Reviews > Shows
Ween in Oakland
Photo by Stuart Thornton
After a disastrous performance in Vancouver earlier in the week, Bay Area Ween fans were left wondering which Gene Ween they’d get at the group’s first ever Oakland show. Would it be the Gene Ween who four nights earlier had forgotten lyrics, laid on the stage and was eventually abandoned by his band mates? Or would it be the underrated vocalist and sometimes guitarist who had helped Ween become one of rock’s most dependable live acts?
Luckily, it was the latter. While he might not have looked good—Gene looked pretty wizened—the vocalist sounded great during this three hour long, 35-song concert that spanned narcotic numbers (“Happy Colored Marbles,” “Demon Sweat”), pummeling rock (“My Own Bare Hands,” “Dr. Rock”) and rarities (the Neil Young-ish epic “Did You See Me?,” the prog rock, mostly instrumental “The Final Alarm”). Gener also proved that he still had his sense of humor intact several times during the evening including when he announced the Ween original “Waving My Dick in the Wind” as an old blues number.
Halfway through the show, Gene and Dean went acoustic for a handful of numbers that comprised among others “Chocolate Town,” “Help Me Scrape the Mucus Off My Brain” and a cover of Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s “Lucky Man,” where keyboardist Glenn McClelland replicated the moog synthesizer solo from the 1971 hit. An even better cover came later in the night after the group had returned to electric guitars and burrowed into a powerfully funky version of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” which seemed tailor made to Ween’s quirky sensibilities.
Following a raucous Dean Ween led sing-a-long of “Blarney Stone”—which temporarily transformed the historic theater into a drink waving, Irish pub—Ween returned for an encore that began with the metallic one-two punch of “Stroker Ace” and “You Fucked Up.” The night ended with Dean and Gene stepping aside to let drummer Claude Coleman do a sprawling, tumbling solo on “Never Squeal.”
Following the Vancouver debacle, Ween’s Bay Area fans could take the song’s closing line of “it’ll be OK” to heart after this return-to-form performance.
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