As the Stones roll out of town, enjoy these fun facts about the band’s history in North Texas

It wasn’t just a cold front sweeping through Dallas last night. The Rolling Stones blew into town as well, performing at the Cotton Bowl in Fair Park, amid a drizzly chill.

(Things were a bit more temperate on Monday, when frontman Mick Jagger spent the day documenting his stops at the Dallas Arboretum and other destinations.)

Tuesday’s gig was the superstar rock band’s 12th time to appear in North Texas, and its fifth total appearance at the Dallas venue overall.

The current “No Filter” tour also marked a melancholy first in the Stones’ touring history through Texas: Drummer Charlie Watts was not on stage with them. (Frequent collaborator Steve Jordan filled in.) While recuperating from an unspecified medical procedure in London, Watts died Aug. 24 at the age of 80.

It had been nearly a half century — 46 years, to be exact — since Jagger and his mates first stopped in Fair Park. Any artist with that much history is bound to have a few interesting facts about them that have been obscured, forgotten or overlooked.

As they roll out of town, here are some fun facts about the Stones’ history in North Texas.

1. Dallas was not the site of the Rolling Stones’ North Texas debut

Believe it or not, it was Dallas’s neighbor to the West that first got a taste of Mick and the boys back in the mid-1960s. The first time the Stones performed in North Texas was at Fort Worth’s Will Rogers Memorial Center on Nov. 21, 1965.

A contemporary photo captured by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram shows band members entering the venue from an armored car, surrounded by police. (The photo was reportedly displayed on video screens Tuesday night.)

It would be another four years before the Rolling Stones visited Dallas for a Nov. 13, 1969 gig at Southern Methodist University’s Moody Coliseum.

2. The Fort Worth connection to a multi-million dollar Stones gig

There’s no shortage of legendary and apocryphal stories surrounding the globally famous rock stars, but one jaw-slackening tale is true.

On Nov. 16, 2002, Fort Worth billionaire David Bonderman laid out a cool $10 million for the Rolling Stones, along with John Mellencamp and Robin Williams, to perform at the Joint at the Hard Rock Café Hotel in Las Vegas for his 60th birthday. (Bonderman, 78, still lives in Fort Worth.)

The band, taking a quick break from its worldwide “Licks” tour, tucked “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” into this particular setlist, the irony of which was almost certainly lost on those in attendance.

3. Taking Texas with them everywhere

Throughout the years, the Rolling Stones have leaned on a number of musicians to help them out on tour, and Texas has been a frequent source of collaborators.

Most famously, saxophonist and West Texas native Bobby Keys spent decades, up until his death in 2014, touring and recording with the band, appearing on iconic albums like Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main St.

Occasional Stones keyboardist Ian McLagan made his home in Austin from the mid-1990s onward until his death in 2014, while trumpeter Jim Price, a Fort Worth native, was a key contributor on stage and in the studio for much of the band’s extraordinary 1970s run.

Preston Jones is a freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. 

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