Late last week, Garth Brooks’ website trumpeted “The Wait is Over” with the dates 7/7 emblazoned against a backdrop of a sky filled with lightning and thunder (“The Thunder Rolls,” get it?)
But today, instead of getting news about whatever he’s ready to announce, we got news that the wait is not over, it will be over on Thursday when Brooks will hold a press conference to announce whatever he was going to announce today. Fans can watch the press conference live at 12 p.m. EDT/11 a.m. CDT and 9 a.m. PDT at garthbrooks.com
So what is that something? Chances are very good it’s the details of the world tour he talked about on “Good Morning America” last December. Though he divulged few details, he told Robin Roberts that his one-man show at the Wynn in Las Vegas was over after three years and he was ready to go back on the road with his full band. His last world tour ended in 2001 and he has spent the intervening years raising his three daughters with his ex-wife and current wife, Trisha Yearwood. His youngest daughter graduated from high school this spring, paving the way for Brooks to return to touring.
So why delay the announcement until Thursday? Though Brooks did not give a reason, it’s likely because he is embroiled in figuring out how to save his Dublin concerts. In January, a few weeks after Brooks told Roberts that he was indeed going back on tour, he announced he would play at Croke Park, an 80,000-seat stadium in Dublin, this summer. The Irish audiences love Brooks and totally claim him as one of their own, given his mother’s Irish heritage. Two shows ballooned into five sold-out shows, July 25-29, with the 400,000 tickets moving at a very quick rate.
However, tickets for the concerts were sold before the promoter acquired approval and the license for the shows from the Dublin City Council— a common practice. Due to complaints from Croke Park neighbors and an ordinance that says there will be no more than three concerts at Croke Park each year, the Dublin City Council only approved three Brooks shows. (One Direction had already played three shows at the venue this Spring). Brooks came back and said it was all five shows or nothing because he couldn’t disappoint the 160,000 fans for the two canceled shows. Right now, Brooks and the promoter are in a stand-off with the DCC. A decision is expected to be made no later than tomorrow on whether any of the concerts will proceed. The stage and equipment, designed especially for Croke Park and for an attendant concert special, are already at the port ready to ship to Ireland. Also at stake? The $85 million the five shows were estimated to pump into the Irish economy: 70,000 of the 400,000 tickets were sold to people from countries other than Ireland.
UPDATED: Tuesday (8) morning, the promoter of the Croke Park shows announced that all five shows have been cancelled after all parties could not come to terms.
Brooks has been a trending topic all day and even though he hasn’t toured in 13 years and had only one No. 1 song in his time away— 2007’s “More Than A Memory”— there is no doubt that his U.S. tour will be one of the biggest of the next three years. The only questions to be answered are how low will he keep tickets— for his last tour they averaged $25—, if he will scale the house offering different price levels depending upon where the seats are (this is something he has notoriously opposed), and how many dates will he do in each city.
We’ll have more after the press conference on Thursday. But for anyone who doubts that this tour will sell through the roof, we suggest you come back five minutes after tickets have gone on sale. There is tremendous pent-up demand for Brooks’ high-energy live show that current chart toppers like Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean somewhat meet but haven’t replaced.