Ween at 1STBANK Center, 10/31/10
The show also proved to be a showcase of how much even the recent songs have evolved in a live setting. Lengthy intros, extended solos and tweaked rhythms marked songs like "Your Party" and "My Own Bare Hands" from the latest album release.
The scope of sounds and styles on display was ambitious, and the house sound system was hit-or-miss. For some of the heavier, distortion-drenched tunes like "Dr. Rock," "My Own Bare Hands" and "Gabrielle," the instruments were blended together in a muddy mix. Glenn McClelland's keyboard lines, Dave Dreiwitz's bass and even some of Gene and Dean's vocals got lost in overpowering guitar tones.
As the show progressed, the crew seemed to fix some of the most glaring sound issues. McClelland's eerie, haunting synth lines on "Buckingham Green," for example, came through evocatively; drummer Claude Coleman was clear in his solo vocals on "Final Alarm." Dean's strength as a powerful, driving soloist was especially striking in songs like "Roses Are Free" and "Reggaejunkiejew."
Sound issues completely evaporated for the most memorable selections of the night, more obscure tunes that didn't make it onto the twenty-song setlist from last year's Red Rocks show. The stirring effect of seeing Gene and Dean play a solo version of "Sarah" from Pure Guava, the crowd participation for the unreleased track "Booze Me Up and Get Me High," the spot-on cover version of David Bowie's "Let's Dance," Dean Ween's stint on drums for "The Mollusk" -- such moments captured Ween's skills in a live setting.
The best musical moments from the band found a complement in a steady stream of theatrics. The band's bunny costumes were just the opening salvo in a steady stream of surrealism, an element that culminated in the final song of the encore. What started as a subtle, funky bass groove and Gene Ween playfully reciting lines from Steppenwolf's "The Pusher" morphed into an especially soulful, syncopated version of "L.M.L.Y.P.," the band's sinful Prince tribute from their debut album.
As the lyrics slowly evolved from sexual suggestion to blunt requests for oral sex, a coterie of costumed females gradually took the stage to dance alongside the musicians. It started with a dancing ballerina and a couple of other costumed female fans, and by the time Dean Ween started a lengthy guitar solo seeped in wah-wah effects, the crowd of girls had tripled. By the time Melchiondo restated the main melody of the tune as an end to his solo, it was nearly impossible to see him through the thicket of dancing female characters. It was an appropriate, bizarre cap for an exhilarating Halloween.