John Meagher: Garth Brooks and Julio Iglesias loom on horizon
It's just as well I don't work as a concert promoter. If you had asked me last week about what sort of venue Garth Brooks could command in 2014, I'd have said The O2 – for one night only. But no. Aiken Promotions – who know a thing or two about putting on shows – are bringing Brooks to Croke Park for two dates where they'll be hoping to shift 160,000 tickets.
Croker – in its former guise – was the place where Brooks played some monster dates in the early 1990s when he was a global sales sensation. But is there really an appetite for his hammy brand of countrified rock today, especially as he's been on a lengthy hiatus? Well, judging from the euphoria on social media, there certainly is – although what a bunch of 17-year-olds could possibly see in Brooks is beyond me. Truly, I'm baffled – and I'm going to do my very best to be away from Dublin on July 25 and 26.
* The Monday that Garth Brooks flew into Dublin by private jet and regaled half the country's journalists at Croke Park was hardly the best time to announce another show, but that very morning a Julio Iglesias Dublin date arrived in inboxes.
'The Prince of Romance' will be playing The O2 on May 15 and the concert will be his first in this country since 1982. Mr Iglesias puts Brooks in the ha'penny place when it comes to album sales. He has reportedly shifted 300 million albums over the course of a five-decade career putting him in the top 10 of the best-selling artists ever.
* I suspect at least some readers of this column are more excited by the thoughts of today's Longitude festival announcement than the appearance of a bunch of has-been Goliaths this summer. Damon Albarn may well be among the names proffered by MCD – the Blur man has already been confirmed as a headline act for its sister festival in the UK, Latitude.
Meanwhile, it's been announced that Albarn's debut solo album, Everyday Robots, will be released on April 25. It will feature guest appearances from Brian Eno and Bat for Lashes.
* As reported elsewhere, The Gloaming are releasing a milestone trad album this weekend and they will be playing material from it on Sunday night at the National Concert Hall, Dublin.
It's part of the Tradition Now programme at the venue and tickets start from a very reasonable €15.