Stevie Ray Vaughan Plays "Texas Flood," Gets Booed at 1982 Montreux Jazz Fest

Sure, there are scores of stellar live versions of Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Texas Flood" online, but there's simply something magical about this raw performance of the Larry Davis-penned tune from July 17, 1982, at the Montreux Jazz and International Music Festival in Switzerland.

The extended, dynamics-filled rollercoaster ride finds Vaughan reaching into his bag of Albert-King-meets-Jim-Hendrix licks—not to mention behind his back, where his Fender Strat rests for the final quarter of the 10-minute-long performance.

Vaughan floored everyone that night, except for a handful of blues purists who can be heard (and clearly seen in the video below) booing loud and clear.

"We weren't sure how we'd be accepted," Vaughan told Guitar World in the early Eighties. But he must've known it went well when David Bowie appeared backstage ... and important alliance was born.

In the video below, Vaughan puts his guitar behind his back at 8:22, and it stays there for the rest of the song. As for the booing, it starts right away, then picks up during the quiet part of the song (around 6:50 in the clip). You can actually see a group of knuckleheads booing at 10:14.

Although I'm not defending the knuckleheads, I should mention that a good portion of the crowd was expecting the type of music they'd been hearing for most of the day: quiet, acoustic blues guitar (For instance, John Hammond played solo acoustic guitar at the event). When Vaughan and bassist Tommy Shannon turned up the amps and went to work, well, it was a bit of a shock.

By the way, this entire performance is available on DVD right here. (opens in new tab) As the DVD's title suggests, Live at Montreux 1982 & 1985 also features the band's 1985 performance at the Montreux Jazz Fest. No one booed him in '85.

No sane people, anyway.

You can find Damian Fanelli's most recent liner notes in Sony/Legacy's Stevie Ray Vaughan: The Complete Epic Recordings box set from 2014. Follow him on Twitter.

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas (opens in new tab), was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron (opens in new tab), a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (opens in new tab). He now plays in two NYC-area bands.