After Vaughan finished a show with Robert Cray and Eric Clapton the night of August 25, 1990 at the Alpine Valley Music Theater near East Troy Wisconsin, he woke the next morning and described what he called a “horrible” nightmare. He shared this story with his band (Double Trouble) and some trusted crew members. Stevie said he felt “terrified, yet almost peaceful” he dreamt that he was at his own funeral and saw thousands of mourners. Stevie with Double Trouble performed that night along with Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, and Stevie’s older brother Jimmie. They closed the show with a Robert Johnson song “Sweet Home Chicago.” Afterwards backstage Vaughan and Clapton talked about future dates in London to pay a tribute to Jimi Hendrix. As Vaughan planned to make the long drive back to Chicago with his brother and sister-in-law, Connie, he learned from a member of Clapton’s crew that three seats were open on one of the helicopters returning to Chicago with Clapton’s crew. At the last minute they learned that only one seat was available, Vaughan said to Connie and Jimmie, “Do you mind if I take the seat? I really need to get back.” The helicopter took off around 12:40 am, four hours later at about 5 am, a search for the lost helicopter was begun. About two hours later at 7 am searchers found the bodies of Vaughan and the other passengers, all on board were killed instantly. William Bruce, National Transportation Safety Board investigator later described the crash as ”a high-energy, high-velocity impact at a shallow angle.” Stephen “Stevie” Ray Vaughan was born October 3, 1954 in Dallas, Texas USA and died this day August 27, 1990. With good reason, Rolling Stone magazine in 2003, ranked Stevie Ray Vaughan #7 in their list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.
On a personal note, I was lucky enough to see Stevie’s last tour date in New Orleans. It was Greg Allman and Stevie Ray Vaughan, what an experience that was. My memory tells me it was less than a month or two before his death but after searching the net, I learned he played here on April 29. 1990. My memory has not failed me in remembering the concert though, it was truly one of the best concerts I remember despite the conditions. It was outside at night, raining pretty hard off and on. I was soaking wet from head to toe, in mud up to my ankles and there was lightning in the air, and it was not from the weather! Thanks tofor the video of the very fitting song to my memory in the rain, here is Stevie Ray Vaughan jamming to “Texas Flood.”