If you’re looking for a longtime Ween fan’s in-depth review of Friday’s show at the Fillmore — this ain’t it. This is from the perspective of a (former) Ween skeptic, still digesting his first Ween show; stunned to see heads get snapped back, including his own, within Friday night’s first three songs and convinced by the conclusion of the nearly three hour performance that Ween is the best live band performing today.
Yes, there were long instrumental passages, but framed by Ween’s clever, instantly enjoyable songs, the departures only added to the show’s party atmosphere, creating more surprises. Nearly every other song’s first few notes or recognizable riff were greeted by delighted squeals of pleasure from the Ween faithful, like some mega-popular mainstream act trotting out its greatest hits. For the uninitiated, there were the immediately gratifying elements of glam, punk and psychedelia, along with a few other genres, to cheer on throughout most of the songs. Regardless how long you’d been a fan, you could sense the overall element of fun, however nasty, in nearly every song.
That same element of fun was all over the instrumental stretches, too. Solos were focused, devoid of noodling, and often took surprising turns. Lead guitarist Dean Ween, a.k.a. Mickey Melchiondo, can drop some face melting voodoo on your head with the best of them.
Given the band’s staggering virtuosity, along with the sheer exuberance a Ween performance creates in its audiences, why all this isn’t common knowledge outside the band’s large, yet relatively underground, fan base is a complete mystery.
If you consider yourself a fan of live music, and have somehow misidentified Ween as a novelty act, a jam band, or, maybe, Ween records simply don’t get you there, then go to the next Ween show you can get to and believe.
Mike Long is a Longmont-based writer and comedian and a regular contributor to Reverb.
Todd Radunsky is a Boulder-based photographer and a regular contributor to Reverb.