It hadn’t been that long since I’d seen Ween leading up to this Valentine’s Weekend run. Only a few months ago I was waiting in line to see Ween in Boston and Philly. So when I parked my car in New Haven, CT, and met my friend in line, it felt like things were back to the way they’re supposed to be. There’s almost no place that I’m happier to be than waiting in line to see Ween.
Lucky for me, I got to spend most of my weekend doing just that. And at the end of long waits, the most incredible shows were waiting for me. At the end of each night, I left feeling totally convinced that I had just seen the Best Ween show of my life. I wrote about their Saturday night show (probably the best concert I’ve ever seen,) in it’s own post. But leading up to that one, there were two amazing nights of face-melting music.
In New Haven I was happy to be front and center on the rail, looking up into the face of Papa Gene Ween, practically my favorite person on the face of the planet. They opened with Buckingham Green, getting it right out of the way and knocking it out of the park. Early in the set they played Bananas and Blow, which they play all the time, but it was great to hear them do a really good job of it.
One song I never thought I would hear Ween play live started before they were even halfway through the set. Ode to Rene isn’t on any of Ween’s albums – it’s a song they wrote while on tour in Amsterdam about their European Tour Manager, stringing together whatever French and faux-French teenage-Dean and Gene could think of. A total curveball, to hear this song performed live, and it honestly had me in stitches.
That was the vibe on night one. I left thinking, “I’ve just seen the best Ween show yet,” and it was only the first night of a three night run. It felt like they’d already pulled out all the stops: Push Th’ Little Daisies. The craziest version of The Golden Eel. Light Me Up. Don’t Laugh (I Love You) from God Ween Satan! My first Fiesta!
The next night was Valentine’s Day, and the wait to get into the show was BRUTAL. Not only did we get lost on our way to the venue and walked for about an extra half hour in below-freezing temperatures, we then had to wait in a wind tunnel at doors. The next day in line, people were bringing extra hand warmers to share, but on that first day of waiting, it was just cold. It made the show inside that much better. We weren’t as far from the stage as we thought we would end up being based on how late we got to the venue – we were behind just one row behind the rail, basically front and center for the show.
When the band came out, they basically picked up right where they left off. They started with high energy, with Take me Away from Chocolate and Cheese. They played a version of Transdermal Celebration that was so full of love and joy that it almost brought a tear to my eye. They brought out the deep cuts almost right away, with an early Beacon Light. They played a really sweet Zoloft. Deaner played the craziest solo during Voodoo Lady. We got to hear Pork Roll, Egg, and Cheese. The only song they repeated from the night before was Touch My Tooter. Imagine the smiles on our faces. It was just joy.
The whole show wasn’t too Valentine’s Day-themed, but there was a little block of love songs that made me never want to miss a Valentine’s Day show again. The most special deep cut, and one of the most unbelievable, was hearing Oh my dear (falling in love), from The Pod. This was only the fifth time the band had played this song, and the first since 2004. So that was a very happy room to be in. On top of that I got my favorite of their love songs (and probably my favorite of all love songs,) Stay Forever, by Ween. They busted out a Springtheme, which totally brought the house down. And we also got a Tender Situation?? It was almost too much to handle.
Seeing Ween live is a treat, but this weekend in particular felt so special. There was so much good energy all around, it was absolutely infectious. The guys in the band knew that they were crushing it, and we couldn’t have been happier to be there for it.