Those lucky enough to be in the audience at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York on Saturday, June 18th, were treated to a truly unearthly experience. As I type these words a day later, I am still struggling to grasp the overwhelming splendor of what genuinely was a night no one in the theatre could possibly walk away from unmoved.

The evening began with the one-of-a-kind opening act, The Dean Ween Group, who immediately got the crowd going with the jammy opener “Dickie Betts,” followed by the Motorhead-esque “It’s Gonna Be a Long Night” from Ween’s Quebec. The band made it a point to perform the Grateful Dead classic “Stella Blue,” dedicating it to the legendary theatre in which they were performing. The set continued with a sloppy and silly rendition of “I Saw Gener Cryin’ In His Sleep” as well as a hilarious performance of “Fingerbangin’.”

Listen To The Dean Ween Group’s Set Here:

Les Claypool joined the band on stage for a captivating collaboration on the Ween favorite “The Mollusk,” which was no doubt one of the highlights of the entire evening. Then the group closed out their set with a jaw-dropping lengthy performance of the Ween tune “The Rift” from Shinola Vol. 1. After the stage was cleared, it was only a matter of time until Uncle Les and his new musical companion Sean Lennon would give the enthusiastic New York audience a night they’ll never forget. 

As the lights went down over the raring-to-go audience, in a haze-filled room smoky enough to fly everyone to cloud nine, the eerie opening of the instrumental “There’s No Underwear in Space” oozed from the speakers as the band takes the stage. Guitar in hand, out walked Sean Lennon looking like a cross between Sgt. Pepper and his newfound musical comrade, Colonel Claypool. Followed by the Colonel himself, the audience let out a deafening cheer, and the time arrived for musical lift-off!

The steady thump of the opening bass riff for “Cricket and the Genie” began. This upbeat single from their newly unveiled psychedelic masterwork Monolith of Phobos was a perfect place to start, as each-and-every audience member was now in the palms of the hands of The Delirium. While projections of pyramids and mythological figures scaled the pillared theatre walls, the glittering illumination of the stage lights brought these celestially psychedelic songs to life; making for a truly extraterrestrial experience.

Up next was the cleverly-titled “Breath of a Salesman” (not exactly what Arthur Miller had in mind). Following this funky sixth track from their debut record, Claypool went on with his typical grin-inducing stage banter. This time, he treated the starry-eyed spectators to some reminiscent ramblings of his upbringing, in which he recalled once having a deep affection for a toy ape he had as a child. He then explained how before settling on the band name Primus in the late-1980’s, he once considered naming the band “Primate” — further emphasizing his soft-spot for his simian soul-mates.

Speaking of our anthropoid friends — “Bubbles Burst,” “our most controversial song” as Sean Lennon said Saturday night in a tongue-in-cheek manner was, much-like on the album, one of the biggest moments of the entire performance. This song, in all honesty, is larger than life. The controversy, so-to-speak, stems from the visceral reaction from rabid Michael Jackson sycophants, whom have collectively had a strongly negative response to the darkly humorous depiction of Jackson and his monkey named Bubbles in the newly-released Delirium music video. All you have to do is look at the comment sections on YouTube to see exactly what I’m talking about.

There wasn’t a single song from the album that was left out of the set list. Every track from the recently-circulated Monolith of Phobos was present and accounted for, with the addition of some extra pleasant surprises such as “Cosmic Highway” from the Frog Brigade album Purple Onion, as well as a happy little tease of “Jerry Was A Race Car Driver” during their poignantly political new tune, “Ohmerica.” Most impressive was the face-melting performances of Pink Floyd’s “Astronomy Domine” and “Tomorrow Never Knows;” the psychedelic milestone from The Beatles masterpiece, Revolver. Seeing and hearing Sean perform such a cosmic gem of his father’s repertoire was certainly something special. There are no better walls for these late-sixties works of genius to be bouncing off than within the majesty of the grand Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. Just twenty-two miles from Manhattan, The Capitol Theatre is just the kind of legendary venue that was appropriate to hold such a superlative event.

“It warms my heart,” said an earnestly-spoken Les Claypool, speaking of how touched he consistently is that so many people, time and time again, continue to support his numerous side incarnations. After a spellbinding set, the band took the stage once more, for a thunderous twenty-minute encore performance of the Primus fan-favorite “Southbound Pachyderm,” featuring a visually-jubilant Dean Ween on guitar. Not a single head was turned away from the stage, as Claypool, Lennon and Deaner set fire to the eyes and minds of the captivated audience, while the band jammed into seemingly endless psychedelic oblivion.

From the hauntingly hallucinogenic title track, through “Boomerang Baby” and the deviant tales of “Mr. Wright,” to the shady character-driven excursions of “Captain Lariat” and “Oxycontin Girl,” Monolith of Phobos is a psychedelic force of nature; and this concert was no different. Last night was the final show of the first leg of the Delirium tour. After a well-needed break to finish out the month of June and throughout most of July, the band kicks off the second part of their U.S. tour on the 21st of July in Seattle, Washington. Their travels will take them back across the country, and eventually winding up in New Orleans for Voodoo Fest in late October.

One could only hope that following the lengthy tour, an effort to continue this new musical endeavor will carry on. Monolith of Phobos features some of the best material both Lennon and Claypool have put out in years. “Childhoods end and bubbles burst” sings Lennon. But in the hypnotic trance of The Claypool Lennon Delirium, you’ll feel like child all over again.

Be sure to get your healthy dose of The Delirium when they arrive in a town near you, throughout this year. Go on and indulge in the esoteric realms of your mind with these giants of psychedelic wizardry. Your third eye will thank you for it.

Setlist: Dean Ween Group at The Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY – 6/18/16

Dickey Betts, It’s gonna be a Long Night (DD on vocals), Garry*, Stella Blue, I Saw Gener Crying in his Sleep*, Fingerbang, Mercedes Benz, The Mollusk (with Les Claypool), The Rift

*Joe on acoustic

Words by Joseph Conlon, images via Scott Harris/Capitol Theatre. Check out a full gallery below.