Garth Brooks has decided he will perform a matinee show for his long-awaited return to the world stage after all – only in Chicago.
The country music star was supposed to make his triumphant return to the stage, following a 17-year absence, with a five-night stint in Dublin’s Croke Park beginning at the weekend.
But the singer was forced to pull the plug on the sell-out shows after Dublin City Council refused a licence for two of the nights.
Council officials were prepared to allow the star to perform two matinees in order to accommodate the shows, something Brooks rejected.
He said he didn’t want to give his fans a “half-assed” performance.
However, eyebrows have been raised when tickets went on sale on Friday for a run of 10 shows in Chicago for the opening of his world tour, which includes three matinee concerts. Dublin city Lord Mayor Christy Burke said the singer owed those disappointed fans an apology while the concert promoter Peter Aiken defended Brooks.
“He doesn't owe anyone an apology,” he said.
“The matinee suggestion was never going to work anyway, you couldn't have done it. It was physically impossible.”
Mr Aiken said the American shows were being held in an indoor venue smaller than Croke Park, and would be staged later in the evening than the proposed Dublin afternoon offer.
“It's not even a quarter of the size of the show that he was going to put into Croke Park.
“The stage he was going to have was going to take over one-third of the pitch.
“The scale of it was incredible. It was going to be spectacular and it was all based on the lights and production which wouldn't work during the day, you wouldn't be able to see it,” he added.
Mr Aiken said that the cargo ships carrying equipment for the shows were returning to America while three-quarters of ticket-holders for the cancelled concerts have been refunded.
Garth Brooks was expected to perform to 400,000 people for five nights in Croke Park starting last Friday. However, the concerts were beset with difficulty from the start. Residents near the Dublin stadium complained the shows breached an agreement with the GAA over how many concerts could be held in Croke each year before agreeing compensation. Dublin City Council then refused to license two of the shows. Brooks responded by saying it would be “all or none at all”. Promoter Peter Aiken has said he faces losing millions.