Note:If you need to really know how I feel about Ween as a band, please refer to my review on of their CD Quebec, on this very website.
My other review contained a small bit on a time when I experienced Ween live. I have seen them again since, and considering this is a live DVD/CD package, I find it fitting to tell another story. I am sure many of you have heard about the annual hippie subculture festival known as Bonnaroo, as it has become a national phenomenon in the past few years. Over a hundred thousand people doing drugs, selling drugs, sleeping, drinking,, and well, sometimes they watch music too. When asking a general Bonnaroo attendee why he's there, he would probably answer, "The Dead maaaan, and uhh, Dave! Fuckin headie shrooms maaan." Well yes, the Dead (that's the Grateful Dead sans their deceased singer Jerry Garcia), Dave Mathews, and Bob Dylan are some of the main attractions. I was there for one sole purpose: to see Ween. The experience was invigorating, extremely tiring, and three plus hours long. I was amazed, excited, asleep, drunk, and probably a few other things during their extremely long set. Even though at times I was unconscious, I can assure you it was not from boredom or even substance abuse, but simply due to the extremely tiring environment. Even as I sat half asleep in some other persons lawn chair, at three in the morning the sounds of one of the most entertaining rock bands in history were still shaking my unconscious brain. They blew through the electric guitar grunge of "You Fucked Up" to the acoustic set featuring some of their best songs. What does this have to do with this release you ask? Well, because what I experienced that night in the middle of Tennessee while my friends were on acid watching Primus was something I experienced again with this release.
Video: The DVD really is the reason to buy this, with the CD being a little extra for when you are in your car or when you just can't find the time to sit down and watch. First of all, the set list is incredible. "Voodoo Lady", "Take Me Away", "Spinal Meningitis", "Buckingham Green", "Roses are Free", and "Baby Bitch" are all there, along with twenty others. The production and editing are incredibly impressive. At times Dean will be bent over, eyes squeezed shut, punching out an incredible solo, and as the smoke machine starts overtaking him he finally disappears in the mist. The smoke clears, and what you see is now a completely different angle of the whole band playing. When Gene is singing, the camera usually focuses on him. When Claude Coleman is seamlessly hitting a perfect fill on his drums, the cameras focus on him, and during the solo, you can see every note so perfectly that you wonder if the smoke coming out of Dean's guitar is actually his cigarette strategically placed in on stock of the guitar, or if it's due to his playing. The DVD is flawless in every aspect.
Audio: The CD portion of Live In Chicago is more or less the same as the DVD, with three or four less tracks, and a somewhat different arrangement. Why the order of songs differs from how it was actually played and how it was filmed for the DVD is beyond me, but it does nothing to interrupt the flow of the disk. Again the quality is amazing. You can hear every downbeat, backup vocal, and bass line perfectly. If you are a fan of rock music, pick this up.