Traffic nightmare, cold drizzle can’t dampen Rolling Stones show at Dallas’ Cotton Bowl
By Stefan Stevenson
November 03, 2021
It will take much more than a persistent, cold, drizzle and a massive traffic jam to dampen a Rolling Stones concert.
We found that out loud and clear Tuesday night at the Cotton Bowl in Fair Park.
Although inclement weather lingered for much of the two hour, 10 minute, 18-song set, most of the 45,000 or so in attendance were unfazed. They were led, of course, by the unparalleled Mick Jagger, who turned 78 in July. He’s still gyrating with the speed of a hummingbird and showing off an agility of rock stars a third his age. He wiggled his backside, preened up a storm from one side of the stage to the other, and up and down the catwalk that jutted deep into the floor seats. Guitarists Keith Richards, wearing a knit blue cap and yellow sweater, shot Jagger amused looks throughout the show. Just like old times.
Jagger is still rail thin and still pursing his rock star lips, loving every second of being Mick Jagger. If the wet stage slowed him down — and Jagger mentioned it was slippery — it wasn’t noticeable. Crew members did their best at least once during the show to clear moisture off the catwalk when Jagger was on the main stage.
The Stones first played North Texas in 1965 at Fort Worth’s Will Rodgers Coliseum — which Jagger made note of during the show, adding that the band arrived at the venue in an armored car (pictures of the moment were showed on the massive videoboard behind the stage).
“Tickets were $4.50,” Jagger added, before the band began an extended intro to “Sympathy For the Devil,” one of their signature songs, and one of the greatest rock and roll songs ever written. Of course, the Stones have a bunch of songs in that category so whittling down a set list could be a challenge.
That, however, doesn’t seem to be the gist of the “No Filter Tour” shows. Instead of squeezing in several more top 10 sing-along hits, the Stones did what they’re best at: jamming and letting the groove take over. Many of the 18 songs performed included extended jams at the end, including “Midnight Rambler,” which included parts of Robert Johnson’s “Come On In My Kitchen,” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” which ended the main set. The two-song encore included arguably the Stones’ best song “Gimme Shelter,” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” the band’s breakthrough 1965 hit. After the last note, the biggest fireworks show you’ll ever see in November filled the sky above the stage.
The sound was impeccable, both on a technical sonic level and from the band itself, with its barrage of musicians and two background vocalists, including Sasha Allen who nearly stole the show with her help on “Gimme Shelter” as she joined Jagger out on the b-stage. The band, which includes guitarist Ronnie Wood, drummer Steve Jordan who replaced original member Charlie Watts who died in August, bassist Darryl Jones, keyboardist Chuck Leavell and Matt Clifford (who also plays horns), and saxophonist Tim Ries, provided more proof that even with only three long-time members still active, the Rolling Stones are still the greatest rock and roll band in the world.
This was the seventh time the band has played the Cotton Bowl, Jagger told the crowd, many of whom had complained on social media moments earlier about horrific traffic delays getting around the venue.
Some fans claimed they were sitting in their cars for more than two hours waiting to park. From the looks of it, Fair Park didn’t seem to be getting a whole lot of assistance from Dallas Police. Major intersections, including the one at Haskell Ave. and Parry Ave., which also includes a DART line, were massive clusters of cars fighting to move mere feet at a time. There were several close calls with cars and DART trains and multiple cars had train crossing gates come down on top of them.
But all of that traffic misery for most quickly melted away when the Stones’ hits-filled set started with 1968’s “Street Fighting Man” at 8:45 p.m. It was one of 11 songs played that was released in the 1960s, and specifically one of seven from their fertile 1968-69 period when the band really found its iconic swagger with the albums Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed.
Jagger name-checked Lockhart Smokehouse in the Bishop Arts District, Whataburger, and joked that he washed it all down with a couple Mambo Taxis from Mi Cocina. He welcomed fans from Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Houston, Fort Worth and, oddly, Gun Barrel City, the name of which undoubtedly tickled him.
The only lull, if we’re nitpicking, came during Richards’ two-song turn at the mic. Richards, who turns 78 in December, actually looks healthier than ever.
“Hey, Texas,” Richards said after taking center stage with a laugh. “It’s been a while. It’s great to see y’all again. It’s great to be anywhere.”
Absolutely, Keith. Just as long as we’re not stuck in traffic.