When you think of jam bands, one doesn’t typically think of Ween. But with 25 plus song sets, 5-minute guitar solos that would make Jerry Garcia jealous and a rabid Deadhead like fanbase, Ween are a staple of the festival circuit. Dean and Gene brought the band to St. Paul for two nights of consummate weirdness.
The doors to the Palace opened at 6:30, and with no opener, the crowd had plenty of time to get situated and lubed up. Ween hit the stage just after 8pm. Before playing a note, Dean Ween commented on how cool the Palace was when it was full of people. The band then broke into “Nan” and the sold-out crowd went ballistic These guys are tight and versatile after so many years together. Like livening shape shifters, their sound morphs over the course of the show from sludgy hard rock to radio friendly pop to hardcore punk. But rock is at their core and Dean and Gene are guitar virtuosos, dishing out guitarstrabation in face melting doses.
These guys have a ball on stage, Dean and Bassist Drew Dreiwitz ran around the stage barefoot for the entire 26 song set. The boys broke into a “wooden guitar” mini acoustic set after a couple of tunes at the beginning of the show that included “Chocolate Town”, “Kim Smoltz, “The Mollusk”, “I Don’t Want It” and “Joppa Road”. The crowd danced and sang along and played with a bunch of beach balls bouncing around the room. The acoustic set was well received, but the real meat of the show came after they put down the hollow bodies.
“I’ll Be Your Johnny On The Spot” was a bone crusher; loud, slow and sludgy. Dean did most of the heavy work on the six string during the show, and when he broke into Hendrix hit “Third Stone From The Sun” in the middle of the tune, you could feel the walls of the old Palace Theater shake with delight. Dean used Gene’s guitar on “Transitions” in order to get ” a Jerry Garcia sound”, which he did in spades. After the tune was over, Deaner stated that he would need to buy one of those pedals. The real highlight of the evening was a killer cover of the Prince song “Spring Theme”. Bassist Dreiwitz was oozing funk over keyboardist Glenn McClelland’s creamy piano fills.
Saturday night was celebration of the weird, both the band and the audience let their collective freak flags fly proudly.
Setlist: Nan – Take Me Away – The Stallion, Part 1 – The Grobe – Wavin’ My Dick In The Wind – The Goin’ Gets Tough From The Getgo – Chocolate Town – Kim Smoltz – The Mollusk – I Don’t Want It – Joppa Road – I Saw Gener Cryin’ In His Sleep – I’ll Be Your Johnny On The Spot >Third Stone From The Sun > I’ll Be Your Johnny On The Spot – Object – I Gots A Weasel – Transitions – Spring Theme (Prince Cover) – The Stallion, Part 5 – Exactly Where I’m At – Happy Colored Marbles – Light Me Up – Demon Sweat – Stroker Ace -Fluffy
Enore: Ace Of Spades (Motorhead Cover) – Poopship Destroyer