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'Time has passed, but the love for Garth hasn't': The dance continues for Brooks fans at Croker

The country singer was in Dublin today to promote his two gigs set for next year.

Garth Brooks walking the skyline of Croke Park today.
Garth Brooks walking the skyline of Croke Park today.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

GARTH BROOKS WAS in Dublin today for a press conference about his two huge shows at Croke Park next September. 

While the majority of the Irish media were represented this morning – surprisingly, the news didn’t appear to have filtered to the public that the country superstar was going to be in Drumcondra. 

“We just heard this morning that he was in Croke Park, we threw on the tracksuit, threw the hair up and ran around, we just live local so we said we would come here,” Aine Mulvey told The Journal.

Just like seven years ago, when the singer was in Croke Park to announce the never-to-be gigs, a small group of fans gathered outside the stadium today with Irish flags.

These die hard fans, who had been in place since early this morning, were willing to wait around in the cold all day so they could spot a glimpse of Garth Brooks in the flesh. 

Mulvey explained that she and her friends had tickets to all five shows that were due to go ahead in 2014, stating “we are mad Garth Brooks fans”. 

Image from iOS (1) Super fans Aine Mulvey, Deirdre Murphy and Antoinette Dylan waiting patiently outside Croke Park today for a glimpse of Garth Brooks. Source: Christina Finn

After months of rumours, it was confirmed last week that the top-selling solo artist in US history will play Croke Park on 9 and 10 September.

The country music superstar told reporters today that the cancellation of the five gigs in 2014 was like a “death in the family”.

What happened “hurt, hurt, hurt”, he said, adding that it was “hard to understand” what had happened. Brooks said he was told he had to choose between what shows would be dropped, but making that choice wasn’t how he was raised, he told the media.

“We either all win together or we all lose together,” he said, stating “I couldn’t find a fair way to do it”.

“It’s still very fresh. It’s like something I’ve never experienced. And one of those things where you go, ‘surely this isn’t going this way, right?’ So, it was one of those things that was a little hard to understand,” Brooks said.

Superfan Antoinette Dylan, who was outside Croke Park today adorned in an Irish flag with a welcome message for Brooks and carrying a calendar she hoped the singer might sign, said she plans to get to see the singer live in Ireland next year.

“I have never seen him live. I am a fan over 20 years. I have all his albums but I have never seen him so I just came down to take the chance to see if I could even see him in person today,” she said.

“His music is timeless. He is a legend. I wouldn’t just stand here for hours for just anybody,” she said. 

While Brooks said today he thought it would be impossible to pull off the five nights again, he added that he would like to “close that circle” if possible, perhaps leaving the door open for more performances.

Dylan said she thinks the five gigs will go ahead.

“I think he is humble. I don’t think he realises that the fans are still there. He probably doesn’t know what to expect, they are probably just testing the waters with the two [concerts] but the demand is there, it is still there, and the fans will go and see him because it has been a long time since he has been here. In the 90s he was huge – that hasn’t gone away. Time has passed, but Garth hasn’t. The love for Garth hasn’t,” she said.

“It is great that he doesn’t hold any grudges about all that, because he was deeply hurt, he was very hurt… He wasn’t doing it for the money, he doesn’t need the money. He was doing it because he loves his fans, he loves Ireland and he wanted to play his music here, he’s a humble guy.” 

The crowd of fans outside Croke Park were hopeful Brooks would come out to say hello today, just like he did seven years ago. 

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When a photographer stopped to have a chat with them, he told them they managed to get shots of the singer walking along the skyline of Croke Park.

“No way, did you?” they responded, gathering around his camera to take a peek at the up-close-and-personal photos of the man they were eagerly awaiting to see.

IMG_2585 Source: Christina Finn

So what do they make of local opposition to the gigs? While only two concerts have been officially announced so far, permission has been granted for three more – once again prompting some opposition from residents’ group. 

Mulvey said she’d be looking to get as many tickets as she can, but that she is a local in the area too.

“We can see it from both sides. When you are a big fan, of course you want to see them five nights, and we were going to all five shows. But at the same time, with other shows, and when the games are constant, it is hard when you live here, getting in and out with the cars, and with the amount of people, so I can see it from both sides. But I was disappointed when he didn’t come the last time.”

At lunchtime, the fans were told that their idol would be locked up in interviews until this evening. 

“We’ll wait,” they said, quietly confident that their man in the Stetson and jeans would not disappoint. 

At the time of publication there’d been no sign of him as yet – but if he doesn’t emerge tonight, at least they can be reasonably confident he’ll be back in Croker well before this time next year. 

The dance continues. 

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