The latest installment in our "Live from Carnegie Hall" blog series
veers from classical greats to a blues-rock concert that tested the
famed Carnegie Hall acoustic to the limit.
Album: Live at Carnegie HallArtists: Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double TroubleDate Recorded: October 4, 1984Fun Fact: The band wore velvet mariachi-style suits,
tailor-made especially for their Carnegie Hall concert, from Nelda's
Tailor, Austin, Texas.
Stevie Ray Vaughan had turned 30 the night before he and his band
took the stage in Carnegie Hall for a concert where, according to The
New York Times, there "were moments when the staid auditorium
became a whistling, stomping roadhouse."
The three-piece Double Trouble—Vaughan on guitar, drummer Chris
Layton, and bassist Tommy Shannon—had been together for just three
years, and for the first and only time expanded the lineup to include a
second drummer, vocalist, an organist, a five-piece brass section, and
Vaughan's older brother, Jimmie, on rhythm guitar.
Although the Carnegie Hall acoustics were challenged by the volume of
the amplified music, they were not beaten, with The Dallas Times
Herald remarking that "it was on the slow, bluesy stuff that the
Carnegie Hall sound really helped. You could hear Stevie bend every note
in a way that's impossible in most rooms."
Despite the incongruity of a hard-driving, Southern blues-rock band
playing there, there was a direct link to the rich history of Carnegie
Hall. 74-year-old Epic A&R man, John Hammond, introduced Stevie Ray
Vaughan on stage as "one of the great guitar players of all time;in 1938
and 1939, Hammond had organized the historic "Spirituals to Swing"
concerts at the Hall, some of the first events featuring African
American artists playing to an integrated audience.
The album was not released until 13 years later, seven years after
Stevie Ray Vaughan's death in a helicopter crash.