Ween completely blows it with a bizarre Vancouver show

At the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Monday, January 24

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall of the Boognish’s lair this morning.

Based on the complete shitshow that was Ween at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Monday, it’s pretty much guaranteed that guitarist Mickey Melchiondo was weaving an impressive tapestry of profanity. And the object of his no-doubt-considerable ire? Well, it wasn’t drummer Claude Coleman Jr., bassist Dave Dreiwitz, or keyboardist Glenn McClelland. Like Melchiondo (aka Dean Ween), they were all total pros, ripping through everything they tackled with devastating precision, whether it was an extra-eerie “Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down)” or a greased-lightning cover of Motí¶rhead’s “Ace of Spades”.

No, the dude with some explaining to do would be one Aaron Freeman, better known to the good people of New Hope, Pennsylvania, as Gene Ween. Freeman hitting the stage with a hairdo that was a bizarre combination of Edward Scissorhands and Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future was the first hint that something was amiss. Clue number two came during the set-opening instrumental, “Fiesta”. As his bandmates nailed every stop-and-start note, Freeman stood there like a drunk simpleton who couldn’t, despite his best efforts, figure out how to keep time on a tambourine.

Things didn’t get any better when he stepped up to the mike. Early numbers like “Mister Richard Smoker” and “Transdermal Celebration” were advance warning that Freeman would be spending the night singing in a voice that was a weird, high-camp cross between Ethel Merman and the Heat Miser from A Year Without Santa Claus.

The ship was temporarily righted when Melchiondo commandeered the mike for the shitkicker classic “Piss Up a Rope”, and the awesomely brown “Tender Situation” was just fucked up enough to make it seem like Ween was a fully functioning unit. Except, on this night, no such luck.

Things went from bad to beyond-weird quickly. To the visible dismay of Melchiondo, Freeman totally blew the lyrics right after the epic guitar solo in “Buckingham Green”. And he decided it was easier to sit on the stage than to stand for “Mutilated Lips”.

Halfway through the show, it was obvious that all was far from good in the world of Ween. At one point, as Freeman futilely attempted to tune a guitar, Melchiondo turned the singer’s amp down when he wasn’t looking and then assumed vocal duties for “With My Own Bare Hands”.

An otherwise blistering “Reggaejunkiejew” was torpedoed when Freeman lay down on the stage midsong, the other members of Ween subsequently getting their revenge with an extended instrumental version of the Carpenters’ “Superstar”.

It was after the latter number that things arguably came to a head. A completely out of it Freeman finally bounced up to slur “Sorry if your panties are in a bunch.” He then proved himself utterly incapable of hitting half the notes in “Freedom of ’76”.

Obviously having had enough, the rest of Ween retreated to the back of the stage while Freeman again attempted to tune his guitar, a task he eventually abandoned. Subsequently, there was a certain irony to watching a totally out of it waste case serenade the crowd with a solo “Birthday Boy”, mostly because of the lyrics “Help me now, I’m going down/And I don’t know if I’ll be okay.” It was right around then that Melchiondo finally bailed, leaving the stage with the other members of the band.

What followed was funny—and sad—as Freeman finished up a sloppy, lone-wolf rendition of “Don’t Sweat It” by looking over his shoulder and then mumbled, “Hey, where’s the band?” Shortly thereafter, he walked off alone and the lights came up, leaving the audience pissed.

As anyone lucky enough to have seen Ween at the Starfish Room on the Chocolate and Cheese tour knows full well, getting fucked up was once a regular occurrence for Ween. But that was the band was playing for 400 people in shitty dive bars. On this night, Freeman—and Freeman alone—blew it in front of nearly 3,000 fans who’d paid $50 a ticket. And you didn’t have to be a fly on the wall to realize that the Boognish and the singer’s bandmates weren’t the only ones not amused.


Watch Aaron Freeman (aka Gene Ween) perform at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on January 24, 2011.

Comments (84) Add New Comment
RW
There were highs, and there were lows, an unbalanced mix granted, but don’t write the show off based on a shaky ending.

There are few moments in modern rock music that you get to see the rawness and humanity of a band, or band member. Last night was most certainly one of those glorious disasters. The despondent look on Dean’s face as fans invaded his space was a memory that I struck home, reminding me of every disappointing dive bar I’ve ever played.

Paying tons for my ticket I do feel, to a certain degree at least, my money was squandered, however seeing Gene Ween completely baffled by the tuning pegs of his Les Paul was another moment that struck home. It is unlikely you will see a melt down like this in the flesh in the near future, so focus less how it went down, and more on how you will tell the story over and over again.
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Rating: 0
Alexyourmama
I love how they picked a Justin Bieber fan to do this review cuz who ever wrote this thing has no idea who Ween is or who sing's the songs.
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Rating: -6
Video of the Collapse...
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Rating: -1
gladididnthavetopay
ive seen ween multiple times. if you think that performance was anything but an abomination, you clearly know nothing about the band in question, or music in general.
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Rating: +6
R2
Now I know why I missed the boat on this band 25 years ago....they are stoners and suck!
Hey Ween fans get off the drugs and go out and find some real music.
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Rating: -1
2nd Row
Ok, I have seen them 13 times, 1995 to now...all over NA. Funny a good buddy or mine and I talked about and wanted the Brownest possible show for lucky 13! GOT it.

Band comes out.....Gener mumbles something about the is and special anniversary,....Fiesta starts. Gener did not really know if it was a tambourine or not...and could not find the beat, kept looking at Deaner guitar....Now I would say that is how Gener was the rest of the show, difficult to manage. Did they play big, most def, they killed it on a few songs, the 20+ min R. Junky Jew.....wow killer brown, big and melty as it should be.

