Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre
Words & Photos by Nicholas Stock
Ween, a band synonymous with the surreal, rolled into town for a Thursday night soiree at The Happiest Place on Earth, Red Rocks Amphitheatre. From their early days with a DAT machine and a sense for the obnoxious until their sell out show at the most famous venue in the country, Ween has never backed down from their vision. Now in their elder years they can sit back and relish in what must have started as one of the more elaborate inside jokes that ever transpired between two junior high school kids. They were a psych rock band doing their thing long before King Gizzard made it look cool. As I made my way through the parking lot it became pretty obvious that Ween is the one band that it’s okay to wear the shirt to the show.
“When the going gets brown, the sun goes down.” - Gene Ween
“Roses Are Free” was the gateway drug to Ween for many including myself. Thanks Phish for introducing me to yet another weird band something like 24 years ago. The mix on this show was loud and I think that was purposeful. This show was a literal attack on the senses. “Gabrielle” rocked and saw Gener bouncing around the stage like a kid on new trampoline. The bullhorn made an appearance on “Stroker Ace” before they proceeded with classy “Touch My Tooter.” Ween has one of the best backing bands on the planet consisting of Claude Coleman Jr. on drums, Glenn McClelland on keys and Dave Dreiwitz who absolutely crushed the bass on an epic “Frank.” McClelland stole the show on “Mollusk” with his fluttery keyboard work.
“Chocolate Town” had a false start and never quite got on track. They took it down a notch with the sweet “Stay Forever” and the abstract “I Don’t Want It.” “Ice Castles” built into a beautiful crescendo before they ripped into “The Final Alarm” which featured a brief vocal section from Mr. Coleman behind the kit. “Happy Colored Marbles” got us back to the weird. I have a slight problem dancing to “Spinal Meningitis,” but apparently the twenty-somethings to my left took no issue. “Voodoo Lady” went dark and deep but “Bananas and Blow” kept it airy and light. The machine gun drums of “Take Me Away” inspired the audience to get down. Gene tried to coax a sing along on “I Don’t Wanna Leave You on the Farm” but the crowd may have been a bit too inebriated at this point.
Ween is the same and yet always different every time. At this point they have 9 studio albums under their belt so they have a wide catalog to pull from. It feels like they are having fun reworking old songs and creating interesting setlists. The staples all came out but we were still left wanting more. As I walked down the ramp towards my car I came to a realization that I must just like weird bands. Primus, King Gizzard and Phish can all fall into that category, but none go as far and are as irreverently bold as Ween. They always have been and they always will be pushing it to the absolute edge of decency and sensibility. And for that I love them - long live the Boognish!
Nicholas' Photo Gallery