Orlando, FL • 1/31/08
There was a fevered anticipation as we motored toward Orlando. Little did the masses of humanity milling about Universal’s Citywalk area know, tonight the greatest rock band that doesn’t give a shit, was holding court right under their sunburned noses. As a long-time apostle of all things Boognish, I felt a revival was about to take place. You see, the fellas haven’t been round these parts in a couple years and I was readied for a much needed cleansing at the altar of Ween. The beauty of a Ween show, among many beautiful things, is the audience is not limited to material from the current release with a few “classics” thrown in for encores. Sure, they are touring in support of their latest release, La Cucaracha, but this set and most others span their twenty-plus year catalog.
When the curtain drops there is no rock-star fanfare–just a giant Boognish backdrop, smoke machine, and instruments awaiting five musical deities. Aaron (Gene) casually grabs the wireless mic and precedes to jump off stage, cruising through the crowd, getting “close to the people” as “Nan”, an obscure cut from God, Ween, Satan, plays. Nice touch. I have never seen him leave stage at any other show.
Next, enter an all-time classic, “Freedom of ‘76”. Now Gene, after a couple decades of mayhem, may show some physical wear and tear, but his voice still hits those high notes spot-on. The “revival” was already nearing snake-handling proportions! As mentioned, the set-list was varied and far-reaching. Most of tonight’s songs were pulled from Chocolate & Cheese, including “Roses Are Free”, “Spinal Meningitis”, “HIV Song”, and “Baby Bitch”. Other highlights were the rarely played “Reggaejunkiejew” from Pure Guava and “Powder Blue”, off the brilliant 12 Golden Country Greats. Other country faves,”You Were the Fool” and “Piss Up a Rope” had the comfortably spaced crowd dancing away. Three from La Cucaracha made the cut. “Learnin to Love”, “Fiesta”, and what may be an instant classic, “Your Party,” had a hypnotic stranglehold on us.
Although the band had been plagued with a bout of flu during this short Southeast stint, they still gave us the experience we clamored for. Mickey (Dean) was tonight’s affected member, who referenced his head feeling like he was “tripping on acid”. Perhaps this is why some of the usual banter & wackiness was not present and the set moved rather paced. No less enjoyable, mind you, with thanks to Nyquil, Gatorade, and Budweiser.
Holy geez, it’s hard to comprehend all this rock rolled into one glorious night! Can you believe we still got a heapin’ helpin’ of “Dr Rock”, “Puerto Rican Power”, “Ocean Man”, “Bananas & Blow”, and “Buckingham Green”? Unfortunately, the epic cover songs Ween could catapult at any given time were absent this outing. Yet, they gave us 26 songs, so no one seemed to be complaining. This “mini-tour” ends with Gene’s website synopsis of “over the top rock shows that whooped a hyena’s dirty asshole”. The boys are now off to spread the gospel to the people “Down-Under”. All you Aussies & New Zealanders soak in every song, every note… This is America’s gift to you.
Ween: http://ween.com ◼