Aaron “Gene Ween” Freeman and Mickey “Dean Ween” Melchiondo brought Ween to Chicago last night for their first of two consecutive performances at the Aragon Ballroom. The biggest surprise of the evening was the band’s first live rendition of “King Billy,” a song they included on their The Friends EP in 2007.
While Ween visited Chicago last year for a set at Riot Fest, last night’s concert marked their first headlining gig in the city since a June 2010 performance at the Aragon. Gener, Deaner, bassist Dave Dreiwitz, keyboardist Glenn McClelland and drummer Claude Coleman opened with “Transdermal Celebration.” The five-piece’s 26-song performance was heavy on material from 1994’s Chocolate & Cheese LP as they played seven of the LP’s 16 tracks. “King Billy” was unveiled in the middle of the group’s main set. While “King Billy” had been performed by a pair of Gene Ween’s solo projects, Ween had never fit the reggae-tinged tune into one of their live shows before Thursday night. The band extended “King Billy” beyond the 10-minute mark with Gener helping out Glenn on keys at one point of the jam.
Later in the night, Gener struggled with “Your Party” leading to multiple re-tries. For the encore, Ween trotted out “Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down),” “Touch My Tooter,” “Wavin’ My Dick In The Wind” and “Ocean Man.” The band returns to the Aragon Ballroom tonight.
Watch video of “King Billy” captured by Monica Hampton:
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