George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic Saturday, May 31 Fillmore Auditorium Better than: getting up for the downstroke.
For years, George Clinton and P-Funk have been delivering marathon sets of uncut funk where four –hour shows seem to be the norm. While Saturday’s Fillmore shore was just under four hours, it really didn’t seem like it was that long. When you’re knee-deep in extended funk grooves, time really doesn’t matter.
Before Clinton eventually made his way to the stage, guitarist Garry Shider, wrapped up in his usual towel diaper, lead the P-Funk band through the some lengthy jams to get the crowd warmed up. A few song into the set, Michael “Clip” Payne, the band’s MC, said they weren’t gonna party like it was 1999, but more like it was 1979. Then the group launched into the “Bop Gun (Endangered Species).” During the song, Carlos "Sir Nose" McMurray guy slowly strutted on stage, seriously pimpin’ with his furry white pants, jacket, and a wide brimmed hat. More on him later.
Kendra Foster, sporting some mighty sexy thigh high stockings, took the spotlight for a tune before Shider and crew launched into “Cosmic Slop.” During the tune, the 67-year-old Clinton finally came out wearing an oversized hoodie, and when the bright lights shot onto the crowd, Clinton pushed back the hood, revealing his brightly colored dreads. Clinton’s vocals sounded a bit scratchy on the cut, but hey, the dude’s been doing this for a long time.
After “Get Off Your Ass and Jam,” and Clinton’s son Tracey rapped on “Yank My Doodle,” the band delivered a 1-2-3 punch with some super funky takes on the Parliament classics, “P-Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up),” “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucka)” and “Up for the Downstroke.”
Gene “Poo Poo” Anderson, looking a bit like Kid Creole decked out in a zoot suit, did an homage to James Brown with “The Payback.” By this time, the band might’ve been about three-quarters through its set, and finally changed drummers just before “Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow.” You have to give props to any drummer than can lay down the funk for close to three hours.
While the band delivered massive amounts of high-octane funk throughout the night, the showstopper of the night had to be the slower yet intense “Maggot Brain” with guitarist Ricky Rouse channeling Hendrix and the late Eddie Hazel, who played on the original studio version. Rouse kept digging deeper and deeper into his solo, almost like he was trying to one-up himself every four bars or so. Rouse, who’s a fairly new addition to the P-Funk crew, definitely has mad chops that are on par with other outstanding guitarists that have come through the band like Blackbyrd McKnight and Michael Hampton.
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Then just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, they kicked off “One Nation Under a Groove” followed by “Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop)” with Sir Nose making yet another appearance. The previous times he’d come out, he’d just stand around, posing and whatnot. But once the band dug into “Flash Light,” Sir Nose just what he was capable of. Dude not only knew some slick dance moves, but he was also the nimble contortionist. Near the end of the “Flash Light,” trumpeter Bennie Cowan and alto saxophonist Greg Thomas quoted Eddie Harris’s “Freedom Jazz Dance,” which worked wonderfully over the funk groove.
Near the end of the show, a few people trickled out, but they really should have stuck it out for, “Atomic Dog,” which was the ideal way to round out the show. Some gal hopped up on stage and she was shaking everything she had, gyrating against Clinton, and getting freaky with Sir Nose. Then a bunch of other girls got on stage and it turned into dirty dancing orgy or sorts. As Clinton said during the show, “Funk not only moves, it can re-move, dig?” It definitely got these girls dancing while removing a few inhibitions.
Personal Bias: George Clinton = Funk God Random Detail: While most of people on the floor of the Fillmore were enthusiastic, not a lot of them seemed to be dancing, which seemed a bit odd. By the Way: At one point in the show, Sir Nose held up a “Fuck George” sign.