Written by Fumo Verde
Ween fans will dig this one. At the Cat’s Cradle, 1992 is a two-disc set, the first a CD recorded live at the Cat’s Cradle in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on December 9, 1992. At this time the band included Gene Ween (vocals & guitar) Dean Ween (vocals & guitar) and at bass and drums Yamaha Digital Audio Tape Deck. That’s right, Ween fans, with Kirk Miller as live sound engineer and Paul Monahan as tour manager, this was one of the first tours after signing with Elektra Records and the band were still just Dean and Gene. The second disc is a DVD, which is one hell of a bonus. It contains shows caught live at Vera in Groningen, Netherlands and Staches in Columbus Ohio. There are also two fun clips of the guys filmed while in a studio at WTSR Radio in Trenton, New Jersey.
Disc one is a great show, twenty-one tracks starting with warm-up song “Big Jim” followed by one of my favorites, “Never Squeal On Th’Pusher”. Other favorites of mine on here are “Mango Woman” with its funky tropical sound. Also “Pork Roll, Egg and Cheese” which has more of a basic rock ‘n’ roll sound to it. The words are sung in a manner you might have heard in the early fifties. Right after that tune comes “Cover It with Gas and Set It on Fire.” Now here is where vocals add texture. As Dean snarls out “He’s the hobble with the wobble at the gang rape,” Gene screeches his words out wickedly, “cover it with gas and set it on fire” while the Hendrixesque guitar riffs and cowbell give this song an LSD twinge. You know, kind of groovy yet freaky at the same time. You don’t know if you should really be rocking out to this song, but it’s got a great beat and you just can’t help yourself. The guys use their voices to express more than just the words they have written; they can use them as other instruments. Other fan favorites such as “You Fucked Up” and “Nan” are here along with “Captain Fantasy” that sounds like a twisted Queen symphony. This song was also caught live on the DVD.
For Ween being anti-pop culture musicians was about getting their ideas out there and having fun doing it. And having fun on stage for Dean and Gene means a fun show for the now hundreds of thousands of Boognish worshipers around the world that appear at Ween shows. You can hear this in the CD. The audience in the background, small then compared to the crowds they get now, is enjoying not only the music, but also the interaction with the guys. The liner notes by Dean lay out a base of what they faced on stage every night before the band was as known as they are today. The true Ween fans will understand this because this is one of those bands that you either get or you don’t.
Disc two presents many of the same songs from the first. From their performance in Vera, we get: “Captain Fantasy,” “You Fucked Up,” “Tick,” “Boing,” “Cover It with Gas and Set It on Fire,” and “Don’t Laugh (I Love You)” just to name a few, and while from the Staches show: “REGGAEJUNKIEJEW,” “Common Bitch,” and “Marble Tulip Juicy Tree.” There are seventeen live clips of the boys playing music that well documents the talent and power of Ween.
The energy they pour out to their audiences can be heard on the CD, but can be better seen on the DVD. The lighting at Vera drifts between blue and complete darkness at times where the lighting at Staches show how young the guys were when this was recorded. The sound is great and the video especially at Staches comes in clear. The two clips at the radio station are a fun little shot of the guys behind the scenes.
Yet if you really want the full Ween experience then one must bow down to the god Boognish and get a ticket and go to a show. If the economy is too tight right now or if Ween is not headed your way any time soon, then this two-disc set will have to hold you over till Boognish answers you offerings with an appearance by Ween.