Hi 79 / Lo 65
|Volume 68, Issue 46,
Tuesday, October 29, 2002
Arts & Entertainment
Legendary Clinton, all-stars keep the funk party rolling
By Andrew Fritsch
Though the Mothership didnit land on Verizon Wireless Theateris stage Saturday night, Dr. Funkenstein made a house call, and his five-hour operation was a certain cure for anyone who hadnit been funked lately.
Dr. Funkenstein — a.k.a. George Clinton — said in an interview Thursday that he was bringing one the best Parliament/Funkadelic all-star groups in recent years to Saturdayis concert, and they didnit disappoint.
The first two hours of the show featured the band minus Clinton performing P-Funk standards and more obscure material that, while well- received by the audience, only true fans would have recognized.
George Clinton led his legendary Parliament/Funkadelic family through a non-stop performance Saturday at the Verizon Wireless Theater.
When Clinton finally made his appearance around 9:30 p.m., the concert really started with a searing version of "The Cosmic Slop" that began with feedback and distorted wails from Michael Hamptonis guitar and brought the audience to its collective feet, which it never left. Even if the music had failed to appeal, the on-stage spectacle of musicians, singers and dancers was enough to keep anyone interested, and has been since the 1970s.
Also, the performers donned funky outfits that are Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic trademarks. Clintonis hair, which has always been interesting, was a multi-colored mélange of braids, strands and plums that swayed with the music. Aside from people wearing fuzzy, wide-brimmed hats and Orient-inspired clothes, a diaper-clad guitarist/vocalist paraded around asking the audience for "a witness."
While performing, Clinton was the spark, but he never hogged the spotlight, allowing other members to showcase their talents. He kept it simple, whether singing, thumping on his microphone or cueing the band. Clinton was a musical force on stage and off.
Thatis what makes Clintonis influence on the music world so interesting. Yes, heis a talented singer, but more importantly, he created a funk universe with itis own characters, like Sir Nose (who appeared Saturday) and Lolly-Pop Man. Based on extra-terrestrial themes, they portray a universal love that has endured more than 30 years, 20 of which with little or no promotion.
"In 1977 we finally knew it was our job to bring the funk to the universe. And funk is at the center of everything, hip-hop and even alternative," Clinton said.
An eclectic fan-base has developed over the years because they are drawn to the unique sound and energy of P-Funk. Even the performers seem to be affected as much as the audience.
"Funk is the bridge that keeps this whole thing together," Clinton said, commenting on his ability to keep the funk empire going. "I just found the people to play it."
His humility and love of funk are shared with to the rest of the band. Even after a five-hour performance, they were more than willing to sign autographs and talk to fans. As Clinton said, itis like a family.
Itis a family that likes to party, and they did it even after Verizon theater management turned off the PA system. The concertis best moments occurred after the house lights had gone up and some of the crowd had left.
Hampton played "Maggot Brain," a psychedelic guitar solo master piece that was first released in 1971, for nearly 20 minutes, and every note and phrase kept the audience in rapt attention. Indeed, good musicianship is still appreciated.
The last song, "God Damn, Get Off Your Ass and Jam," featured the audience on vocals because the PA had been turned off, so the microphones didnit work. But that didnit stop the American music icon. It was like Clinton and his all-stars chanted from the stage, "Ainit no party like a P-Funk party cuz a P-Funk party donit stop."
We hope it never does.
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