By Chuck Cox
To this day, I have never been to a concert with a better bill than the one I witnessed four years ago in Grand Prairie’s QuikTrip Park.
I’m not sure what possessed Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson to get together for a ballpark tour that year, although I’m sure Dylan’s love of the national pastime had quite a bit to do with the package deal. To add to the greatness of the evening, I was also on the field for the show. I hardly even noticed it was about 102 degrees when opening act The Wiyos took the stage in center field of the home of the Grand Prairie Air Hogs. OK, I noticed a little bit.
Regardless, I was pumped — albiet a little surprised — when Nelson took the stage next in front of his signature Texas flag and his trusty guitar, Trigger, in his hands. Seeing Willie Nelson never gets old. And at the time it was only my second time to see him play live. As usual, Nelson made his way through a hit-packed set list, which included staples like “Whiskey River,” “Always on My Mind,” and “On the Road Again.” I just didn’t expect him to be the first of the headliners to play. But the guy is the consummate entertainer.
I kind of expected that distinction to belong to Mellencamp. Instead, the Indiana hit-maker and 1980s MTV icon was batting second. He also played a great set that was loaded with lots of his hits, but he did not play two of his biggest home runs, “Jack and Diane” and “Hurts So Good,” which surprised me quite a bit. It didn’t really bother me, because the show was still great, and it was also my first time to get to see Mellencamp play live.
Finally, Dylan. As big as it gets in the music world, Dylan has been steadily churning out music and has remained engrained in pop culture for more than 50 years. Just think about that for a minute — let it sink in. Fifty years. He is music royalty. And I was thrilled to finally get a chance to hear him play a show. With a vast discography, I had no idea what to expect from Dylan. He kept it pretty eclectic.
The 14-song set list was primarily for hardcore Dylan fans. I only recognized a few songs, but the encore was very solid with “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Jolene,” and “All Along the Watchtower.” Like Mellencamp, I was pretty cool with that. Dylan can play whatever Dylan wants to play.
That was an awfully fun night in Grand Prairie. And since I regularly attend shows across the street from QuikTrip Park at Verizon Theatre, I have seen a slew of big-time shows in that town. But none of them can top the star power of Dylan, Mellencamp, Nelson.