Garth Brooks comeback turns sour

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Garth Brooks fans were ecstatic in January to hear the US country star would play his first Irish concerts in 17 years this month.

In 2001 he had announced his retirement from music and returned to Oklahoma to focus on raising his family.

But the 51-year-old Oklahoma singer, who has sold nearly 130 million albums, flew into Dublin by private jet to announce the concerts at a press conference at Croke Park in January. He sold out two concerts at the venue in 1997 and at the start of the year only two Dublin July dates were being styled the Garth Brooks Comeback Special Event.

Tickets went on sale at the end of January.

Speaking at the 82,300-seater stadium on January 20, Brooks said: “Before we go back on tour in the Fall of 2014, I want to challenge myself, the band, and crew. In ‘97, we were lucky enough to play Croke Park. The stadium was under construction; 130,000-plus of some of the greatest fans in the world.

“I was quoted then as saying, ‘When this stadium is finished, I would love to come back and try to fill it again . . . this time to the brink.’ . . . and we’re back to do just that.”

The country singer described his last Dublin concert as a “magical experience” and had built a strong rapport with his many fans.