When I was a young teenager, before I could play any chords on a guitar, I had a very fortunate experience. My friend Phillip had heard of this fantastic American blues guitarist, playing at the Auckland Town Hall. I didnt know who he was but encouraged by my buddy, I got a ticket and we went together. The seats we had were right above the mixing desk, looking down on the band from the side. Really the worst seats in the house, on paper. But I was enthralled to be so close to the performers and to see the show from the technicians point of view. A big fellow with a shaved head came out and opened the show on acoustic guitar. He was really good, and I think he may have been the guitar tech. He was worthy of his own show. The next band was The Fabulous Thunderbirds from Texas. It was rockabilly, blues, rock and roll, and 100% enthusiasm and fun. I remember the woman playing the double bass and how she could spin it on the spike and not miss a beat. I remember how they all had memorised their parts and they played as one, it was seamless - solid as a mountain. There was a break, then the main act came on. A smaller band, just a trio. But right from the start, it was mesmerising. His guitar playing sounded like nothing I had ever heard before. I couldn't believe how only 3 players could make so much sound. The guitarist in particular was incredible, so absorbing, so potent. It was music on another level, completely engaging and soulful. His name was Stevie Ray Vaughan, and he has inspired countless scores of musicians. He passed away 25 years ago. Stevie Ray Vaughan was just 35 when he died in a helicopter crash outside East Troy, Wisconsin, August 27, 1990. Im one of the few of my generation who got to see the legend up close. Getting to see him play is one of the things that still makes me want to play guitar.