The Cotton Bowl is an outdoor stadium in Dallas, Texas. It opened in 1930 as Fair Park Stadium, and it is part of a larger area called Fair Park. The Rolling Stones have been performing a total of seven times at Cotton Bowl, including the show on this tour, on Tuesday November 2, 2021. The previous shows were on July 6th 1975, October 31 and November 1 1981, November 10 and 11 1989, and November 18 1994. It was great to be part of a historic moment in a historic stadium here in Dallas 2021.
Following the six shows during 1975 to 1994, The Rolling Stones did not perform shows that often in Dallas during the next 27 years up to this year. They performed in Fort Worth in 1997, close to Dallas, then at the American Airlines Center in Dallas 2005, and AT&T stadium in Arlington near Dallas in 2015. For the other tours, Stones fans in Dallas had to go to Houston in 1998, 2003 and 2019, to San Antonio in 2002, then El Paso and Austin in 2006. Texas is a large state, it’s hard to visit every large city on every tour for The Rolling Stones.
I was booked for a total of four days stay downtown Dallas Texas, arriving from Tampa Florida on Oct 30, staying at Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Dallas. Everything should be close, and even if the Cotton Bowl was not really downtown, I could walk the 2.2 miles i.e. 3.5 km in 45 minutes. Also, there was a tram going to the stadium, so I should be fine with transportation.
The first three days were great. My hotel was great, large room, no service, but you get used to that during travel these days. Then the restaurant closed for two days during my stay, Sunday and Monday, so there goes the four stars of this hotel, if they ever had four stars, a hotel without a restaurant is just a place where you sleep. luckily they had breakfast.
I got sick from food during my travel from Tampa to Dallas. That do happen some times, last time 2016 in Mexico City. I went into alarm state immediately, I had been sick most of the time in Tampa as well, but the first days in Dallas were just terrible. So I was down to a basic meny of McDonalds Filet’o’Fish and lots of Coca Cola, nothing else, except for white toast for breakfast, and I went on medication I always carry with me just in case. On day three I was getting better. Then on day four – show day – it started to rain, and the temperature dropped from the previous three days pleasant +32 C i.e. 90F into 8 C or so i.e. 46 F. Still, I loved Dallas, every bit of the city, but it took me all four days to figure out where to go, where to find food, and how to get the best out of the stay.
As I looked out of the window of my hotel, I noticed there was a pool area two floors down. I was on level 7, the pool was on level 5. Also, I noticed there was no large buildings in front of my room, I had a great view of most of the area, including the “Giant Eyebowl”, and all the other buildings, including a scary high floors swimming pool hanging in the air on a building right across the area I was looking at. I did never see anyone swimming in that pool, and even if glass wall may be strong and bullet proof, I wonder how you may design a pool with a glass wall up on say floor 8 or 10, and expect someone to be able to enjoy swimming in it, certainly with no scare of heights or other technical worries.
I walked for hours every day, mainly looking for a place to eat safe food. I walked over to the JFK site, where the tragic shooting took place in 1963, a sad place to be, but I just had to be there. There were quite a few people walking around there, it was a quiet mood and time to think and wonder.
Then I gave up on that part of the city, and walked towards the other directions. They said the “Arts District” would be great. Not for me. Then I walked south, not much happening there. Enough walking, I had to do my work too. So I ended up going the 10 minutes or so each way to McDonalds on Commerce Street and S Griffin Street, went there two times per day for fish and Coca Cola, safe meal, not very healthy, but safe.
On show day Tuesday Nov 2 I took the tram out to Cotton Bowl, to check out how to walk back after the show. Then I realized how large the Fair Park area was. Also, I noticed there were lots of roads and a highway to cross under, I was the only person walking there, having my notes of directions, aiming at Commerce Street, which should take me safely back to Elm Street and my hotel through a walk of 45 minutes or so.
During my walk I passed by an area with lots of graffiti on buildings, the area was called Deep Ellum. There I found a favorite place called “Vidorra Cocina de Mexico“. Great large Mexican place, almost as good food as I got in Cancun during my stay there before tour start, and they had a roof, still outside, it was now raining a lot, but I was safe under the roof. So I stayed there for a great long meal, I even got Mexican Churros for dessert, a complete concert meal, I was ready for The Rolling Stones tonight!
This is what the Deep Ellum Tourist Information is saying: “The lively Deep Ellum entertainment district is known for its vibrant street murals, quirky art galleries and long-time concert venues for indie and blues. Brewpubs, cocktail bars and Tex-Mex eateries draw a boisterous crowd on weekends…” Well, it was a Tuesday, it was vibrant as much as I needed, and if I had stayed longer in Dallas, this is where I would go every day, but I had a flight out of Dallas next day.
I brought a mini umbrella in my back pocket just in case it was raining heavily after the show. The plan was to stack it under a tree or something near some entrance/exit, but it turned out nobody cared about my umbrella, so I had it in my pocket through the entrance, and kept it in my pocket through the show, never used it on the way back. Also, I had a cheap plastic poncho, I put it on shortly before the show start, just in case there would be heavy rain suddenly, as it is hard to figure out head, arm, front, back and all of that when many others are close by you tight in the pit. It rained a bit, but really, the poncho was not needed. Still, it was a rain show, with all the specials those shows bring out, like extra focus, hats, coats, jokes, comments and more.
After the show, I walked out in a random direction, then I did not see the skyline of downtown Dallas anywhere, so I knew I was lost. I curved 180 degrees around the very large Fair Park area, in between cars stuck in queues, looking for the downtown skyline, or the street with the tram, and after half an hour I found the tram. Some people queuing there, but not as many as expected. Then 15-20 minutes later the tram arrived, it was packed, but I arrived back to my hotel in 20 minutes, no need to walk back really. I was “home” by midnight, I can’t complain!
For show reports and pictures see the link below: