October 9-12, 2003

It's difficult to compare one tour with another, but this was easily one of the best! A great group of 47 fans from all over the USA, Canada, Sweden, France and Australia. There have been several tours that I thought would be tough to top, and this one qualifies thanks to having made so many new friends and visiting with a number of very special guests.

Thursday: We started with an informal gathering at the Dallas hotel banquet room from 3pm until midnight - meeting new folks, catching up with friends since the last tour, sharing SRV stories, and meeting special guests. On display in the room were significant pieces from the Stevie Ray Vaughan Museum, including the pancho Stevie wore on the cover of In Step, the black and yellow shirt he wore on MTV Unplugged, Stevie's Marshall amplifier, a tremolo bar off of Number One, and other items. Special guests this evening were Stevie's uncle Joe Cook, CBS/Sony record executive Jack Chase. Jim Suhler (Monkeybeat and George Thorogood band) and Carlton Powell played a fantastic acoustic gig for us. The set was originally scheduled for 90 minutes, but I think it was closer to three hours!

Friday: The luxury tour bus will picked us up at the hotel at 9:00am for sightseeing in Dallas, including Stevie's childhood home and neighborhood, the "Tick Tock" walk and his last home. We travelled in luxury down the road to Austin viewing rare videos along the way. Arriving in Austin we toured the Austin City Limits studio where Stevie and about 500 other great artists have performed. Our special guest was Terry Lickona, the man behind the show for 26 of the 29 years of the show. We posed for group and individual photos on the famous stage in front of the Austin skyline. The evening was filled with many options for live music within walking distance of our hotel in Austin's 6th Street music district. Some opted for Robert Cray and John Hiatt, others for Junior Brown and some hopped among the over 100 clubs and restaurants in the area.

Saturday: First stop this morning was the SRV Memorial statue for another group photo (above) on the banks of the Colorado River. Then it was a visit with Ray Hennig of Heart of Texas Music to be entertained by his rememberances of Stevie and Jimmie Vaughan as customers and friends from the time they were teenagers just starting to play professionally. Ray recounted the history of Stevie's Number One Stratocaster and how he obtained it. Lunch at the Hula Hut on the lake was followed by another visit to one of Stevie's friends, Joella Torres who is the daughter of Stevie's hatmaker, Manny Gammage. Some posed for photos in the shoe shine stand where Stevie used to sit and play acoustic guitar in the hat shop. Ray and Joella's stories helped us all get to know Stevie a little better. Back in Austin we did some souvenir shopping at Wild About Music. This evening we were thoroughly entertained by Alan Haynes, Uncle John Turner and Appa Perry for at Joe's Generic Bar. The extra special guest this evening was none other than Tommy Shannon who played bass with Alan and Unk. This was kept a secret and many jaws hit the floor when Tommy walked into the club! About 2:00 a.m. we finally made it back to the hotel.

Sunday: On our way back to Dallas we made a stop to meet yet another very special guest, Byron Barr. Byron was Stevie's roadie and guitar tech from 1982-1985, and opened his store of memorabilia and  vintage western ware for us. In addition to the items for sale, there was a fabulous display of rare tour posters and memorabilia from his years working with Stevie. Back on the road we watched more rare videos before visiting Stevie's gravesite. Slim Rader performed a quiet and respectful "Cry Sky" from the Double Trouble CD. Last stop this year was the famous Charley's Guitar Shop. "Life Without You" is the song Stevie dedicated to Charley Wirz when he passed away in 1985. Most of the group found gathered for one last meal together and then gathered in the hotel lounge until after midnight. After three days of travel and music, it was a great testament to the new friendships for so many to stay up late visiting on Sunday night.

I cannot convey in a short synopsis like this how much fun we had not only in the activities listed above, but at meals, on the bus and hanging out in the hotels and along 6th Street in Austin. Many folks are asking for another tour in 2004. Watch the website for fan club events to come.

In the photo: (left to right) Roy, Mike, ghost of Roger, Mary, Lee B., (real Roger hidden), Rick H., Holly, July, Jared, Tim, Chelie, Gary, Renny (in hat), Kathy S., CeeCee, Shirley, Larry D., Jan, Kathleen, Billy, Tina, me (in front of Stevie), Craig M. (almost hidden in back), Bob, Conrad, Slim (in hat), Lynn, Lisa, Scott (in back), Joyce "Mom," Rick C., Mark, Jason, Heather, Randy, Linda, Darrell, Ulf, Alex, Eddie, Araceli, Fred, Lori, Kathy K., Lee and Larry S. Behind the camera, Beverly.