When I was in high school my friend’s dad worked for a record company and we saw some great concerts, all while I imagine he was smoking joints backstage with the bands and perhaps fondling some groupies. While I’m jealous of that, it did enable me to get great seats and a ride to some amazing concerts that shaped my life. One of those shows was Robert Plant at the Hartford Civic Center. Good Ole Bob Plant was riding high on the success of his Now & Zen album which featured some Zeppelin riffs and samples on his single “Tall Cool One”. The album came out around the time of the 40th Anniversary of Atlantic Records and everyone was clamoring about a Zeppelin Reunion at Plant’s NYC show a few weeks later. That didn’t happen, but that night in Hartford 3 other cool things did: #1 Jimmy Page joined Plant on several songs; #2 I got an awesome contact high; and #3 Stevie Ray Vaughn blew my mind. Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble were the opening act on that tour and I’m pretty sure they are one of the few — if not only — bands I’ve ever seen get or even deserve an encore. By then SRV and DT were tearing shit up full time. Stevie’s coke fueled blues riffs melted faces faster than any arena rock shredder dreamed of, and his band was tighter than Robert Plant’s pants on his most bloated, post bender day. That was more than enough for me to dig waaaay deeper into SRV’s catalog and consider becoming the unofficial president of his non existent fan club, but what really cemented the deal was when he started ripping into the Jimi Hendrix catalog like he wrote the material himself. Now I am a BIG Hendrix fan. Dude could really write and play, but I will go out a limb here and say that SRV plays Hendrix better than Hendrix. Yeah I said it. Sadly both of those guys are not around to duke it out as they both died quite young, but alas we have the music forever and thanks to the fine fellas over at SONY Legacy you can now enjoy the 30th Anniversary expanded edition of the Grammy Nominated Texas Flood album complete with SRV gems like “Love Struck Baby” & “Pride & Joy”, plus a bonus track (“Tin Pan Alley”), and a second CD featuring a previously unreleased live set recorded in Philly in October 20, 1983 featuring some aforementioned SRV covers of Jimi’s “Voodoo Child” & “Little Wing / Third Stone From The Sun”. Get the album, and send me $20 to join the now-official SRV fan club. He would’ve wanted it that way.
Here’s a look at Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble Live on Austin City Limits