My seventh Ween show! This time returning to a city I visited for the first time this year to see the other band that I’m totally obsessive over. Philadelphia has really become one of my favorite cities this year, and I was happy to find an excuse to sneak in 24 hours in the town.
I’m accustomed to arriving at a Ween show 3-4 hours before doors to “do the line,” one of my favorite parts of the experience. We all wait around together, talk about what songs we hope they’re gonna play, and catch up. Waiting in line is sincerely one of my favorite parts of going to see Ween. Unfortunately, the trek from Boston (where we spent the night with Ween the night before) took a lot more time than we were expecting. Weather was bad and traffic was heavy, so we got to the city around when we would have maybe liked to be getting in line.
This was made up for by how great I thought the venue was. The Met in Philadelphia is a really gorgeous venue – which makes sense, considering full the name of the venue is “The Metropolitan Opera House.” Seats had been moved to create a large GA section, and me and my two concert companions, one of whom had never seen Ween before(!) waited for the show to start, eating delicious popcorn and drinking delicious drinks.
It didn’t feel like much of a wait at all before the boys came out on stage, and we were back in that awesome space created by the band. They opened with “Pork Roll, Egg, and Cheese,” a favorite that I had never heard them play before- so the night got off to a very strong start. Even though this was my seventh time seeing Ween, there were still so many songs that I heard in Philly for the very first time. Two more that I was over the moon to hear for the very first time were “Tick,” one of my favorites from God Ween Satan, and the closest thing Ween has to a hit (in some circles), “Push th’ Little Daisies.” I must have spent hours of my life watching the MTV Spring Break video of Ween performing this song – seeing it live, and in real life was surreal.
This run seeing Ween wasn’t the weirdest time I’d seen Ween (that honor has to go to their Detroit set last October), but this was the show that I thought both of them were really proving that they’re masters of their craft. Both Deaner and Gener had several moments where they really got to shine.
Papa Gene killed the evening’s rendition of “Bananas and Blow.” This is the song that I always hope to hear, especially when Gener’s having a particularly good night. This is a song where he does one of his most straight vocals, not really doing much of a silly voice or other vocal adjustment. He sings in a range that sounds like he’s comfortable in, and I’m glad that they have songs like this in their repertoire. And I shouldn’t have been surprised that they pulled out “Freedom of ‘76” at their Philadelphia performance, but what a special performance it was. Gene introduced the song by saying “This might be a little rough.” And it might be because I’m a little biased, but I thought that he knocked it out of the park!
Dean’s time to shine was, bar none, “a Tear for Eddie,” another one that I had never heard before! It’s hard to explain what was so special about this song – Dean is in great guitar playing shape, and his soloing on this song was delicate, unpredictable, and totally technical. For a second I thought, “I hope to God someone is recording this.”
The real scene stealer, and the moment when Dean and Gene’s energies came together to make something really special, was when they played “I’ll Be Your Johnny on the Spot,” from the Mollusk. This song can really bring the house down, and something about the vibes in Philly were working in the band’s favor. They played it with a sense of urgency, like the song was a bucking bull trying to throw them off – but they stuck the landing. This version of “Johnny on the Spot” was the best I’ve ever seen.
Seeing Ween on their home turf was phenomenal – and leaving with my first Ween poster was pretty special too. as usual, they totally left me wanting more – and I’m lucky that I have tickets to see them three more times in February.