Review – Gene and Dean Rocked Out Denver HalloWEEN

In 2019, ’90s alt-rock band Ween came through Denver on Halloween weekend for three debut performances at Denver’s premier Mission Ballroom. After the hiccup of 2020, Ween returned to Mission this past weekend for another three-night run that wrapped up Sunday night, with things getting exponentially weirder with each show. We were on hand for Sunday’s Halloween show and witnessed the peculiarity that is Ween in all of its eccentric glory.

The setlist, which was jokingly described by the band as “50 two-minute songs,” turned out to be a 34-song extravaganza that topped off a weekend of heavy jams, bust-outs and general debauchery for Ween fans, both old and new. Sunday night saw an extra 30 minutes compared to the first two nights, and wound up being a nearly three-hour show of nonstop musical wizardry. Ween leaves much to the imagination and is usually impossible to predict—the Halloween show was no different.

Dressed as the Super Troopers, or in the band’s indelicate words, “pigs,” the five-some took the stage to an overwhelming round of applause from their cult-like following, most of whom were on night three of three. Kicking it off with a fitting “There’s a Pig” to match their costumes, Ween ripped into the lengthy setlist that included a little bit of everything, including Gene and Dean’s infamous witty banter and much of Dean Ween’s incendiary guitar-playing. Twisting and turning throughout the evening, the one mega-set was hard rock, funky, bluesy, country and sometimes just downright creepy.

Creepy came in many forms during the show, like “Happy Colored Marbles” which came three songs in, or the satirical “Zoloft” that showed up about halfway through. The psychedelic “Flutes of Chi” was a clear fan favorite of the evening, and led into a couple of solid sing-alongs, including “Sorry Charlie” and “Even If You Don’t.” Having played parts one through three of “The Stallion” over the previous two nights, Ween threw fans a curveball by skipping part four and going straight into “The Stallion, Part Five.”

The band pulled out a few from their 12 Golden Country Greats, including “Japanese Cowboy” and “I Don’t Wanna Leave You On Th’ Farm.” Ween is no stranger to hard rock, and things got real heavy with “I’ll Be Your Johnny On Th’ Spot,” followed by a bust-out of “Slow Down Boy.” A raucous uproar came from the crowd as drummer Claude Coleman, Jr. took over vocals for “Put the Coke On My Dick” before leading man Gene took back over for the super-funky “Monique the Freak.” The high point of the night got even higher as “Transitions” led into a slow and stunning “The Argus.”

What would have been the end of the show on Friday and Saturday nights was only the beginning of the end for Sunday’s finale. A groovy “Ocean Man” moved into “The Homo Rainbow,”  initiating the Mission Ballroom’s massive disco ball to shoot rainbow colors across the buzzing crowd. Thanking their diehard and aggressively dedicated fans, Ween served up a triple-encore of “What Deaner Was Talkin’ About,” “Baby Bitch” and “Drifter in the Dark” to round out a beautiful and bizarre experience that you really have to see to believe.

All photos courtesy of Ween on Facebook.