Austin City Limits celebrates an icon with Stevie Ray Vaughan 30 Years On, an epic hour featuring the guitar giant’s two classic appearances on the ACL stage, on the 30th Anniversary of his tragic death. Widely hailed as one of the premier blues-rock guitarists, the Grammy-winning Vaughan made magic in his ACL outings and the broadcast captures his magnetic performances. The installment premieres October 17 at 9pm ET/8pm CT as part of the live music beacon’s Season 46. With live music still on pause, ACL continues to provide viewers a front-row seat to the best in live performance. The series airs weekly on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings) and full episodes are made available online for a limited time at pbs.org/austincitylimits immediately following the initial broadcast.
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble’s two iconic appearances on the ACL stage in 1983 and 1989 rank among the most highly-requested episodes in the program’s archives. Stevie Ray Vaughan 30 Years On, an hour-long special, showcases the pair of performances in a rare broadcast, bookends of an incredible career cut short by the guitar hero’s tragic death in a helicopter crash at age 35 on August 27, 1990. The Texas bluesman’s towering command of the Fender Stratocaster was unparalleled, and Vaughan bridged the gap between blues and rock ‘n’ roll with an excitement that hadn’t been witnessed since Jimi Hendrix’s reign, sparking a rebirth of the blues, and inspiring a new generation of music fans. Three decades later, his lasting influence continues to resonate as countless musicians credit Vaughan’s ACL appearances as their inspiration to pick up the guitar. Vaughan and Double Trouble were inducted into the inaugural class of the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame in 2014 and the hometown legend is forever memorialized with a bronze statue in Austin.
The thrilling hour opens with Vaughan’s December 1983 ACL debut, with the iconic riff of his signature “Pride and Joy,” as the virtuoso captivates with his passion-fueled guitar music and blistering Stratocaster solos. Performing alongside Double Trouble, featuring Chris Layton on drums and Tommy Shannon on bass, the guitar-slinger soars on a pair of inspired covers: the title track to his 1983 debut album Texas Flood, with a slowburn reading of the Lone Star classic, dazzling with his ability to play the guitar behind his back, and an epic interpretation of Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child” that is pure rock ‘n’ roll swagger.
Vaughan made his final ACL appearance on October 10, 1989, less than a year prior to his untimely death, newly sober and at the height of his powers, in a performance for the ages. Delivering back to back highlights from his acclaimed 1989 final album In Step, including “Tightrope,” “Cold Shot” and “Leave My Girl Alone,” Vaughan’s performance is extraordinary, displaying a combination of raw power, deep emotion and technical brilliance with note perfect solos. Augmented by the addition of keyboardist Reese Wynans, Double Trouble and Vaughan sizzle with an exhilarating performance of their 1989 smash “Crossfire,” punctuated by the guitar icon’s scorching runs. “This one goes out to anyone who’s still suffering in any way,” says the all-time great as he launches into the shimmering instrumental “Riviera Paradise,” pushing the guitar to new heights and continuing to explore new boundaries.
“30 years after his tragic death, these performances serve as bookends to Vaughan’s brilliant career with Double Trouble,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, “showing a striking contrast between ‘zero self-confidence’ and ‘pure magic,’ but in both cases you can see a master at work.”
“My brother was so incredibly talented,” says Jimmie Vaughan. “Austin City Limits captured many of his best performances.”
Stevie Ray Vaughan 30 Years On setlist:
Pride and Joy
Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Leave My Girl Alone
Season 46 Broadcast Line-up (six new episodes to be announced):
October 3 The Best of John Prine
October 10 Yola
October 17 Stevie Ray Vaughan 30 Years On
October 24 Rufus Wainwright
October 31 ACL Presents: 50 Years of Asleep at the Wheel
November 7 John Legend & The Roots: Wake Up!
November 14 Jackie Venson | Mavis Staples w/Bonnie Raitt
November 21 The Mavericks
Tune-in, log on, and let ACL be a trusted sidekick for entertainment during these challenging days. The complete line-up for the full 13-week season will be announced at a later date. Viewers can visit acltv.com for news regarding live streams, future tapings and episode schedules or by following ACL on Facebook, Twitter and IG. . Fans can also browse the ACL YouTube channel for exclusive songs, behind-the-scenes videos and full-length artist interviews.
About Austin City Limits
Austin City Limits (ACL) offers viewers unparalleled access to featured acts in an intimate setting that provides a platform for artists to deliver inspired, memorable, full-length performances. Now in its 46th Season, the program is taped live before a concert audience from The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. Austin City Limits is the longest-running music series in television history and remains the only TV series to ever be awarded the National Medal of Arts. Since its inception, the groundbreaking music series has become an institution that’s helped secure Austin’s reputation as the Live Music Capital of the World. The historic KLRU Studio 6A, home to 36 years of ACL concerts, has been designated an official Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Landmark. In 2011, ACL moved to the new venue ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. ACL received a rare institutional Peabody Award for excellence and outstanding achievement in 2012.
Austin City Limits is produced by Austin PBS, KLRU-TV and funding is provided in part by Dell Technologies, RigUp, the Austin Convention Center Department and Cirrus Logic. Additional funding is provided by the Friends of Austin City Limits. Learn more about Austin City Limits, programming and history at acltv.com.