Review: Ween at the Fillmore Auditorium, 12/31/11, Night Three, New Year's Eve

Categories: Last Night

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Eric Gruneisen
Ween at the Fillmore on New Year's Eve.

The evening's lighter mood came in part from the band's on-stage antics. At the tail end of "Johnny on the Spot," for example, Gene Ween had failed to return from the sudden exit he made at the beginning of Melchiondo's solo. Casting constant glances to the wings, Melchiondo extended the solo, then extended it again and finally picked up the megaphone and finished up the final verse and chorus. Gene Ween made it back in time to back him up.

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Eric Gruneisen
Ween at the Fillmore on New Year's Eve.

At the end of "Reggaejunkiejew," Gene Ween picked up a wooden stool from the wings and set it up at the side of the stage, then clambered on top to dramatically sing the final key phrases of the tune. It was the perfect night for such capers: the final night of 2011 and the final show in the group's record-breaking Denver series.

Midnight arrived as the band wrapped up "Your Party" and quickly shifted into a repeated, two-note riff. "Uh-oh, kids, it's 11:59," Gene Ween announced playfully before confetti blew out of cannons and balloons dropped from the ceiling. "Feels like the Flaming Lips," Dean Ween noted of the bright confetti before thanking the crowd for hosting the band for three nights.

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Eric Gruneisen
Ween at the Fillmore on New Year's Eve.

Bowie's "Let's Dance" came next, followed by "Don't Laugh" and a suite of bright, chipper songs, if any songs in Ween's catalogue of twisted themes and politically incorrect imagery can be considered chipper ("Happy New Year, this next song is called 'AIDS'!" Gene Ween gleefully announced before the band broke into "The HIV Song.")
Ween usually sticks to a single cover song for every concert, but after "HIV," the pair offered a completely unexpected and unpredictable selection, breaking into a serious, on-target rendition of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's "Ohio."

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Eric Gruneisen
Ween at the Fillmore on New Year's Eve.

Gene Ween nailed the high falsetto of Young's vocals, and the protest tune about police brutality on the Kent State campus didn't lose any of its effect for the fact that it was sandwiched between a carnivalesque riff on disease and an evolved rendition of "Tender Situation," another early Ween song that's benefited from decades of live performances.

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Eric Gruneisen
Ween at the Fillmore on New Year's Eve.

After a bare version of "It's Gonna Be a Long Night," from quebec, the band ended with a pair of distortion-laden, hard-driving early songs. "Licking the Palm for Guava" and "Mushroom Festival in Hell" boasted all the best features of early Ween: the raw guitar, the lyrical ridiculousness and the sense of theatricality (Gene Ween collapsed on his back during the outro of "Mushroom Festival").

For the final tune of tits Denver stint, Ween departed a bit from the abstract and bizarre, offering a rendition of "The Blarney Stone." The tribute to raucous drinking songs from the British Isles penned by Freeman and sung by Melchiondo had the whole auditorium raising glasses and fists for the chorus. At the end, Dean Ween seemed exhausted as he made his thanks, in apparent disbelief that the band had pulled off the feat of three nights and ninety songs. Gene Ween's farewell was simpler: "See you next time. Happy New Year."

Click through for Critic's Notebook and full setlist.


Location Info

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Fillmore Auditorium

1510 Clarkson St., Denver, CO

Category: Music


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2 comments
Ohio
Ohio

Kent State University, not Ohio State.

redhalo
redhalo

The song you have listed as "Jammy Pac" was Beacon Light  thnxkby 

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