Ween at 1STBANK Center, 10/31/10
10.31.10 | 1STBANK Center
The scene captured the sheer surrealism of Ween's Halloween show at the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield: Toward the end of the band's three-hour performance, Mickey Melchiondo -- aka Dean Ween -- belted out "The Blarney Stone" with gusto, his vocals unencumbered by the massive bunny head sitting atop his shoulders. He adjusted the huge furry headpiece in between singing verses and playing lead guitar; at one point, he commented simply, "Funny bunny."
Between the band's coordinated costumes, the 35-song setlist, the faithful rendition of David Bowie's "Let's Dance" and an extended version of the band's lascivious Prince tribute "L.M.L.Y.P." as a finale, the show boasted an epic, ambitious feel. Gene Ween (Aaron Freeman) and Dean Ween's onstage antics and prolific song selection lent the show a special signficance; the pageantry and power of it all made the performance seem more noteworthy than other recent Colorado appearances.
Indeed, the Halloween show stood apart from the band's 2009 Red Rocks appearance and the double Fillmore gigs in 2008. Despite some shortcomings in the form of a muddied sound mix, the band successfully used Halloween as an opportunity to push the envelope and explore uncharted performance territory onstage.
The effort started as soon as the five band members walked onstage, each sporting identical bunny outfits. The musicians hammed it up for the crowd, positioning themselves for a five-bunny orgy and waving giant, furred paws at the crowd. The theatrics earned cheers and hoots from the crowd before playing a note.
The band stayed in costume for the opening number, the Mariachi-driven instrumental "Fiesta" from 2007's La Cucaracha, but the massive masks came off as the guys started their ambitious live tour of Ween's massive catalogue. Gene Ween shed the fur and mask to reveal glow-in-the-dark pink hair and a black undersuit; Dean Ween kept on his furry jumpsuit throughout the show, though he didn't opt for shoes.
The performance immediately drew from all eras of the band's past. Songs from early releases like 1990's GodWeenSatan: The Oneness and 1991's The Pod came side-by-side with tunes from La Cucaracha, 1996's 12 Golden Country Greats, 1997's The Mollusk and 2003's Quebec. The band's been focused solely on touring and live performances for more than a year, and the show quickly took on the feel of a retrospective, a live celebration of the band's nearly thirty-year career.