In the dark, smoke filled tent known as Ziggy's in Winston Salem, NC, a similar brownout to the one on August 25, 1999 occurred on April 4th of this year. Aaron Freeman (Gene Ween), Mickey Melchiando (Dean Ween), Dave Dreiwitz, and Claude Coleman Jr. took the stage with a vengeance, and never slowed down for a moment. Many were shocked to see this new arrangement of Ween without former keyboardist, Glen McClelland, and many were nervous of how they may sound. All fears quickly subsided, as Captain Fantasy opened the show and shredded out a bellowing cry: "we don't need no stinkin keyboardist, mang". This 35-song show dabbed into every album, and gave the crowd more versatility than anyone could have expected.
Picks were very strong from Pure Guava, God Ween Satan, and Chocolate and Cheese. Stellar versions of "Goin Gets Tough," "Touch My Tooter," and "Poopship Destroyer" gave many a new appreciation for Pure Guava, an otherwise noisy album. Being
blessed with the only version of El Camino on the entire tour, we were
treated to a White Rabbit tease as well, with Gene Ween's alternate lyrics stating: "The one that mother gives you don't do shit, man". All the thrilled patrons raised their drinks in honor of the famous Ween fan theme, "Booze Me Up and Get Me High". Many were surprised at the selection of "A Tear For Eddie," sending its beauty into what had been built into a heavy show. No one minded, of course. The cover selection was very interesting as they nailed The Grateful Dead's "Stella Blue" and butchered Metallica's "Enter Sandman." If I could sum up the concert in one word, it would have to be heavy. With a huge selection of slower, sappier songs, most of these were
overrun with picks from the archives such as "Fat Lenny," "Golden Eel," and "Common Bitch," the biggest surprise of the evening. The encore saw guitarist, Dean Ween get behind the drumset with singer, Gene Ween on solo acoustic guitar, and drummer, Claude Coleman on dancing and backup vocals to do a tender, acoustic version of AIDS. The last two songs proved to be the highlights of the evening. "Big Jilm," in a half-acoustic, half-metal state was a rocker that had the entire club bouncing like a child's ball. This could have finished the show on a high note, but of course, Ween brought the tempo even higher to end the show with Blarney Stone. This Irish seafarer-drinking jig had the entire crowd swaying their beers back and forth like a drunken ship crew listening to the Good Captain Dean. The tour
is now over, and a new keyboardist is a possibility. Some think they rock hard without one, many think they need to grab one as soon as possible. Only time will tell. One thing is for certain, Ween never disappoints.
Jason "The Mollusk" Beckwit