For Stevie Ray Vaughan, February 5, 1984, must have felt more like a runaway freight train than a normal day like any other. It was on that day that Vaughan and Double Trouble set out on their second worldwide concert tour and, by far, their biggest one to date. This lightning-quick follow-up to their international debut found the band hitting the road for the Couldn’t Stand the Weather Tour 1984 a mere 37 days after wrapping the Texas Flood Tour of 1983. Just as the name would suggest, the tour was orchestrated as a means to spread the word and give fans a taste of the highly anticipated Couldn’t Stand the Weather, which was due out that May. The Couldn’t Stand the Weather Tour 1984 would dwarf the tour that came before it in every way imaginable as it spanned three continents, journeyed to nine different countries, staged an additional thirty-plus performances, and spread out its nine tour legs over eleven months. How Stevie Ray and company even found the time to breathe was a masterful feat in and of itself.
Vaughan and Double Trouble first started to kick out the jams on February 5th in Knoxville, Tennessee. After the first two stateside legs of the tour were completed, the band set sail for Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Sweden, all previously uncharted territory for the blues rockers up to that point. Their travels would see the group return to home North America a number of times, but not before hungry fans in Germany, as well as Australia and New Zealand, had their fill of Vaughan’s fiery blues. While somewhat difficult to fathom, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble had yet to reach the status of rock & roll royalty at the time of this tour. This led to the band opening on occasion for the likes of Charlie Daniels, The Band, Albert Collins, the Allman Brothers Band, Koko Taylor, and Huey Lewis & the News. I don’t care how big of an act you were back in 1984, but to have the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan warm up the crowd for you was a surefire way to get show up at your own party.
The 1984 tour also presented Vaughan the opportunity to take the stage of some of the world’s most prestigious venues, namely Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House. The performance at Carnegie Hall held a particularly special place in Vaughan’s heart. The concert acted as both a celebration of his 30th birthday the day prior (the concert took place on October 4th) and a benefit for the research of the T.J. Martell foundation. With his loved ones in the audience, Stevie Ray Vaughan proceeded to not only play the hallowed venue, but to honor such musicians as Albert King, Guitar Slim, Albert Collins, Buddy Guy, and Elmore James as well. In short, he played the music of his heroes. He also brought out a slew of special guests for the occasion, from Dr. John and Jimmie Vaughan, to vocalist Angela Strehli and the horn section of Roomful of Blues.
Like the other venues that he visited during this tour, Vaughan unleashed favorites from both his debut, Texas Flood, and the very album that the tour was based upon. Vaughan and Double Trouble expertly tore through the likes of “Pride and Joy”, “Couldn’t Stand the Weather”, “Scuttle Buttin’”, “Texas Flood”, “Lenny”, “Rude Mood”, and Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”, both at the Hall and throughout the world in 1984. By the time the “Couldn’t Stand the Weather Tour 1984” came to a close in Houston, Texas, on December 31st, 1984, Stevie Ray Vaughan had spanned the globe to successfully prove to the world that his raw blues and blistering skills would lead him to only one place, and one place only: the very top.
Photo by Donna Johnson.