DS Show Review & Gallery: Ween at The Salt Shed. Chicago (09.09.2023)

Ween hit the outdoor stage at the Salt Shed in Chicago, IL on Saturday, September 9, 2023. The show was sold out and at nearly 3 hours long, even sans supporting bands; a pretty good bang for the buck. That the night was gorgeous, with late summer slightly overcast skies setting the temps perfectly between just a tinge cool and hoodie weather was a lovely bonus. The only water in site was that of the Chicago River to the side of the venue and the free water station on the Salt Shed’s midway.

The outdoor stage at The Salt Shed is situated so that in the backdrop Willis Tower looms large. Scan a bit to the left and 875 N. Michigan as the building at that address is presently called. Of course, to those who love the two iconic buildings, they are better known, respectively, as the Sears Tower, and the John Hancock Center. Having worked in the latter for almost 5 years, I am among those who stubbornly continue call it by its original name. The buildings will likely remain beloved whatever the name. They just stand on their own no matter what some corporation decides to deem them.

Fortunately, fans of Ween have not had to deal with similar names changes. And as with the two architectural landmarks, Ween has kept unique its contributions to musical landscape for decades. With a voice distinctly its own the band has a devoted, a benevolant, cult-like following. There was little doubt the love ran deep for this group. Ween, with its scheduled set time of 2 hours and 45 minutes, obviously reiterates that love.

Ween fans were so excited for the show to begin that once the doors opened 2 hours earlier many of them had to be told by venue security to slow down or walk as so many of them were seen racing to secure a spot as close to the stage as possible.

Ween kicked off its set with “Nan” from its debut album GodWeenSatan: The Oneness. It then immediately rolled right into the immensely popular ode to heartbreak, “Take Me Away,” off 1994’s White Pepper Album.

“Gabrielle,” “Object,” “Even If You Don’t,” and “The Golden Eel,” followed.

The band kept the crowd pumped as it jammed through most followers’ favorites.

The moment in the set in which the band takes requests was especially lovely for newlywed couple, pressed up against the barricade. The bride waved a sign requesting the band perform “Oh My Dear (I’m Falling in Love).” Ween presented the couple with a sweet rendition of it as a sort of wedding gift.

Tell me where you come from, was it heaven above?
Oh my dear, I must be falling in love
Can you climb the sunny peaks of a fortress in mud?
Oh my dear, I must be falling in love
Did I tell you I want more than what you’re really made of?
Oh my dear, I must be falling in

The band’s present line-up consists of founders Gene and Dean Ween (Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo, respectively) both on vocals and guitars, plus drummer Claude Coleman Jr, multi-instrumentalist David Dreiwitz on bass here, and Keyboards player Glen McClelland. Together they kept the excitement going on as the gloaming changed to night.

Ween’s set also included, among others, “Light Me Up,” “Tried and True,” “Chocolate Town,” “Buckingham Green,” “The Mollusk,” and “Ocean Man.”

One of the highlights of the night was the live debut of “I Fell In Love Today,” from its 1995 album Shinola, Vol 1. It was a pleasant surprise and evidence that a band, decades on, can still provide a few to even its most devoted fans.

Please see more photos from the show. Thanks and Cheers!

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