By the end of Ween’s Valentine’s Weekend run, I was already feeling pretty lucky. Sure, in line we were sharing our final hopes, songs that we wanted to hear before we had to call it quits. I may have whined a bit about how badly I wanted to hear Laura. But the show that we got was better than hearing any one request. I couldn’t have gotten a more special show as my tenth time seeing the band.
Ween had been on their A-Game for two nights straight, and I couldn’t believe that they were able to top themselves again with the performance that they put on for us on Saturday. It was relentless, with every moment of the concert bursting with energy – even the slow moments when we all had a chance to take a sip of water or beer. Opening with What Deaner Was Talkin’ About and moving right into Captain Fantasy- Don’t Get 2 Close, they checked off some of the classics that we hadn’t heard for the rest of the run. It was around then that I noticed something truly tragic – I really had to use the bathroom. I started keeping an ear out for a song that I might be able to leave my spot on the rail for, but I hoped I’d be able to make it to the end of the show.
Deaner took the spotlight for three songs: incredible renditions of With My Own Bare Hands and Happy Colored Marbles, and then a jaw-dropping Tear for Eddie. This was my second time hearing that song live, and every second of it was incredible. A Tear For Eddie is a really unique song in Ween’s catalog, and I think is a pretty unique song in general. It’s just as perfect for headbanging as it might be for having a good little mid-show cry (if that’s your cup of tea). This Tear for Eddie felt like it was opening up a crater in the earth and then filling it most of the way full of water. And afterwards, I decided it would be better to pee than to be distracted by how badly I had to pee the whole show. I made a break for it.
I wasn’t very happy with myself for having to go to the bathroom during a Ween show, especially one that I was treating like such a milestone (double digits!). Making my way back to the front of the venue wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be, though, and nobody threw their beer at me – whether or not they wanted to do so, I’ll never know. And I made it back to the front for one of the Most Joyful 20 Minutes of My Life.
Big Jilm is one of my most favorite Ween songs – I remember sitting on the floor of my college apartment with my best friend watching Live in Chicago, nearly falling asleep, and being completely jolted awake by Big Jilm. I finally saw it for the first time in Port Chester in 2018, and it remains my favorite of a certain flavor of the band. Then, a beautiful version of Captain, which I’d had a craving for the whole run. I don’t love Captain on the album, but I think it’s incredible live, and this was no exception. If A Tear for Eddie earlier had been the Dean Ween show, Captain was all Papa Gene. He took us on a helluva ride with that version of Captain.
And then, favorite of favorites – they played Transitions, from Shinola pt. 1. And whenever Transitions comes on, I know that no matter how many other songs I call “my favorite,” it’s really Transitions. If there’s a word for “more than favorite,” that’s how I feel about Transitions.
I could write a paragraph about every song they put on the setlist that night – at this point, I’m barley halfway through the performance. They played a perfect Johnny on the Spot, and I got to headbang with my rail-neighbors. This bled into a spontaneous and almost mischievous cover of the Doors LA Woman. I finally heard Mushroom Festival in Hell, from God Ween Satan, for the first time. They played Boy’s Club, the best one I’ve ever heard, and I got all of it on video to text to my brother.They played El Camino. They played Ocean Man. They played Mister, Would You Please Help My Pony?, and Deaner was grinning the whole time. Every moment was full of joy and music.
The last moment I’ll highlight was the second to last song of the encore, after a perfect performance of The Mollusk. The band threw in one final curve ball, something spicy to end things on. It almost felt like a tease – a completely jaw dropping version of “Polka Dot Tail.” For the few of you who are reading this and don’t know Ween’s catalog, it’s essentially a children’s song. “Have you ever made a flan, and squished it in your hand?” Gener asks you. This song slaps. It’s one of Ween’s heaviest hitters. It brought the house down.
After a Ween show is some of the best 30 minutes. We hug everyone, people who we only see a handful of times a year and always when we’re seeing our favorite band. There’s a last run for merch where you and everyone around you talks about their favorite moments. We met a really nice dude from New Jersey while we made our way out the door, someone who hadn’t seen Ween for years and was beaming from ear to ear.
There were a few times during that evening when I genuinely wondered whether or not I had ever had that much fun before. If anyone was wondering whether or not Ween is my favorite band, here’s your answer. They’re my favorite everything.