All Request Live (Ween's web site)
By: Brad Halverson
Let's face it. If you're part of the target demographic of this for-the-fans internet only release from Ween (i.e., you frequently use the word "brown" to music, and kneel at the altar of boognish), you probably already have it. And there's no reason you shouldn't as All Request Live (far and away the most boring Ween album title ever) is exactly what one of these fans only sets should be. Not only does it celebrate the stranger aspects of the band's varied career, it does so in a heartily unique way.
First off, this isn't a traditional live release at all. In fact there isn't even an audience here, unless you count the hardcore folks that listened to the show over Ween's Internet radio thing. Instead, this show was recorded live in the studio with gives the whole affair a feeling similar to the first few Ween albums. Surprisingly though, the production here is quite a bit more polished than on the band's early albums, something that's particularly apparent on the songs taken from the band's weird, scotch guard fueled, home made second album "The Pod". Even beyond the production, some of the performances improve on the originals. "Pollo Asado" in particular mimics the original almost exactly, except that the guys seem to have the comic timing thing more nailed down this time around.
Speaking of the band's early work, I hope you like it, because that's largely what you're getting here. Especially when the diehard Weeners (I assume that's what they call themselves) who actually requested these songs seem to prefer the band's pre "Chocolate and Cheese" work. This is fine, since the band has been consistent from the beginning, but anybody who prefers Ween's more polished later work may feel a little left out here as there are only a few representatives from that era. Especially of note is the beautiful (and heartfelt) "Stay Forever" which doesn't fit in at all with the rest of this stuff, but it retains every ounce of awesome-ness nonetheless. No matter what though, you'll end up quibbling with some of the track selections here, if not for the over-representation of tracks from "The Pod" then you'll probably whine over how there's none taken from "The Oneness" or "Chocolate Cheese" and only one from the band's masterpiece, "The Mollusk". But hell it's not like I can complain since these tracks were chosen by the fans and I didn't bother voting. Let this be a lesson kids, democracy only works when you participate in the process so get out their and rock the vote and whatnot.
The album ends with a hilarious expansion of "Where'd the Cheese Go" a song that Gene and Dene originally put together as a Pizza Hut commercial. It was rejected several times (needlessly, as the original was great as a catchy little jingle) so the boys turned it into the profanity laden track you see here today. It's an especially appropriate way to end the collection because it totally captures the spirit of Ween's music. Honestly it's just great to hear people have this much fun making music. That spirit is what's made this band's music succeed so consistently throughout the years. Even when it gives you a headache, Ween's music is consistently entertaining and intriguing in all the best ways. You don't need this if you're not a fan, but if you've already been converted to the ways of the boognish, you'll have a great time with this.