• 2019 WINNER OF BEST MUSIC VENUE & BEST EVENT SPACE IN WESTCHESTER MAGAZINE

  • 149 WESTCHESTER AVENUE, PORT CHESTER, NY 10573-4549 · (914) 937-4126

  • December 17th, 2018

    reCAP :: 2018.12.15 + 2018.12.16 :: Ween :: The Capitol Theatre

    Words by Kelley Lauginiger
    Photos by Scott Harris and Marc Millman

    Even though Ween’s birthplace of Philly kicked off their final run of 2018 this past Friday, their two-night stay Saturday and Sunday at The Capitol Theatre felt a lot like a homecoming. Both nights, devoted fans wrapped around the building over two hours before showtime swapping stickers, pins, stories, and hugs in anticipation of spending the evening together with Ween. Their triumphant return to The Original Rock Palace since Thanksgiving 2016, Ween delivered 59 songs in 2 days, 2 debut openers and 2 acoustic tunes, comedic antics throughout, and an astounding amount of love and respect for our presidents, Ween from New Hope.

    “This place is magic, man,” Deaner said, summing it up. “It feels just like yesterday that we were here.” Friday night saw a debut “Gots a Weasel” opener, nine tunes from The Pod and The Mollusk, three Gener megaphones, and three “Stallion”s, including an extremely psychedelic “Stallion 2” that had Deaner laying on the ground amidst a stage full of smoke like a barefoot, white Jimi Hendrix in a Hanes tee.

    The three-song suite “Stroker Ace,” “Gabrielle,” then into “Frank,” was truly the poopshit Ween dreams are made of. After getting everyone’s spirits up with a flying Deaner solo through “Stroker Ace,” “Gabrielle” had the whole place lit up under the bright lights in the chorus screaming along. After, Deaner called out the palpable humidity as “warm, sleazy, greasy, peasy, easy, sticky, and dicky” and perhaps referencing the earlier Thanksgiving mention, “suckin, fuckin, and makin’ a Turkducken.”

    “We’ll make that turkducken if we all work together,” Deaner said. “Take the brown acid and suck that turducken real good. You little turducken sucker…” he said drifting off into the sexiest Frank whose slinky soundwaves should have recruited any casual Ween fan into joining the cult. Sex sells, especially when sold by Dean Ween.

    Later, Gener busted out the harmonica during “Drifter in the Dark” to start a triple encore. Leading a sold-out singalong and finishing off by tossing the harmonica to a young fan in the front dressed as a young Gene Ween in his chef hat and goggles featured on the Cat’s Cradle release who could not have been more excited. Definitive Ween, a crew member came out after the show and tossed her the case to keep it safe.

    We don’t not notice these kind, beautiful gestures this band constantly delivers despite their tough demeanor. Underneath the brown, gritty dirt of the trials and tribulations of life is a community of people who love each other and love this band. And that’s all happening because this band loves each other, and loves what they do.

    At Garcia’s live taping before Sunday’s show, Katie Hartman of the God Ween Evan podcast explained her first live Ween experience Saturday as like taking a course in Malcolm Gladwell’s theory of achieving greatness at something by spending 10,000 hours practicing, where the something wasn’t just the music, but the friendship at hand. Thirty-three years after they met in middle school typing class, Dean and Gene are still blowing our minds, even if they bicker about the setlist once in a while.

    If the key to life is compromise, maybe that’s why Deaner and Gener have made it this far. Bantering about the setlist Saturday, the front-men of Ween went back and forth about playing “Hey There Fancypants,” or “Now I’m Freaking Out,” but ultimately played both back-to-back.

    Fans knew with the first ever “Polka Dot Tail” opener it would be a bustout-kind-of night, but didn’t know what to expect when Deaner announced he had the flu. “This is what I feel like,” he said, farting guitar feedback and reverberations through the speakers. “Thanks for being here even though this is the worst I’ve maybe ever felt on stage,” guitar farts blurted. Maybe he sharked everyone, as The Cap couldn’t have expected the first “Common Bitch” since Broomfield’s 2016 reunion run, a huge “Woman and Man,” Gener on keys for “Demon Sweat,” or a two-song acoustic section with “Kim Smoltz” and “Tried and True.”

