HT Review: Ween @ the Aragon

Following Your Party was a surprise no one seemed prepared for; Ween surged forward with the Rush-esque b-side Final Alarm. Looking around in a shower of strobe lights I observed several confused faces, followed by voiceless debates on whether or not Ween was in the midst of a cover. Final Alarm meandered through a progressive rock build up complete with power chords by guitarist Dean Ween, pronounced melodic phrasing by McClelland and a drumming frenzy with emphasis on cymbals by percussionist Claude Coleman. The song changed pace three times before Gener topped off the masterpiece with high tenor vocals that resembled the likes of Geddy Lee from Rush. The rare treat did not go unappreciated for even Gener declared “Alright that was cool!”

Another pleasant treat was Ween’s rendition of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance. The tune was bound to come up considering it had been performed in Indianapolis the night before, and at Bonnaroo earlier in June. Each musician completely transformed their personas and styles to match Bowie’s trademark flair. Gener adapted an alter ego who produced a deep, round vocal resonance garnished with a touch of vibrato. Bassist Dave Dreiwitz kept the funk pumping, while Deaner destroyed the mid-song guitar solo – naturally – with low, seductive, rumbling tones. Pink and green lights illuminated the hall as a disco ball cast specks of refracted light, creating the perfect ambiance for a dance party.

After dishing out additional greats – including Gener interjecting lotion quotes from Silence of the Lambs during The Mollusk – Ween cleared the stage and made way for an encore. Fans were glowing from a combination of sweat and excitement, crying out requests and pleading for more. The masters themselves returned to the stage for an additional half-hour of music.

Ween wound the evening down with 15-minutes of Never Squeal off their first album God Ween Satan. The tune started as a beatnik, be-bop jazz tune matched with a Gener caricature of a lounge singer. Coleman led the song astray with an extended drum solo that resulted an impressive amount of drum rolls followed by full kit spasms. The rest of the band stood back and gawked at the scene only to join in on the fun. Before long drum sticks were tossed around, Dreiwitz played his bass with stray sticks and Gener took up the keyboards. Coleman didn’t stop there; he continued to crash rattle and bang his way through swing licks. Eventually the band came together with personal improvisations. Each musician molded as one and finished off Never Squeal with a drive that resembled Led Zeppelin.

By the end of the show energy was surging between fans. People appeared to be in the highest of spirits as they dispersed down the streets of Chicago. I was definitely on cloud-9 however I did not feel entirely satisfied; I craved more Ween. Sure they were amazing and played a fabulous line up of songs. However I felt their set was cut short, and was slightly incomplete considering the build up of anticipation leading up to the big event. The only other downside of the show was the choice of venue. While the venue itself is beautiful, its sound system and acoustics are crap. Days after the concert a pesky ringing remained in my ears, begging and pleading to ease the irritation with more live Ween.

Videos:

Let’s Dance


Bananas and Blow

Piss Up a Rope

Setlist:

01-She Wanted To Leave
02-Transdermal Celebration
03-Take Me Away
04-Don’t Get 2 Close(2 My Fantasy)
05-Bananas and Blow
06-My Own Bare Hands
07-Learning to Love
08-Buckingham Green
09-Did You See Me?
10-Push th’ ‘lil Daisies
11-Roses Are Free
12-Zoloft
13-Gabrielle
14-Touch My Tooter
15-Woman and Man(Tease)
16-Piss Up A Rope
17-Woman and Man
18-Your Party
19-Final Alarm
20-I Don’t Want It
21-Let’s Dance(Bowie)
22-Johnny On The Spot
23-The Mollusk
24-Big Jilm
25-You Fucked Up
26-Encore Break

Encore:

27-Fiesta
28-Spinal Menegitis(Got Me Down)
29-Right To The Ways and The Rules Of The World
30-Never Squeal

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One Response

  1. Great review, spot on. Could have used a better venue, and with such a huge catalog of music it would be hard to fully quench our thirst for more Ween. Three years is way too long of a wait. Glad to see the concert getting some coverage, the world(and Chicago) just wouldn’t be quite as brown without them.

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