From: Charlie Dirksen
11/15/96  Keil Center, St. Louis, MO

I admittedly wasn't paying attention to this opening, particularly.
Doesn't sound at all unusual.  Tramps segment comes in around 2:30 or
so as usual, and Mike, Fish and Page just jam it out for awhile,
before Trey comes in soloing (after about 40 seconds).  Trey is
noodling away in a typical Mike's Song tramps-segment fashion:  awry,
eerie, peculiar, queer, odd... nothing "melodious" or spine-tingling,
in my opinion.

At 4:30, quite surprisingly, actually, the closing chords to the
Mike's tramps segment kick in!!!  (I recently listened to the Vegas
version of Mike's, and these chords never kick in until around 8:40 or

At 4:48 or so the post-tramps segment begins, initially sounding like
a segue into Simple could transpire, but no Simple.  Just more dark,
evil, heavy grooving.. at first.  Fish picks up the beat a little, and
starts punching out a rather upbeat, funky groove, which Mike
accompanies repetitively on.  Trey starts noodling away fiercely!!
=^]  Page gets on the clavinet soon and starts creating some ultra
drippily dank phatty sounds..

Trey's soloing throughout this uptempo groove is directionless, but
still reasonably spirited and pleasant!  At around 8 minutes everyone
joins together and rages for a fiery jam!  Yeah!!!  =^]  At around
8:45 Mike starts repeating a groovy bass lick, and Fish & Page
accompany Trey's mighty soloing quite well!  Really excellent jam in
this damn Mike's Song (9:30 now).  Very passionate!!!  Improv that
sounds like it could be composed!!!  Saaaahhhhweeeeet and funky!! (10

Trey's soloing is very FIRED UP throughout this jam, and it is, again,
fairly mellifluous and isn't the typical straightforward, dreary,
evil-sounding Mike's Song soloing at all (at this point).  Very cool
stuff from him, but also from Mike and Page and Fish!  This is truly
an excellent Mike's Song jam, in my opinion! Around 11 minutes
Trey sustains a chord (and Page joins in, too) in a triumphant fashion,
which, alas, turns into total dissonant shit around 11:50 or so.. Trey
lets loose some effects, Fish wails away, Mike and Page basically give
up.. Oh well.  What a crazy, f*@&cked up ending to an otherwise grand
Mike's Song.  This ending is basically CHAOS, and as soon as it dies
down to almost nothing, at

12:41 Sleeping Monkey begins.  I have to tell you folks that this St.
Louis Mike's Song is FAAARRR SUPERIOR than the Vegas Mike's Song.
Just kicks its butt all over the place, in my opinion.  The Vegas
Mike's Song is boring next to this.  This was a **GREAT** Mike's Song
I thought (well, the post-tramps section), given the interplay between
the band members and the lack of aimless, dreary, dark, evil
noodling.  Sure, the ending stank, but what the hell.  I'd give this
Mike's Song an above average rating easily for the post-tramps segment
jamming.  (clearly, though, the Vegas SIMPLE is **JAW-DROPPING
INCREDIBLE**.. I'm talking about the Mike's Song only..)

Anyway, Sleeping Monkey is basically sad.  Doesn't sound like they
really wanted to play this.  Fish doesn't play the standard Monkey
rhythm, either. Pretty blah, uninspired version, in my opinion..

At 17:55, Fish and Mike kick out the beginning of Mean Mr. Mustard
(well, what becomes Mustard), and, after thanking some folks, Trey
says that the concert was brought to you by the letter M and the
number 420.  The lyrics of Mustard aren't that grand, at first.  When
Popper comes out on stage, Trey and Page repeat the "Dirty Old man"
lyrics over and over and over and over again.

At 19:40 Fish kicks in Weekapaug, and Popper starts immediately
blowing his damn harp like a madman.  No opening Mike solo. Popper
is an excellent harp player, no question (the crowd is GOING NUTS FOR
THIS, by the way) about it.  His soloing, in many respects, is similar
to Trey's typical Weekapaugian revelry... melodious, all over the
place, active, inspired!  Trey tries to accompany Popper a bit, but
he's really low in the mix and it is too difficult to make him out,
for the most part.  Popper REALLY BLOWS his damn harp!!  Around 22
minutes I can hear Page and Trey a little more clearly, but by now
they are just playing the typical Weekapaug chords.  And then at 22:20
the closing Weekapaug lyrics come in.  Popper is STILL soloing
throughout all this, by the way.. Total time 23:01.

Trey:  "John Popper thank you very much."

Wow.  A Weekapaug that was under 4 minutes completely dominated by
John Popper (all it was was his harp), a lame version of Mean Mr.
Mustard, a lame version of Sleeping Monkey, a lame tramps segment of
Mike's Song, but an EXCELLENT post-tramps segment of Mike's Song until
its damn ending.  "N/R" rating without question.. I can't rate this
damn thing.  Kinda messy.  I'd give it a B-, I suppose, if forced to
rate it.. but I do recommend the post-tramps jam of this Mike's.  It
is actually pretty cool.

The Mean Mr. Mustard isn't worth hearing (and yes, I'm a Beatles fan),
and the post-tramps segment of Mike's Song isn't SOOOOO excellent that
you should hear it at all costs...  This Mike's Song is still sweeter,
overall, in my opinion, than Vegas' _Mike's Song_, but clearly, this
St.Louis MikeSGroove as a whole is A DOG LOG when compared with the
Mike's Simple Harry 'Paug of Vegas!!!

FWIW, the Funky Bitch encore with Popper at this gig is a lot of
fun... it isn't as killer as the 'Bitch with Karl Perazzo and Butch
Trucks from West Palm, though. =^]

two cents