And a cry was heard throughout the land, “Give us Garth or give us death!”
The people of Ireland are arming themselves with pikes and pitchforks and marching on the parliament, on the president's house and on offices of Dublin City Council to ensure that they are not denied what they so desperately want – no NEED – and that is … Garth Brooks.
Nobody saw this coming. Sure there were local objections, but nobody thought that it would come to the point where Brooks wouldn't play and 400,000 ticket-holders would be seeking refunds. Nobody.
But, thanks to Dublin City Council upholding the objections of some of those who live near the stadium, Croke Park, the people of Ireland are in one of their national, crazy moments that make living here fun.
Everybody is completely caught up in the “will he / won't he” play the five shows scheduled for the end of this month.
It reminds me of Saipan, the Mick vs Roy World Cup controversy that tore the country asunder. Ireland went nuts that week, all over a dispute between a soccer player and the manager. It was terrific fun.
This is similarly nuts, but far more lighthearted. Too few were lighthearted about the national soccer team back in 2002.
In this instance, people are mostly enjoying themselves, although for some it's a serious matter – the local residents, the ticket-holders and, apparently, the politicians, many of whom feel compelled to say... something, anything and end up sounding stupid.
Our new Tánaiste (Deputy PM), Joan Burton, was one politician who might have been better advised to remain quiet.
She offered the reasonable (to her, anyway) suggestion that Garth play three shows at the end of the month and then come back at the end of his upcoming world tour to play the other two. A head-slapping moment there – I mean, does she really believe that the 160,000 ticket-holders are going to be happy waiting another 18 months or so before they get to use the tickets they bought?
However, my favorite was the bright spark – I can't recall who it was now – from Dublin City Council who suggested that Garth play two matinées over the last weekend of July so that he could get in the full five shows but in three days. I mean seriously – is Garth Superman?
That would require Garth to sing, play, bop around (whatever he does on stage) for somewhere between 12 to 15 hours within a 50 hour time-frame. I'm sure he's in great shape and all, but he's also 52 years old. I'm not even close to a fan, but even I can appreciate that he'd need a bit more downtime between shows than that. Totally loopy.
Then there are the crazy fans want President Obama to intervene. I guess he's got nothing better to do? Besides, I doubt he's a Garth fan.
Then there was Dublin's mayor, who was very keen to have “Gareth Brooks,” as he called him more than once, come to play. And, for reasons that totally escape me, the Mexican ambassador, in one of those 'more Irish than the Irish themselves' moments, offered to do what he could to resolve the situation. Maybe Garth will come if we promise him a free trip to Cancún?
There's just so much crazy in the Irish air this week.
And that crazy desperation ain't helping matters in this game of chicken between the Dublin authorities and Garth. He can have no doubt that he holds all the cards when he sees so many members of the government and other power-brokers jumping in to see if they can help. What leverage do they have over him, other than money, but even then does he stand to lose much?
Concert promoter Peter Aiken, another desperate man saying crazy things, used the old, “It's not about the money” when talking about Garth. Now I'm sure Garth has some genuine human feeling for his fans, but nobody gets to be worth $150m without taking some interest in “the money.”
Yet, we're supposed to believe that Garth just loves the Irish people so much that that is why he chose to make his comeback here. What's even crazier is that I suspect that a lot of people here actually believe that. Oh boy.
Did Lebron go to Miami because he loves Floridians? (His recent move notwithstanding.) Is that how A-Rod ended up in New York? Methinks not.
Same goes for Garth. He sold 400,000 tickets at $90+ a piece and, although he has to share that, he's going to make a pretty penny out of the deal.
However, he's also got this new album and new world tour coming up and, well, how much is all this publicity worth to him? I mean, Garth in Dublin is now a global story. That the Irish are so cloyingly desperate to have Garth come they are willing to ride roughshod over the (probably legitimate) complaints of those who live near Croke Park and drive a tank through the legal licensing process to allow these shows to go ahead will not be lost on Garth.