steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Live in Chicago" DVD + CD

Sanctuary Records

Genres: indie pop, indie rock

band website

Oct 4 - 10 2004

On November 7th, 8th, and 9th, Dean, Gene, and the rest of Ween rented out Chicago's Vic Theater and hosted "An Evening With Ween."  Legions of fans attended and, up until now, only the glowing reviews of the lucky audience members have shed any light on how well things went.  But it's deep into 2004, and Sanctuary Records has done the public a great service in releasing the performance in both DVD and CD form.

The key to this release is the DVD, as it boasts an impressive twenty-six songs, and transports the listener (to the greatest extent possible) right into the action.  The CD only has seventeen songs, and they're more or less the DVD's tracks without the video.

Right from their opening, that familiar, instantly hum-worthy pop tune known as "Birmingham Green," we can tell the band is on their game.  The instrumentation is notably tight, the boys are having fun, and the crowd is understandably elated.  Watching Gene's acrobatic, smoothly playful vocals escape from his lips in real time is worth the price of admission alone, especially on classics like "Pork Roll Egg and Cheese" and "Even If You Don't."  It's a wonder he can still do it after all these years.  "Mutilated Lips" and "Big Jilm" are also standouts, but the legendary "Voodoo Lady," with its monster solo, and "The Blarney Stone" (the last song of the night) seem to be the grand attractions.

Live albums and videos are suspect releases, often just put out to fund the gap between real records, but this is a remarkably enjoyable DVD.  Inessential, perhaps, but those who invest in Live In Chicago should be thoroughly satisfied, Ween diehards or not.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 26 videos + 17 audio tracks, distributed everywhere, released 2004]