Ween at the Wiltern: Over the Weekend
Timothy Norris Gene Ween: best David Bowie karaoke performer, ever
[For more images of Ween's show see Timothy Norris' slideshow "Ween @ The Wiltern".]
WHERE: The Wiltern
1. Wow--Ween is huge in 2011: By 9:00 pm the line at the Wiltern went around and around (the venue handled it very well, though, and it moved along nicely). The show was sold out and it felt like it. Overheard in line: "This is the longest line I've seen at the Wiltern." "I've seen PJ Harvey here and it wasn't like this."
2. Who comes to a Ween concert in 2011: If you were expecting a nerdy 30something sausagefest, you'd have been surprised: It was 60/40 male-female, with a disproportionate number of baseball-capped (front and backwards) bros in party mode. There were some metal girls and Ke$ha lookalikes. Also younger Ween-in-the-'90s lookalikes. Phish t-shirts as well, which brings us to...
From the street glass-pipe merchants along the entrance line, to what appeared to be the entire room toking up from the moment the lights went down, turning the Wiltern into a massive hotbox. People in the men's room were loudly chanting every Ween line about blow as well, and given their annoying buoyancy and the several pointless incidents of fisticuffs during the show, their mellow yellow might have included more than bananas.
4. Highlight of the show: the covers & the hits foursome: Half-way through the looooooong set ("the fans won't have it any other way," told us their manager), the band announced "special guest David Bowie," and Gene launched into a note-perfect rendition of "Let's Dance," once again showing him to be the best karaoke singer ever. This was followed by the epic, Spandau Ballet-pastiche "Slow-Down Boy," a cover of Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" (sung by their bass player), and a particularly manic version of "Push th' Little Daisies." A tight and memorable four-song run that kept the excited audience riveted.
5. Gene has aged into a mad scientist and Dean still gives the best guitarface: Gene's "Albert Einstein in Mel Brook's Young Frankenstein" look is a sight to behold. And Dean's "Liev Schreiber passing a kidney stone" guitar face never gets old (nor does he, apparently).
6. Only in LA moments: Backstage, Entourage star Adrian Grenier and Behind the Music's trainwreck Leif Garrett came to pay their respects.
7. The bottom line: Rabid fans, dancing, singalongs: Ween are huge stars in a parallel universe, except that parallel universe lives right next to ours, and comes out religiously for event like Saturday's. The Ween show is where your older Phish and Pavement fans, your less older (currently disappointed) Weezer fans, and even your nerd-rock Muse-obsessed whippersnappers come to get a little weirder, and a lot more dancier.
The Set List: