I went to see Gene Ween last night with a friend of mine (a long time Ween enthusiast) who had an extra ticket. The show was sold out and we got there a little late so ended up standing by the bar in the back. The guy next to me was wearing a Mr. Skin t-shirt. A waitress kept passing us, charged with what looked like the worst task ever, having to continually push back and forth through the shoulder to shoulder crowd while balancing a tray of beer and cocktails. After she shoved past the Mr. Skin guy, I heard him tell his friend “I totally rubbed some tit.”

Being a solo acoustic performance, it was very much ‘for fans only’ but I hadn’t really anticipated the kind of fan devotion Ween inspires—or half of Ween in this case. It seemed like everyone, everyone, was singing along. At first this sort of creeped me out, as the one guy in the room who wasn’t in on the cult of Ween and then Gener played a song off Chocolate and Cheese and I got that tug of recognition and sang along. It was the one about the Mexican who’s avenging his brother but who turns out to be the killer and is framing his “amigo.” At the end, when the device is revealed, the whole crowd was belting it out with such hammy enthusiasm that I got kind of lost in the moment. And the near-religious display of audience commitment was refreshing whether I was in on it or not. But the audience response was strange considering the songs are so completely ironic. But then some how they’ve arrived at sincerity? or maybe I just don’t get it and really that ‘weird’ song about the party and tri-colored pasta is so very true but also totally hilarious but most of all cause for sing-a-long. The guy next to me during “Don’t Get 2 Close (2 My Fantasy)”: “I have no idea what the fuck this means but it’s fucking awesome.”

The show reminded me of the festivals I went to as a teenager. Going to Hog Farm and seeing all these people rallying around music and recognizing the value and wanting to participate but not really connecting, and it all seeming a little mindless, and the music isn’t even any good is it? And some guy blasting Hurricane and being like yeah I like Dylan. Did you see that Denzel movie? and ultimately feeling alienated. But I like Ween a lot more than Yonder Mountain String Band or Ben Harper or whatever Dead related group was the main ticket that year. And I don’t have a 15 year old’s insecurity or thirst for self definition (relatively anyway) So, last night I could, I guess, enjoy the show passively. I would’ve liked to have heard Sarah though.

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