On February 17, 1994, Garth Brooks played the Providence Civic Center, now known as the Dunkin' Donuts Center, or simply "the Dunk." My wife and I were there. We had tickets to see Garth again on Saturday, October 9, 2021, at Gillette Stadium, as did many other fans here on the SouthCoast.

Thanks to COVID-19, we won't get that opportunity. His official website says Brooks has canceled the remaining tour dates over concerns about COVID.

That 1994 concert was a great show and my first real exposure to the modern country music scene, as I had just begun working for a country music radio station and didn't really know much about the genre at the time. Once Garth flew across the civic center while suspended from a wire, I was hooked for life. Martina McBride, now a country legend, opened for Garth that night. She was selling Garth Brooks t-shirts on the concert tour and got the call when the originally scheduled opener backed out. True story.

More than 65,000 fans bought tickets for the Foxboro show this October, his first ever at Gillette. My sources tell me an announcement of a second show was forthcoming before the Delta variant became an issue, causing Brooks to consider scrapping the rest of the tour. What a tribute to one of the best Ccountry music performers of all time for his first appearance at the home of the mighty New England Patriots.

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Hey, I get it. My disappointment over a canceled concert can't compare with the disappointment many have experienced over the loss of a loved one or a business due to the pandemic. I have it in perspective. Yet it seemed things were finally getting back to normal. The cancellation of the show is just further evidence that we are not quite there yet.

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I know many of you, like me, are disappointed with the decision to pull the plug on the tour. I hear plans are in the works to set something up for next year. Let's hope all of this is a distant memory by then. Maybe then we can finally welcome Garth Brooks to Gillette Stadium.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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