When I was nine years old, I went to visit my aunt in Colorado. It was August, so naturally the ski slopes weren’t in season, but she took me there to check out the mountains and ride the lift. Over lunch that day a news alert came on the television in the restaurant. Stevie Ray Vaughan had died. I had no idea who he was, but I distinctly remember where I was when I found out. Although I’m sure the news also mention Clapton and the others, only Vaughan’s name stuck with me.
That was the first time I became aware of Alpine Valley. It’s kind of weird to have such a iconic tragedy be your first memory of a venue, but there it is. I really have no idea why that moment is so frozen in my memory. About five years later I dived head first into guitar and became a huge SRV fan. I learned a bunch of his tunes and watched the El Mocambo VHS damn near everyday before—and after—school.
Years later I joined a band that would play in the VIP area at Alpine. It was a weird circle to complete: Going from that hot August afternoon on a mountain in Colorado to playing Jimmy Buffett tunes in a beer garden while literally staring at the hill that the helicopter crashed into.
Last Fall, The Bamboozlers were asked to play the VIP event for Jimmy Buffett’s Labor Day Weekend show—which is a somewhat revered date in Parrothead lore. The show felt great, we played really well, and the crowd was excited thanks to a rather lengthy tailgate party. As soon as the second set was done we had thoughts of releasing the recording. After going through the (digital) tapes, we culled it down to about 70 minutes of prime Bamboozler jams, which is now available on our website.