A Great Concert – SRV at Champaign IL 1987

Dan is much smarter than me and he holds on to all the ticket stubs for concerts and sporting events that he’s attended over the years.  He recently sent me a rug and a coffee mug that he created based on the ticket stub for a special concert we attended almost 30 years ago when we were at the University of Illinois.  The show was Stevie Ray Vaughan at Foellinger Auditorium.

At the time I was in college and had almost no money.  I saw that Stevie Ray Vaughan was coming to campus and thought I would get up early and stand in line to purchase tickets before class (I rarely got up early in those days when I could avoid it).  Alas, the line was already long and I pretty much gave up right away.  There was a guy who was scalping tickets, however, so I went up to him and bought two tickets for what I remember was about $50.

The tickets were up front in the first couple of rows as it turned out but way, way on the left side of the stage.  Dan and I got rip roaring drunk before the show (which was the custom, back in the day) and we headed to Foellinger.  Note that Foellinger was a lecture hall and I had many classes in that room – the room had bolted-down desks with the fold out panels that you could write on, so it was kind of odd that they had concerts at that same room (I also saw the punk band Husker Du in that same lecture hall, which seemed even odder).

When we got to our seats I remember being disappointed because we were far to the side and the speakers were a “wall” out front.  We couldn’t see the drums or the back of the stage.  But when the show started, SRV came out and stood right in front of the speakers immediately in our face about ten feet away and jammed the whole show right there.  It was amazing.

I looked on the site Setlist and I couldn’t find the song list from that show but they had some other shows on that tour and I think this is a pretty typical list from the era.

Of course you could spend a gigantic post summarizing how great SRV is and his impact on music but I won’t replicate that here. You’d be better off going to YouTube and watching one of his concerts from the 1987 tour online.

Cross posted at LITGM

4 thoughts on “A Great Concert – SRV at Champaign IL 1987”

  1. Great story!….Thanks for sharing. His brother Jimmie Vaughan is still out touring. I strongly recommend you see him too.

  2. I remember when he died at Alpine Valley. I had a chance to go, but I was just there a month before to see the Who reunion show. I guess I figured there would be another opportunity to see him. There wasn’t.

    I did watch him on TV for his classic set with Albert King


    The guy was a genius savant on guitar. They used to say when he played he wasn’t playing as much as channeling the chords from another spiritual plane.

  3. I went to a pop concert once: Simon and Garfunkel. They were more musical than I expected. I suppose that means that they dumbed down their records for the mass audience, and expressed themselves more in concert.

  4. I had followed The Fabulous Thunderbirds from fairly early on, when two locals joined the band. Remember being at a show and a guy telling me “you gotta see Jimmy Vaughn’s brother in action”. I recall thinking, “it can’t get much more rip-roaring than this” as the the T-Birds were wildly popular, packing venues every time they came to town and always tore it up.

    Later on I did see SRV in action, and of course everybody knows that story. That’s a great gift and quite the memento from a epic era.

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