Ween – January 24th, 2011 @ The Queen Elizabeth Theatre
I was going to write a review about how incredible my first time seeing Ween live was. I was going to rave about their three hour set containing dozens of tracks from their career that spans over 20 years. I thought I was going to witness an entirely different performance than what I saw Monday night at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
Ween is one of few bands, contemporary or otherwise, that has carte blanche to try as many styles and wear as many hats as they please. They’ve achieved this by a willingness to try anything while forgoing the pretentiousness that seems to come with progressive rock and other bands that take themselves too seriously. Through the years they’ve progressed from jokey demos on four-track full of weird voices and funny stories through to polished studio progressive rock and have stopped everywhere in between. Whether playing old school country with true Nashville greats, performing Motorhead sendoffs or simply writing a love song in the vein of George Harrison – Ween have seemed to find themselves both comfortable and immensely capable.
Monday night saw an eclectic mix of demographics in attendance for what was fixing to be an incredible night. Old and young, punk and hippie, stoned and straight they all waited in anticipation staring at the green glowing Boognish projected on the wall behind the stage until the band appeared in front of it. Dean Ween took the stage along with bassist Dave Dreiwitz, drummer Claude Coleman Jr. and keyboardist Glenn McClelland to much applause followed shortly after by Gene Ween himself. Once ready the band got the night off to an energetic start with Fiesta, the opener of their last album 2007’s La Cucaracha.
It is at this point in my review that I feel compelled to stop. It is at this point that I want to reiterate my appreciation for Ween and their substantial catalogue of albums and EP’s and the many varied and incredible songs contained there-within. I should also mention how impressive the majority of Ween’s live recordings is (official or otherwise) and would recommend them to anybody along with the studio material, as there is something there for everybody. I would like to applaud the professionalism and the patience of Dean Ween and the rest of the band, as they seemed entirely prepared and capable recreating all these songs to perfection. I’d even like to commend the patience and politeness of the Vancouver audience.
Surely there are other reviews out there documenting exactly what took place during the remainder of that evening in the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and many who have heard second-hand might like to think they know exactly how it all looked and sounded. Honestly though, you would have had to have been there and beyond the novelty aspect of this train-wreck spectacle in the end I found my reflections on the evening dotted with a bit of sadness and concern. I hope the remainder of Ween’s 2011 tour dates go better and I hope you get well soon Gene.
Fiesta Take Me Away Mr. Richard Smoker Transdermal Celebration …Mr. Would You Please Help My Pony? Gabrielle Piss up a Rope Tender Situation Learning to Live Bananas & Blow Buckingham Green Mutilated Lips My Own Bare Hands Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down) Your Party Let’s Dance (Bowie cover) Reggaejunkiejew / Superstar (Carpenters instrumental cover) Freedom of 76 Ace of Spades (Motorhead cover)
Birthday Boy I Don’t Want It Sarah Kansas City Star Don’t Sweat It