Holy fuck, what a document.
We all love Stevie. This is known. I’m no different. His playful playing, his inventiveness, his visceral and raw guitar talent made him one of the best ever. Bar none. Seriously, Stevie is the shit.
I rescued this live CD for $2 (pristine) from our local thrift shop – a total score for me, a travesty for anyone who knows how much incendiary amazingness is on this damn thing. It’s worth so much more than that.
First off I need to make note of the sound on this recording. It is HUGE. As the liner notes mention, Carnegie Hall was meant for acoustic music, not electric blues, so everything, including the PA, got boosted. The result is that what we hear on the CD is probably better-sounding than what the audience in the room got blasted with that night (which was 1984-10-04). The damn thing is LOUD.
We get a stage intro from Ken Dashow, then THE John Hammond, and then SRV and Double Trouble (trio) proceed to take the tops off our heads. We get two instrumentals in a row, by way of introduction (Scuttle Buttin’ and Testifyin’) before he even starts singing. When a song crashes to a close, the next one starts up and it’s like it goes from 0-60 in zero seconds flat. It’s like someone throws an Awesome switch and the band goes from OFF to BLOW YOUR MIND. Anyway, they run through six tracks of bloody incredible and then it seems there was an intermission. I have to tell you, if that was all they played, you could still go home well and truly satisfied. But there was so much more…
The last eight tracks of the album are with full big band. This included Jimmie Vaughan (his brother) on guitar, Dr. John on keyboards, George Rains as a second drummer (!), the Roomful Of Blues horns, and Angela Strehli’s vocals. Do I need to tell what THAT must’ve been like? Holy hell. That’s me right there, Mind. Blown.
The setlist was beautiful, and it was the day after Stevie’s 30th birthday. He was on-stage at Carnegie Hall, incredulous that he, a blues-circuit player from Texas, had even made it that far, and they gave it their frickin’ ALL. What a show! This CD is so worth whatever your local retailer is asking, I can’t even begin to tell you. That I got it for $2… damn.
Sit down, kids, because the grown-ups are showing you how it’s frickin’ done!