Crooner comes a cropper at Croker... any way you look at Garthgate, it's dumb
Right. I'm sorry. I tried to avoid it. But I can't. I've got to wade into the Garth Brooks thing. First, let me declare a prejudice. I am a fan. I went to the gigs in The Point, I know his lyrics, own his albums. Hell, I even listened to Chris Gaines. Once.
But Garth has quite a bit to answer for. This man originally announced two concerts. Then three. Ultimately he tried to get permission for an unprecedented five shows.
His promoter, Peter Aiken, told us that Dublin City Council (whose job it is to weigh up the impact on the local community with the social benefit to the concert-goers) had decided that five days of concerts (plus, we later discovered, 17 days of rigging and numerous days of de-rigging) was too much of an impact on the local community. So the council said they could grant 4 days as a compromise.
That means Garth Brooks was offered 80pc of what he desired. Twice the amount he first announced. Yet he turned it down. Based on the notion that the way to avoid disappointing 80,000 people is to disappoint 400,000.
That - no matter how you look at it - is dumb.
We - the nation and the media - then worked ourselves into the usual frenzy of self-flagellation. Our system is broken! This is crazy! Our reputation is in tatters!
Horsepoo. Our system works just fine - it balances the need of the locals with the commercial drive of promoters and venue owners.
And as for the notion that our reputation is in tatters - that's daft. In tatters with who? The Americans? They've taken to assassinating their own citizens; by those standards, I'd argue that only letting Garth play four nights is reputational small potatoes.
But fine. We're nice people and we really wanted 400,000 people to have a good time, so we said "alright, how about you play five shows and do two of them during the day with a follow up in the evening?"
He said 'no'. To paraphrase Meatloaf: he'll do anything for Ireland, but he won't do that. His reason being that the stage shows wouldn't work during the day. It's a fair inference that what he meant is the 250 foot wide screen and pyrotechnics he referred to require darkness.
There's a bit of a problem with that argument. We're quite far north here in the Emerald isle and it's July. Know what time sunset is on those dates? 9.51 pm. Know what time the show was due to start? 7.30 pm.
In other words, much of Garth's nighttime shows would have happened in daylight. So maybe, just maybe it's time for him to stop with the excuses and get on a plane?
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