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Amy Burger

Jam veterans Widespread Panic returned to St. Louis on Tuesday night for the first of two shows at Peabody Opera House as part of its fall tour. As a diehard fan of the band for nearly 25 years, I was of course excited to spend some time with them once again in my home city at such an intimate venue.

It's been four long years since grunge-rock pioneers Pearl Jam graced St. Louis with their musical presence, but that extended absence was rectified Friday night at an electrifying three-hour performance at Scottrade Center for a packed house of rabid fans.

Approximately 8,500 fans of jam rock, blues, funk, soul, bluegrass and more flocked to the heartland this past weekend for the inaugural Phases of the Moon Music and Art Festival, held at Kennekuk County Park just outside of the small town of Danville, Illinois, a stone's throw from the Illinois-Indiana border.

I think everyone who lived through the '80s can agree that there was no shortage of loud, longhaired rock bands dominating the radio and MTV. Amid the plethora of spandex-clad arena rockers like Mötley Crüe, Poison, Ratt and Bon Jovi, however, one band stood apart.

This is the summer of Jack White. The 39-year-old guitar virtuoso, singer, songwriter, producer and all-around Renaissance man has been nearly inescapable since the June release of his second solo album, "Lazaretto."

If the size and enthusiasm of the crowd at the first Summer Gras festival at Old Rock House was any indication, this will become a popular annual event. Billed as a "celebration of the music and food of New Orleans," Summer Gras lived up to its name with a variety of New Orleans-based and NOLA-inspired local bands split between the indoor venue and a large outdoor stage.

Freaky skies bearing evening thunderstorms inched across St. Louis Saturday, the summer solstice, and perhaps Mother Nature's special way of welcoming the psychedelic blues rock of Chris Robinson Brotherhood on their stop at the Pageant.

Australian guitar virtuoso John Butler stopped at the Pageant on Wednesday night, along with bassist Byron Luiters and drummer/percussionist Grant Gerathy, who round out the John Butler Trio. Butler, a former busker from the small city of Fremantle in Perth, Australia, is touring in support of his band's recently released sixth album, "Flesh & Blood."

Reggae music can be somewhat polarizing – people tend to either really love it or really don't. For those who do – myself included – Bob Marley is generally regarded as the Godfather of reggae, and certainly the most widely known and celebrated reggae artist outside of Jamaica. Marley's songs have endured the test of time and continue to resonate with audiences around the world.

As far as this Broadway fan is concerned, it doesn't get much better than classic Andrew Lloyd Weber, except maybe when he's paired with lyricist Tim Rice. Their very first collaboration, the exuberant classic "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," returned to the Fox last night for a two week run, directed and choreographed by Tony® Award-winner Andy Blankenbuehler. 

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