In what may be one of the best shows I’ve been to, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic demonstrated that even after nearly 40 years of bringing the funk they can still pack a venue.
It was pretty much non-stop dancing for the 2 and a half hours they played for. Despite a late start to the show, and some terrible mic problems halfway through, Parliament never failed to energize the crowd.
This was another situation where I was sandwiched between a young idiot kid wearing some sort of court jester hat and a grown man in a suit hanging out with his wife. The crowd was unbelievably diverse in some ways, and also predominantly rich and white in others.
They also knew exactly how to please the crowd. Garry Shider, most famous for wearing a diaper (and that is all) on stage, is still a killer vocalist. He really carried the show for that first half hour before George made his appearance.
George rolled on stage in a skull hoodie that was fully zipped up. He slowly unzipped it to show off that intense multi-coloured hairdo of his, and the crowd went absolutely wild.
They eased their way through some of their older songs before really pumping up the energy by going through We Want the Funk and Up for the Downstroke back to back. They did not end up doing One Nation Under a Groove to my utter dismay. I think it’s one of their better tracks, but check out the video below and let me know.
That was more than most people could handle, I think. I had never seen so many middle aged people screaming their lungs out and cheering. It was like the last time Ikea had a boxing day sale.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/emangrooving/ has some pretty amazing photos from the show, including the one you can see in this post. He did a really good job of capturing some of the magic of Parliament.
Still, despite how great the show was (there was probably collectively 500 years of funk on that stage at any given time), I really want to call attention to Kendra Foster. Ostensibly a backup singer, at least for most of the show, she was unbelievable. She and the other two backup singers were fireballs of energy, and never stopped moving and dancing. It was really nice to see a little bit of youth on that stage too, because for them it must be such an amazing experience to work with such icons of funk.
This R&B singer out of Tallahasse was allowed to finally sing lead on a song near the end. The track, Bounce to This, was done originally by Belita Woods and now appears to have been hijacked by her younger counterpart. Check out the video below to see her in action. This isn’t from the show I was at, but it’s the best I could find. I think the version at my show was at least 50 times better:
If you don’t own at least one Parliament Funkadelic record yet, go purchase one immediately. I mean now.