Garth Brooks at the 49th annual Academy of Country Music Awards. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

Garth Brooks is approaching his highly anticipated comeback with the flourish of a veteran showman, but he already faces a disappointing and costly setback.

After a battle with the Dublin City Council, Brooks announced Monday he is scrapping five shows he had planned to play there next week. The conflict stemmed from a bureaucratic snag that could end up costing the city as much as $68 million.

Brooks was scheduled to play five sold-out shows at Dublin’s Croke Park Stadium, which holds 83,000 people. However, the city was only willing to grant permits for three shows, citing concerns from those who live around the arena who didn’t want to be subjected to five straight nights of concert pandemonium — and a rule that stipulates Croke Park may host only three non-sporting events per year. That quota was seemingly filled by three One Direction shows in May.

The Los Angeles Times reported as many as 40 percent of the signatures on 300 complaints filed about the shows were forged, citing results of a criminal investigation. Officials tried to negotiate with Brooks and the concert promoter, requesting he make two of the shows matinee performances and still accommodate all ticket-holders. Brooks refused, saying the show was meant to be seen at night, and that he would play five concerts or none at all. With no resolution to the stalemate in sight, Brooks told his fans that Ticketmaster would begin issuing refunds on July 17.

Ticketmaster said issuing refunds for the 415,000 tickets purchased would be the most refunds it’s ever had to disburse.

The disappointment to Brooks’s many Irish and European fans — 70,000 of the ticket purchases for the Dublin shows were from other countries — smarts because Brooks intended to use the concerts as an energetic dive back into full-time touring.

“I just received the news the Dublin City Council cannot change their earlier ruling to not allow the licenses for all five shows,” Brooks said in a statement to his fans. “To say I am crushed is an understatement … I want to thank the Irish authorities for going the distance for all of us who wanted to share songs and dance together. I really want to thank all the people around the world that continued to think good thoughts that this would actually happen.”

Brooks left music 13 years ago to raise his three daughters, but confirmed his comeback at a news conference last week, saying more details would trickle out in the following days. Well, the first one’s here: The first stop on Brooks’s new world tour will be Chicago.

Brooks revealed the first tour date location to a fan named Andy Roberts who attended one of his recent Las Vegas shows and asked the singer when and where his new tour would start. Roberts, 31, made the announcement at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite and on the Web site for his janitorial service business. He tweeted a link to the site Monday afternoon, causing it to crash, after receiving a phone call from Brooks with the news.

“He just said, ‘Hey, buddy, this is Garth. I know we haven’t talked in a while.’ Then he told me how excited he was to do this, and I told him how much I appreciate being part of it,” Roberts told CMT. “When I first heard his voice, my heart was pounding.”


h/t Pop & Hiss