Thursday, July 10, 2014

In Pieces: The Garth Brooks Dublin gig debacle

Garth Brooks had been supposed to play Dublin as his big European comeback moment.

That's all gone to shit incredibly quickly.

The original plan was for three nights at Croke Park Stadium, which sold out fantastically quickly. Two more dates were added, and they sold out rapidly, too.

Trouble is, under the agreement with local people when the Croke Park Stadium was opened, the venue is only allowed to hold three gigs a year.

A petition was created, locals objected. Dublin City Council listened, and refused a licence for the two extra nights.

Whereupon, a hissy fit was thrown and all five gigs were pulled and some country-and-western heartstring pulling ensued:

In response to the decision, Brooks had said he would play five concerts or none.
“To choose which shows to do and which shows not to do, would be like asking to choose one child over another. However this plays out, Ireland has my heart and always will” ,” he said.
To a casual observer, this seems to be ten gallon hat wearing hogwash: nobody's asking Brooks to choose which gigs to play, just saying the two extra gigs can't take place. Given they were to be the same set each night, it's less about choosing children and more about accepting that a couple fewer tins of beans will fit in your shopping trolley.

Except there's a strange twist here: The Irish Independent's Denise Calnan points out that Brooks is now distancing himself from the cancellation decision:
Garth writes that he ‘heard yesterday that the shows were cancelled’. Did he not cancel them? Aiken Promotions’ announcement yesterday simply read, ‘It is with great regret that Aiken Promotions today announce that the 5 concert Garth Brooks Comeback Special Event at Croke Park has been cancelled. No concerts will take place’.

Most of us assumed Garth was behind the final decision after his ‘Five shows or nothing’ proclamation.
Now, it appears, Garth isn't aware he was being forced to play a supersized version of Sophie's Choice at all. Curious. It's almost as if someone's playing games.

If the behaviour in the Brooks camp is raising eyebrows, the residents around the venue don't seem to be entirely straight, either. The police are investigating the petition after some people say their appearance on the list is as unlikely as Brooks' appearance at Croke Park:
Yvonne Corbet Bryan (41), who lives just off Clonliffe Road close to Croke Park, says she was shocked to receive a letter two weeks ago from Dublin City Council which acknowledged receipt of her submission against the concerts.

“Two weeks ago I received a letter which had my address on it, but the name of a woman down the road. I passed it down to her because I thought it was hers. And she said she never made any submission either.”

“She rang Dublin City Council to tell them that she never made a complaint. And detectives arrived last Monday to see if I wanted to sign a statement.”

“They asked me to sign a statement that my neighbour never lived at this address and that no complaint was made by either her or me from this address.”

“I am disgusted by this. I don’t think it’s one person doing this. I think it’s a group of people.”
There was also a counter petition, supporting the idea of five gigs:
And resident Susan Mangan, who helped organise a petition of 900 signatures in favour of all five Brooks gigs, said: “A lot of the community want these concerts to go ahead. We got 900 signatures.”
What a murky business. All that's missing for a full Hollywood movie is a sobbing child.

Hang on, there's a sobbing child:
Cameron Cloke – who became a viral hit after his parents pretended they were unable to get Garth tickets and put a video of his reaction online – burst into tears as he found out that the Oklahoma singer would not take to the Dublin stage after all.

The schoolboy had been due to attend on the Sunday night, and had his special T-shirt and cowboy hat at the ready. His father Michael, who was due to attend two of the concerts, said that his 10-year-old son was "very upset" last night.

"Since we told him he has just been crying," he explained.
The gigs weren't meant to be for another three weeks, which suggests that Cameron had got his special T-shirt ready a little early (how does one get a t-shirt ready, exactly? It's not exactly a rubber corset which requires reboning and polish before wearing). Also, you might be upset but still crying? Really? If you can't cope with a little misery you probably shouldn't be listening to country music.

There's still hope that the gigs could be saved, although given the nightmare the event has already turned into, you'd wonder why anyone would want that to happen.