Concert Reviews

Review: Ween at the Fillmore Auditorium, 12/30/11, Night Two

See also, reviews of: 12/29/11 (night one) and 12/30/11 (night three)

There was no ambitious declaration or plan of attack from the Ween brothers as they launched into their nearly three-hour long set on Friday night for the second show of their three-night stand at the Fillmore. Unlike Thursday's show, which included early hints from Dean Ween (Mickey Melchiondo) and Gene Ween (Aaron Freeman) that the live series in Denver would set the band's all-time record for most amount of songs played in three nights, Friday's concert seemed all about showing rather than telling.

Just as they had on Thursday night, the crowd got vocal as soon as the crowd was pulled back on the image of Ween's mascot, the demon god Boognish. Where Ween had opened Thursday with the more measured and psychedelic structure of "Did You See Me," the band kicked off the second show with "Exactly Where I'm At" from White Pepper, a fitting concert opening for its plodding opening drum beat and its declarative, purposeful lyrics from Gene Ween.

Things soon took a more extended and instrumental turn. After the cheery and folksy performance of "Marble Tulip Juicy Tree," the band launched into "Happy Colored Marbles," a darker and more ominous selection from 2003's quebec that includes long stretches of distortion laden guitar lines between lines filled with ennui. Tunes like "The Grobe" and "I Don't Want It" lent for similar show of soloing skill from the Ween brothers, as did the epic performance of "Woman and Man," "Pandy Fackler" and even a liberal interpretation of Led Zeppelin's "Dazed and Confused."

While Ween's set on Friday featured fewer songs (28 as opposed to 31), this set outlasted the first show, stretching nearly three hours. In lieu of shorter tunes, casual cover songs and more dynamic crowd pleasers, the second show featured more extended jam-based songs, numbers that saw extended solos from Dean Ween, as well as keyboardist Glen McClelland and drummer Claude Coleman.

As usual, "Woman and Man" from 2007's La Cucaracha featured an extended Dean Ween solo; the older song "Never Squeal," from the band's freshman release, GodWeenSatan: The Oneness, included a lengthy drum solo from Coleman that saw the drummer taking an impressive solo with his bare hands; the scatological tale told in the tune "Paddy Fackler," from the more polished White Pepper album, included a jazzy, then abstract keyboard solo from McClelland.

While the set also saw the performance of shorter songs and fan favorites like "Ocean Man" and "Baby Bitch," such instrumental flights gave band's second night in Denver an entirely different feel from its first. That sense of distinctness also came from an acoustic set from Freeman and Melchiondo -- it also came in large part from the impressive fact that the band refrained from repeating even a single song from its first appearance.

And there were also lighter moments amid the show's more jam-oriented stretches. During an energetic performance of the crowd favorite "Voodoo Lady," Gene Ween broke into the chorus from Prince's "Kiss" without breaking a sweat -- the sultry suggestiveness of the words and the funky structure of the song found a graceful spot right after the guitar solo in "Voodoo Lady."