    A fan favorite since it’s Broomfield reunion live performance debut, “Kim Smoltz” always stirs the emotions but Deaner brings it back by poking fun at the situation and sometimes calling it “hippie shit.” Sunday he joked that they “sounded like a bad jam band” at the end, but I’m pretty sure he loves it as much as anyone.

    A perfect song like “Kim Smoltz” has got to be powerful for the members of Ween. As artists, witnessing fans in the crowd having true connections to the music they’re performing that they’ve created as friends and shared with us has got to be something indescribable.

    Riding the wave of sunny bunny feelings, Ween dedicated the next few tracks to Steve Hillenburg, creator of the cartoon Spongebob who recently passed away due to ALS. Ween’s album The Mollusk acted as inspiration for the entire Spongebob cartoon, while a song teaching kids to tie their shoes called “Loop de Loop” was written for the show before it was even on the air.

    Throughout the segment, Spongebob cartoons adorned the walls of The Cap, with underwater themes floating abound, received with shouts and yells from the crowd as they noticed. Unmatched in their attention to detail and love for music itself, the team behind Port Chester’s Capitol Theatre and its surrounding community really do make it the mecca of live music on the East Coast. Behind the scenes, they make it all possible for music lovers around the world to gather in the space where Jerry Garcia so graciously doused the walls with ethereal magic so that we could be there, breathe it in, and take it with us in our lungs and in our hearts back to the outside world to get us through each day until the next Ween show.

    “I just want to thank the Capitol Theatre for being so sweet to us. This is the last gig of the year for us. It’s probably my favorite gig…it’s probably the nicest venue I’ve ever played,” Deaner said. In response to the gratitude, Pete Shapiro simply said, “This is why we do what we do. We travel, we work, we come here, and it’s good. And when it’s good, it’s really good.”

    Thank you to Pete Shapiro and The Capitol Theatre, Ween, Steve Hillenburg, and the whole Ween community for making it really good. The turducken’s only tasty if we make it together.

     

     

    12/15/2018 (Saturday)
    The Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, New York
    I Gots a Weasel, Transdermal Celebration, The Stallion pt 1, Waving My Dick in the Wind, Japanese Cowboy, I’ll Be Your Jonny on the Spot, Roses Are Free, Mutilated Lips, Ice Castles> The Golden Eel, The Goin’ Gets Tough From the Getgo, I Saw Gener Cryin’ in His Sleep, Mister Richard Smoker, The Stallion pt 2, Stroker Ace, Gabrielle, Frank, Seconds, Doctor Rock, Buckingham Green, The Stallion pt 3, Bananas and Blow, She Fucks Me, Homo Rainbow, I Don’t Want It
    Encore: Drifter in the Dark, I Can’t Put My Finger on It, What Deaner Was Talkin’ About
    – first I Gots a Weasel opener
    – Gene harmonica solos during Drifter

    12/16/2018 (Sunday)
    The Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, New York
    Polka Dot Tail, Chocolate Town, Big Jilm, Happy Colored Marbles, Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down), Captain Fantasy, Don’t Get 2 Close (2 My Fantasy), Touch My Tooter, Ooh Va La, Woman and Man, Demon Sweat, Wayne’s Pet Youngin, Wayne’s Pet Youngin (tease), Take Me Away, Common Bitch, Did You See Me?, Hey There Fancypants, Now I’m Freaking Out, Don’t Sweat It, Kim Smoltz*, Tried and True*, She Wanted to Leave, The Mollusk, Loop de Loop, Ocean Man, The Grobe, Someday
    Encore: Your Party, Birthday Boy
    *acoustic
    – first Polka Dot Tail opener
    – Gene on keys for Demon Sweat
    – The Mollusk, Loop de Loop and Ocean Man dedicated to Stephen Hillenburg