Ween Tuesday, July 15, 2008 Hodi’s Half Note, Fort Collins Better than: Any rock show in Fort Collins in recent memory.
There really is no precedent for last night's show in Fort Collins that feels worth mentioning – none that I’m aware of, anyhow. As far as momentous occasions go -- gigantic, visceral events that have the power to stick out over the long haul -- we don’t get many of those. We’re used to hopping on I-25 southbound for that effect.
Dinosaur Jr. came through last year; that was considerate. Some of us were fortunate (or, more aptly, unfortunate) enough to see Old Dirty Bastard’s last show as a living, breathing person at the Aggie. It wasn’t much of a show; he came out twice, called the thing off, and then the crowd started throwing things. Bonnie “Prince” Billy came through a long ways back, but there were like fifteen people there, all the unusual suspects from our college and community radio stations and our (now sadly defunct) Old Town record store.
So what gives tonight’s Ween appearance such local historical gravity? It was announced just two days ago as a free MySpace Secret Show at Hodi’s Half Note (formerly the more dingy and punky Starlight, where Ween stopped on their Mollusk tour in the mid-‘90s). Hodi’s has a capacity of around 300. To call the show “free” is bordering on bullshit. Anyone who made it in (besides guest-listers and press folk) were diehards. Fans were waiting and lined up around the block since morning. Anyone who finally made it in did so after a good seven to nine hours of waiting, which, assuming they have a job, means they forfeited a day's wages to attend.
There were several hundred who didn’t make it in. When the doors opened around 8 p.m. and the chosen had their 300 wristbands, the neglected hung around outside so desperately that going in and leaving them out kind of felt like a refugee situation: We were getting on the chopper to freedom; they were cursed with fending for themselves.
Ween played for over three hours. The place was so packed and sauna-like that sweat dripped off my nose and made my camera difficult to grip. Unlike ninety-five percent of the feral attendees, I am no Ween scholar. But I would be an absolute nincompoop to deny the pure giddy rock greatness that stood before me. All that classic-rock jukebox glory via shit-eating grin was there, all the fun of saying the word “fuck” a lot and being a macho asshole over an earnest sonic bed -- you know, all that Ween stuff. Setlist highlights were certainly a propulsive cover of “Voodoo Lady” and a slow-burning Hendrixian send up of the Carpenters.
Thanks to Andy, one of Ween’s traveling video guys, who let me perch atop his riser to get some tasty photos. He summed up the evening nicely on the verge of Ween’s fortieth or so song, saying simply and exhaustedly, “Jesus Christ.”
-- Elliott Johnston
Critic’s Notebook Personal Bias: I dodged Ween for much of my formative years because male Ween fans, time and time again, were the type that made me sit and watch them play their video games. Random Detail: A couple made out in front of me for an uncomfortably long time. By the Way: For a “secret” show, there were a lot of loud speaker tactics: Besides being announced two days in advance, the marquee read, “Ween: Myspace Super Secret Show.”