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From Croker to Chicago - Garth Brooks kicks off world tour in the windy city

Garth Brooks launched his highly-anticipated world tour in Chicago last night, five weeks after he was due to kick off his five night stint at Croke Park.

The country superstar played the first of 11 sold-out shows in the windy city to a capacity crowd of 20,000 fans.

He played a mix of old material and new with songs including Rodeo and Papa Loved Mama, Ain't Going Down ('Til the Sun Comes Up), The Thunder Rolls, More than a Memory, before finishing up with ultimate crowd-pleaser, The Dance.

Garth (52) was due to play Croker from July 25-30 earlier this summer but all five gigs were cancelled when planning permission was refused by Dublin City Council for the final two, and the singer refused to play just three.

Launching his world tour in Dublin would have been a massive coup for Ireland given Brooks had, in 2001, almost entirely retired from touring and recording, saying he wanted to devote himself to raising his three daughters. His youngest, Allie, graduated high school in May.

The Allstate Arena shows in Chicago are a completely different production to the Croke Park comeback shows, however, because they are designed for smaller indoor arenas (Croke Park is outdoor, capacity 83,000).

At a press conference prior to his Chicago show, the Dublin fiasco was not mentioned.  Instead Brooks said he wanted his fans all over the world to buy his entire collection and revealed they could now do so online.

At online music store ghosttunes.com, the appropriately named 'The Bundle' costs justs €23.

Brooks also stated that Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars were influences for his new material.

"If all these people singing are young and old, we seriously have got a shot at a second half of a career," he said.

"Last thing you should do is chase.  I don't think you try to change yourself to fit.  You be yourself."

The Garth Brooks World Tour with Trisha Yearwood will hit Atlanta, Georgia and Florida after Chicago.

Online Editors

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