want to recreate what I did before. I want people to say ‘wow’.”
Brooks stressed the Croke Park shows are one-off specials in advance of his world tour next autumn.Trisha Yearwood and Garth appeared at five highly memorable King’s Hall, Belfast shows in November 1998, which, phenomenally, pulled in an aggregate 35,000 people.
I interviewed Garth in Nashville in June 1993 and found him a down-to-earth, aimiable chap, conscious, indeed, and humbled by his global singing fame.
Tickets for the Dublin shows go on sale at 9am next Thursday, priced 65.45 Euros.
Brooks, who has Irish family roots through his mother Colleen Caroll Brooks, had huge chart hits with If Tomorrow Never Comes, The Thunder Rolls, Ropin’ The Wind and Friends In Low Places. We can expect the release of a new album by mid-summer.