I knew I was at a Ween concert because I simultaneously lost my beanie and my shoe. I knew I was in Girdwood because people helped me get both of them back.
Out-of-control enthusiasm coupled with an overwhelming sense of community epitomized the Oct. 8 sold-out show at the Alyeska Daylodge. These emotions, mixed with a few billion f-bombs, rampant audience drug use and lighthearted tunes such as “Help Me Scrape the Mucus Off My Brain” and “AIDS/HIV,” completed the recipe for a unique and boisterous experience.
Dean and Gene Ween were in top form, showcasing the eclectic tastes and talents that have won the duo an impressive cult following. Peering through the pot smoke at the audience, I saw every person singing, “You can wash my balls with a warm, wet rag” perfectly in time with the band. They’re definitely cult followers.
“I went to both of their shows here last year and this one was definitely the best,” said 23-year-old Kaime, who has dropped her last name from her identity. “But, then again, mushrooms make everything seem better.”
Kaime’s opinion was not that of the minority. Most show-goers appeared to be heavily intoxicated. I was offered an arsenal of illegal drugs, from marijuana to mescaline, during the course of the three-hour concert. Plus, nearly everyone was drinking. While most concerts sell Bud Light for five bucks a pop, Alyeska hawked Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Black Butte Porter. Only in Girdwood does the beer vendor sell microbrews.
Good beer wasn’t the only thing that separated Friday’s concert from typical performances. There was also an abnormal sense of kinship that existed between audience members. In the mosh pit area near the stage, dancing got characteristically rough. But unlike most concerts, when people fell, everyone immediately moved to help them up and ensure their safety.
“I really liked the fact that the security guards weren’t evil,” said University of Alaska Fairbanks student Adam Wood. “When crowd-surfers were pushed onto the stage, they didn’t rough them up or act cruel. You could tell they were having fun, too.”
It is beautiful that a band that dabbles in every genre, a band as diverse as it is strange, does such a wonderful job of extending its cohesiveness beyond its compositions. Ween takes a roomful of diverse and weird people and for three hours makes them feel like they somehow fit together.
Ween loves Girdwood and they’ll be back. Then you can lose your hat and someone you don’t know will help you get it back.