The unholy congregants of the Church of Brownology erected their altar on Saturday night in Chicago for Ween‘s debut at The Salt Shed. Among the many highlights for the Brothers in Brown Dean and Gene Ween (Mickey Melchiondo and Aaron Freeman, respectively) and their cohorts was the live debut of “I Fell In Love Today” off 2005’s compilation album Shinola, Vol. 1.

Currently in the midst of its first full-fledged tour since the band’s 2016 reunion, Ween’s recent one-off shows across the country have seen fairly consistent setlists. Heavy hitters like “Buckingham Green”, “Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down)”, “Take Me Away”, and others have made near-nightly appearances—as they did last night—however in a 37-song setlist, there still leaves plenty of room for Ween to color outside the lines.

Chicago holds special significance for Ween and its followers, as the band’s two-night 2004 stint at the city’s Vic Theatre became the album/DVD Live in Chicago. It was perhaps then no coincidence that Ween scheduled its swing through the Windy City on a Saturday, with Deaner remarking after the opening “Nan”, “Saturday night, rock night.”

And indeed it did rock.

Quick sprints through opening numbers “Nan”, “Take Me Away”, Gabrielle”, “Object”, and “Even If You Don’t” got things started before “The Golden Eel” firmly planted Ween’s foot on the gas with Dean’s sinuous guitar solo boldly announcing the band’s arrival. With the noise-rock gore at the end of “Happy Colored Marbles”, it was clear that Ween was here and comfortable. And it was during the highway-flying rush of “Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down)” that all of the thousands of miles I have spent flying and driving around the country in the past two weeks (stopping in every time zone in the continental U.S.) to bring me to this specific place and time, about ten rows back from Dean Ween and his Fender Stratocaster (a black Strat as opposed to his usual faded red), became worth it. I’ve been to five states in the past two weeks and change, but this was where I was supposed to be.

The meaty middle of a Ween show where the magic tends to happen did not disappoint on the usual sorcery, with Deaner packing the entire live Ween experience into the glorious feedback of his “Voodoo Lady” solo. A man of the people, Gene even took a request from a new bride in the crowd for “Oh My Dear (Falling In Love)”, a decidedly tender take from 1991’s The Pod.

Ween – “Oh My Dear (Falling In Love)” – 9/9/23

[Video: The Stallion Mang]

Once it was about halfway through the show, Dean got his turn at the mic with back-to-back takes on “With My Own Bare Hands” and “Help Me Scrape The Mucus Off My Brain”. A short time later, following lively renditions of “Light Me Up”, “Tried and Tried”, “Chocolate Town”, and “Exactly Where I’m At”, the guitarist interjected between songs, “I don’t know if we’ve ever done this, actually. I’m sure one of you knows,” referring to the many Ween statisticians in the crowd and the good people over at Brownbase cooking the books.

That comment preceded Ween’s first-ever live performance of “I Fell In Love Today”. The track was originally recorded as part of the demos for what became the band’s 2003 masterpiece Quebec, with the outtakes later leaking as The Caeser Demos. In 2005, the band put out a professional recording of “I Fell In Love Today” on Shinola, Vol. 1, a compilation album that heard the band go back through some of the many, many, many songs it has written that never made it to an album, give them the proper studio treatment, and stitch them together into something of a comprehensive studio overlook of the band’s sonic evolution from 1990 through 2003.

Ween – “I Fell In Love Today” – 9/9/23

[Video: The Stallion Mang]

Considering the exceedingly rare circumstance of seeing Ween play a song for the first time ever, the rest of the show was gravy from there on out. And boy did Ween slather on the gravy with an “Up On The Hill” that had Gener red in the face, the always-cathartic “You Fucked Up”, a “Mononucleosis” that defined what it is to be Brown, a royally rocking “Buckingham Green”, a lovingly nostalgic “Loop de Loop” from SpongeBob SquarePants, and a final roaring “Vallejo” to close the main set.

As if a 34-song main set wasn’t enough, Ween returned for a three-song encore that kicked off with Deaner’s country kiss-off “Piss Up A Rope”. Bassist Dave Dreiwitz got his own turn at the mic for a tribute to the late legend Lemmy Kilmister with Motörhead‘s “Ace of Spades”, before Gene sent everyone home with the cordial thank you note “Your Party”.

Check out a collection of videos from Ween in Chicago courtesy of The Stallion Mang. Ween rolls on to Madison, WI tonight, September 10th, for a show at The Sylvee. For tickets and full tour information visit the band’s website.

Ween – “If You Love Me” – 9/9/23

Ween – The Salt Shed – Chicago, IL – 9/9/23 – Part One

Ween – The Salt Shed – Chicago, IL – 9/9/23 – Part Two

Setlist: Ween | The Salt Shed | Chicago, IL | 9/9/23

Set: Nan, Take Me Away, Gabrielle, Object, Even If You Don’t, The Golden Eel, Happy Colored Marbles, Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down), The Stallion pt 3, Back to Basom, Touch My Tooter, Stroker Ace, If You Love Me, Voodoo Lady, Albino Sunburned Girl, Oh My Dear (Falling in Love), With My Own Bare Hands, Help Me Scrape the Mucus Off My Brain, Light Me Up, Tried and True, Chocolate Town, Exactly Where I’m At, I Fell in Love Today, Big Jilm, Up on the Hill, Waving My Dick in the Wind, You Fucked Up, Mononucleosis, Tender Situation, Buckingham Green, The Mollusk, Ocean Man, Loop de Loop, Vallejo

Encore: Piss Up a Rope, Ace of Spades (Motörhead), Your Party

– Oh My Dear by request
– first I Fell in Love Today by WEEN