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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Ween - Live in Chicago
Ween - Live in Chicago
Sanctuary Records // Unrated // May 4, 2004
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Carl Davis | posted July 6, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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There was always something a little fishy (Phishy?) about Ween and their new DVD, Ween - Live in Chicago, proves it. How else could two "Brothers" (Gene and Dean) from New Hope, PA have ever huffed enough Scotchgard to create the mind-bending, genre-hopping albums that have helped them to amass an absolutely rabid cult of fans? Ween have been on the fringe of the Indie scene for almost 15 years, and in their most recent incarnation, have begun to align themselves with the jam band movement, attracting a large number of the genre's fans by playing events like Bonnaroo. What gives? This is a band that wrote a song called "Hippie Smell"! However, I guess that Ween do exhibit a lot of traits that most jam bands are guilty of, including goofball lyrics, tons of drug references and, of course, songs with the capacity to be played… well, forever.

Ween's main strength lies in the musical craftsmanship of their eight studio albums. Sadly, little of their work has ever been given more than a cursory glance by the mainstream music establishment, but Ween have somehow dodged the novelty-act label. This has given them the unprecedented freedom to experiment with their every musical urge, no matter how far removed from the rest of their oeuvre. Due to such a varied catalog, Ween have one of the most unpredictable live shows in rock today. Ween - Live in Chicago is their first live album in five years and is also their first DVD.

Touring in support of 2003's Quebec, Ween - Live in Chicago is collected from two, of their three, nights at Chicago's Vic Theatre. Overall, it's a satisfying disc, but the band plays it safe and doesn't do anything daring or descend into the chaos that was once synonymous with the Ween live experience. Probably the most inspired moment comes near the end of their set, with their reverential cover of Led Zeppelin's "All Of My Love". Nothing more than a Document of their current Tour, this DVD showcases the band with a confidence in themselves and their material that is sure to please their fans.

Ween - Live in Chicago is nicely shot and well paced, editing together concert footage taken from many different angles. Chicago's Vic Theatre is a spacious environment, but even with frequent close-ups you still feel removed from the action on the stage. Ween's popularity has grown directly from their non-stop touring and lengthy sets, providing people with an experience they soon won't forget. While there's a lot to like about this DVD, it's unlikely to attract many new fans or show them the magic that Ween are truly capable of.

The songs included on this disc set are: Buckingham Green
Spinal Meningitis Got Me Down
Pork Roll Egg And Cheese
Take Me Away
The Grobe
Transdermal Celebration
Even If You Don't
Voodoo Lady
Baby Bitch
The H.I.V. Song
Roses Are Free
Mutilated Lips
Chocolate Town
I'll Be Your Jonny On Th' Spot
Touch My Tooter
The Argus
Zoloft
Ocean Man
Don't Laugh (I Love You)
All Of My Love
Big Jilm
You Fucked Up
Doctor Rock
She Fucks Me (Encore)
Booze Me Up And Get Me High
The Blarney Stone

The DVD:

Picture: The concert is presented in a 16:9 aspect ratio. The picture is very well shot and the images are bright and clear.

Audio: This DVD features a Dolby 5.1 Surround and 2 CH Stereo tracks, which sound great.

Extras: There are a alternate versions of three performances included on this disc. These are: Voodoo Lady, Mutilated Lips and The Blarney Stone. The best Bonus this DVD comes with is a Live CD, which contains seventeen of the DVD's twenty-six tracks. Most are from the band's latter releases, with the exception of "Pork Roll Egg and Cheese" from The Pod.

Conclusion: Having been released a couple months ago, die-hard Boognish (Translation = Ween fans) will already own this set, but for those of you curious enough about the Brother's Ween, Ween - Live in Chicago is worth your time either as a rental or even a blind buy. If nothing else, the Bonus Live CD really helps to sweeten the deal, which I can attest, since I am still playing it in my car several weeks after having watched the DVD.

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