It was another hot summer Saturday night in Dallas, Texas, but this one would prove to be a lot different than many of the others we have been having here. This night was the time for some music therapy, and thousands of fans descended upon Dos Equis Pavilion to witness Jelly Roll and his phenomenal therapeutic show. As you neared the venue, the traffic on the streets was getting crowded between the cars filing in and trying to find parking to the concertgoers being dropped off at the drop-off points and walking the rest of the way to the venue. This concert made for a little longer commute and time frame to get to the show, but it was all worth the traffic and waiting to witness a live Jelly Roll show!
Upon entering the show late, I caught the last little bit of Struggle Jennings putting on a sensational show for the fans, and you could tell they were enjoying it. The fans cheered and danced around while they sang along to his songs.
Kicking things off before, Jelly Roll was the Academy award-winning Tennessee Legends Three 6 Mafia, which are the ones that took Jelly Roll in many years ago, believed in him, and got him started on his trek to being the rising star he is today. As soon as the lights went out and the members of Three 6 Mafia entered the stage, the fans erupted with cheers and screams, waiting for them to jump into their first song. DJ Paul, Juicy J, and Crunchy Black came out and went straight into Who Run It, and the crowd was dancing and singing along with every word. These guys never stopped all night, kept playing all their hits, and even did some sampling of some of the albums they produced, like some Project Pat with Chicken Head. They stopped halfway through their set and told the fans that about 20 years ago, they signed their first white artist, and it was none other than Lil Wyte, and they had him join them on the stage. After he joined them on the scene, they talked about him bringing them Jelly Roll about nine years after they signed him, and they jumped off into a song together and went back and forth with each other. The fans kept chanting Three 6 Mafia as they went back and forth with the fans and kicked off into Sippin on Some Syrup, and from the front of the venue to the back wall, they were dancing and singing along. They even had Lil Flip rapping with them, sampled some Katy Perry Dark Horse, and had the crowd singing back and forth with them. As they worked their way through tonight’s set, they also performed more of their hits Half on a Sack and It Hard out Here for a Pimp. The crowd went wild, and everyone jumped up, began singing and dancing to the end of their set, and still begged for more.
So, the time has come that this incredible sold-out crowd has been waiting for. It was time for the night’s final act; the phenomenal Jelly Roll was about to take the stage. The lights went out, and you could see his band taking the stage and getting set to give this sold-out crowd an exceptionally incredible show. Once the band got set, Jelly Roll took the stage and blew the proverbial roof off the place as he walked out and jumped off into The Lost off his newest album, Whitsitt Chapel. After the opening song, they started the intro to Hate Goes On. Jelly asked the crowd if they wondered if I would play any of my old music on the new tour. This song is for the day one fans, and everyone began yelling and screaming along as they played the song. As they wrapped up this older song, he had the crowd going from the front to the back. After that, he jumped into Halfway to Hell and said he had been waiting on this show in Dallas, Texas because he knew what to expect from these fans. As they performed this song, when they sang the halfway to hell part of the lyrics, the pyro went off all over the stage and gave quite a sight to see. As they finished their first three songs of their 18-song set, he said that he would like to welcome us to the Backroad Baptist show and that he would like to announce that this show has completely sold out. After he told the fans about the show being sold out, he went into the Creature and had some incredible sights playing on the screen behind them, which gave the fans so much to watch and look at. He was so excited that he had twenty thousand people who knew that song singing along with him as they performed. He then played some more of the fan’s favorite songs like Dead Man Walking and Son of a Sinner, and you could see the fans swaying and singing along to all of the words from the front of the pit all the way to the walls on the lawn. As he wrapped up Son of a Sinner, he just looked out in awe of 20,000 people singing his songs to him, and they began chanting his name, Jelly, over and over. Then he stepped up to the microphone again and said it was an honor to be on country radio and began explaining the music he grew up on. He said he had a sister and older brother who were all listening to different stuff. He told us his mom played him old and new country, his sister played straight rock and roll, and his older brother was into gangster rap. That is how many of his fans grew up and listened to all genres of music, and you could tell when he performed a montage of songs from all genres he grew up with. He kicked off the montage with Toby Keith’s Should’ve Been a Cowboy and followed that up with Don’t Rock the Jukebox, Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow. As he finished those songs, he said that was a little piece of the music and mentioned his friends from the Texas Country Music scene. After this, he went to another part of his upbringing and jumped off into a song he heard from his older brother’s bedroom. He heard NWA Boys in the Hood, and the fans began singing with him. He quickly followed that up with DMX, Eminem Lose Yourself, Ms.Jackson, and Just a Friend. He said that he loved all of this music, but the music Jelly loved the most is the kind that you can feel, and they call that therapeutic music, and that is what he wants to make. Jelly Roll and his band continued the onslaught of our senses with the stage show and incredible music for our auditory enjoyment. He sang several other songs, and he stopped before one of his songs and talked about addiction, how bad it is, and how hard it can be for so many people. Then he sang his song She for Us, and you could tell by the fan’s reactions that hit deep for many of them. He continued many of his hit songs that so many people love and have helped them through some of their most challenging times by listening to his music and knowing they are not alone in their struggles.
I have been a fan of Jelly Roll for many years now and have always enjoyed his music. I am so glad that I finally got to see his show live. If you have never seen a Jelly Roll show live, do yourself a favor and catch one as soon as possible. I know you will not be disappointed, and you will see precisely why he is such a rising star and has such a loyal and robust following. Jelly Roll writes music to help you through some of your most challenging and darkest times and let you know you are not alone and can make it through anything. You can tell how humble he is and how excited he is to perform on these stages as he travels around the country, passing out his therapeutic music to everyone who wants it. I cannot wait to see another one of his live shows, and he and his band leave it all on that stage night after night for the fans.
Words and Photos by Craig Youngblood