I only know this because I was listening to the classic rock station on the drive home tonight, and the deejay was playing a set of Stevie Ray Vaughan, followed by an excruciatingly boring outro that tried to draw parallels between his death and Buddy Holly's, but only succeeded in making me want to run my car into a telephone pole.
Honestly, reading from the original NTSB accident investigation report from the helicopter crash would have been more appealing.
Anyway, I've always remembered that he died in August of 1990. This is because the summer of 1990...
(Hrm. Just a moment. I must be losing my memory. 1990 was my freshman/sophomore summer, but I could have sworn he died the summer before I started college, which was also the summer I was working at the B. Dalton's Booksellers at Menlo Park Mall -- before they rebuilt it, all fancy-like. It was also the summer I crashed my Mom's -- later to be my -- car into the Exit 135 traffic circle during a light summer drizzle.
Now that I do some thinking and a little research, I realize that I am completely wrong. I guess I always associated all things SRV with that summer, because that's when In Step came out. Which I owned -- on cassette, of course. The malleability and fallibility of memory, I guess.)
Whatever else I was doing that summer, I had the theoretical opportunity in July to go see Stevie Ray Vaughan play at the Garden State Arts Center (it now has some hideously corporate name), which was barely a half hour away.
For whatever reason, I said, nah, I'll catch him some other time. I probably had a unbreakable prior commitment to furious masturbation or something.
The next month, of course, he was dead.
I'm not sure if there's a deeper moral of the story, other than to say: If you get a chance to see a good show, go.