Five years ago today on February 12th, 2016, fan-favorite alt-rock weirdos Ween performed at Broomfield, CO’s 1stBank Center to kick off a three-night run, which also celebrated the band’s long-awaited return to the stage. Prior to this night, Ween had not performed live together since New Year’s Eve 2011 at Denver’s Fillmore Auditorium. Officially, the band had “broken up.”

Ween had split suddenly in 2012 after Aaron Freeman–a.k.a. Gene Ween–announced via an interview with Rolling Stone that he was “retiring Gene Ween,” and referred to his time with Ween as a “closed book.”

As he explained, “It’s been a long time, 25 years. It was a good run.” Freeman had just released a solo record and was going through the process of getting sober, among other personal tribulations and disputes between himself and his partner-in-brown, guitarist Dean Ween–a.k.a. Mickey Melchiondo.

Dean Ween Pens Excuse Letter For Student Wanting To Attend Colorado Ween Reunion

Mickey seemed just as surprised by the “breakup” as any of the band’s fans. As he posted on Facebook at the time, “This is news to me, all I can say for now I guess.” He later spoke about the surprisingly decisive manner in which Freeman had “ended” Ween in an interview with Mxdwn:

It’s common knowledge that Aaron just went away for a long stint in rehab. He’s trying to get himself sober and get his life on track, and that extends way deeper than just Ween. And I love Aaron, he’s one of my best friends in the world, my whole life. So, I kinda thought, that maybe the band would be on ice for a year, or two, or three, or five, and I was totally cool with that. However long it took for him to be healthy and more importantly happy, I was prepared to do it, and I was going to wait for him to take the lead on it. And the next thing I know I read in Rolling Stone that he said that he was breaking up the band. And I was heartbroken. I still am. It’s only been a month. And I also knew, you shouldn’t make a decision like that, the day you get out of rehab or the week you get out, and I think he regrets it. I don’t think that you’ve seen the last of Ween.

Thankfully, it turned out that Deaner’s instinct was correct. After years of eager waiting and encouragement from fans (some of whom you may know of), the two eventually mended fences. Freeman’s sobriety held strong, issues were worked out, and the New Hope, PA natives finally reunited in Colorado following the four-year break and picking up where they left off back on New Year’s Eve 2011.

Watch a complete-show fan-shot video compilation from Ween’s first reunion performance on February 12th, 2016 below:

Ween Reunion – 1stBank Center – 2/12/16

[Video: phrazelle]

Setlist: Ween | 1stBank Center | Broomfield, CO | 2/12/16

Set: What Deaner Was Talkin’ About, Buckingham Green, Beacon Light, Bananas and Blow, Japanese Cowboy, Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down), Now I’m Freaking Out, Roses Are Free, A Tear For Eddie, Your Party, How High Can You Fly?, Nan, Puerto Rican Power, Tick, Wayne’s Pet Youngin, The Goin’ Gets Tough From the Getgo, Mister Richard Smoker, Waving My Dick in the Wind, Gabrielle, Ooh Va La, Awesome Sound, The Stallion pt 3, Big Jilm, Licking the Palm For Guava> Mushroom Festival in Hell, Even If You Don’t, Sorry Charlie, With My Own Bare Hands, Don’t Laugh (I Love You), Boy’s Club, Homo Rainbow

Encore: Fiesta, Buenas Tardes Amigo[Poster: by Justin Hampton, via Brownbase]

[Cover photo via YouTube user phrazelle‘s fan-shot compilation]