Was Deaner pissed, from my point of view, and that would be me, not Deaner, yes. Gener missed cues for songs, kept singing the wrong vers, repeated lines over and over, and sand after the band had finished the song. Yes I have scene Gener in a sorta glowing fucked up way, where he just kills it, but last night, he was barely conscious. It was difficult to watch as Deaner turned Geners amp down, as Gener had tried for 8 songs to tune his guitar and could not....they eventually tried to play around him, trying to get him to a point where he could make the great come back. Gener was in (and I use the word in...no on) hard times last night. At one point Dave (bassplayer) was singing Ace of Spades (killer btw) and Gene seemed to be looking out and mouthing the words as if he was singing....and then realized it was Dave, got huffy and then walked up to a mic and tried to sing something before blurting out a "fuck...."

Shortly after Dean, Dave, Claude, and Greg all left the stage. Birthday Boy.....all I can say Priceless....the rest, pretty sweet for a guy who was layed out less then 10 mins before. Here was the hardest part. I have (we all have bro's) who we have known for a life time, not unlike these two nutters, Gene and Dean. The last song. Gene says, "were's the band" then "I need the band for this one"....he starts, and then out comes the stage man, and turns off Deaners am, while Gene is playing and walks off stage with Deaners Guitar, and proceeds to turn off everything while Gener is trying to play. So the hard part......YOU DON'T LEAVE YOUR BRO HANGING......unless....you are pissed!
We can all guess as to the relationship between those 2 (or all of them). But 30 + years is a long time. To let your bro fall like that, to not answer the call......well speaks volumes and nothing all at the same time. We all watched in 2003, when Gene was fucked beyond belief (but up not down like last night). We all saw when Deaner killed the rest of the tour and Gener went to rehab. I can say from a fan point of view....Deaner watch over your best bro (be that what he is or not.......)


People saying bullshit comments like "I cried" good for you. As a fan I can now say I might have been to the brownest show of all time. Did I love it, sure did, did I hate it, no....but it did hurt.

GOD SPEAD Gener.....

PS Any questions fire away, I was Second Row Center....and compared to Gener....sobber.

PPS. PEOPLE guessing at the cocktail Gener was on.....you will never taste that waste!
PEE PEE S: The set list although short was killer, and so fitting, the taste the waste!
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Rating: +3
Hulk Savage
Gener also started singing "Ziggy Stardust" as the band walked off stage. A coincidence? I think not. But where were the spiders?? Awesome.
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Rating: -1
pt
amateur hour ... 50.00 ? what a waste of skin !
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Rating: 0
letdownshaz
I was excited to see this show considering it was the only concert I could afford for a long time. I was expecting some drunken shenanigans and I was expecting it to be fun. But it was sad and disappointing. I am still left with a weird let down feeling. Lets Dance was sloppy and boring. and the rest of it was just brutal.
I'm still a fan but won't spend the ltlle money I have to see them again.
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Rating: -4
Heinz Metusiac
I loved the show as much as any WEEN show I've seen... it ended with a bizarre beautiful train wreck... For those who think otherwise... I'd advise you to check out the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for their almost robotic prowess of following notes on a page.

Also... I love the VSO but *I* would never expect the conductor or first chair to possibly be fucked up for a show.
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Rating: 0
Baldaris
Sure it was memorable, but knowing how unbelievably tight Ween can be live I'm saddened and disappointed by this show. If this was the 'brown' that they were striving for, Deaner and co would have never walked off stage.
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Rating: -3
John Lucas
Dude, you got mentioned on Stereogum: http://stereogum.com/624731/last-nights-ween-concert-sounds-sad-hilariou...

No you now you have truly arrived.
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Rating: -4
Poppa Zit
BLAME CANADA !!!
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Rating: +2
Jwolovestodance
Wow. It was Ween with a twist of Genewreck! Some of my friends left after 3 songs. Some lett after the band left. I stayed to the end and watched in awe the non abilities of the Genewreck. Trying to coax him into beat with clapping to him playing solo. In the end this show was the worse show I have ever seen. 20 years of shows in Vancouver it had to happen eventually.
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Rating: -8
B Mack
Definitely was a Carpenters cover, done magnificently. The beginning of the show was UNREAL! The lighting effects were amazing, and seeing the band perform Transdermal celebration and Buckingham Green was amazing. The first hour=WOW. The rest of the show=SUCK. Shame on you Gener
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Rating: 0
Kara
This just goes to show, they have really good drugs in Vancouver...
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Rating: +5
Burger
Aah so sad. I'm sorry for all the first timers out there who were prepared for some epic Ween and got...that. I hope Gene sleeps it off and and he and Deaner make nice. Maybe they will capture some other 13 year old heart again, like they did mine all those years ago. Boo-erns!!!
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Rating: +1
Nikivan
That was my first ween show, After being told by several people what a great show they put on i bought tix, only to be utterly disappointed. and yes that was too a carpenters cover!
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Rating: +2
AntheaN
My first Ween experience. Sound was horrible. Venue not suitable. Audience entertaining. Ah the smell of wafting pot smoke. GW sounded like a deranged elf with an Einstein hairdoo. First paid too much for parking(thanks hockey game)and too much for tickets. I foolishly bought that silly blue ween bini. Yet all in all I still had a good time and kind of enjoyed the messiness of it all. Like a bunch of teenagers trashing their parent's mansion throwing a party for three thousand people. Heck I'll go to another Ween concert just not at the stuffy Queen E.
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Rating: -2
__TooPure_
I almost got dragged along to this one. Glad I saved my money for =sebadoh=
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Rating: -4

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