Category Archives: George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic
On Sunday 5/4/14, the Mothership landed in Bakersfield. George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic brought their other-worldly and ultra funky party to the Central Valley. I took my mom to this show for her birthday. My brother the sax player came along as well. I was amazed at the diversity of the audience. Fans from all walks of life, all shapes and sizes, and all shades of the rainbow were represented. I wrongly assumed that the house would be full of throwbacks from 1970s, but this wasn’t the case at all. And there was so much happening on that stage, it was hard to keep track of who was doing what, and every musician onstage seemed to be pulling off one amazing part after another, whether it be vocal acrobatics or technical and soulful wizardry on the horns, keys and guitars. There had to have been 16 or so musicians onstage, and George commanded them like some sort of genius-like conductor or musical director. When I think of George Clinton I can’t help but put him in the same league as Frank Zappa – eccentric, prodigy-like freaks who crafted pieces of timeless art. They were like mad scientists, and their musicians had to be at the top of their game, easily weaving in and out of multiple styles, you’d think they were super human.
Those who hadn’t stayed on top of recent events were in for a big surprise. Gone were the multicolored dread locks and tie dye t-shirts. George was now sporting fly suits on this tour, looking very slick and dare I say, pimp-like (classic pimp that is). One of the vocalists said something along the lines of “I see several bewildered faces in the audience tonight and you’re probably wondering, where’s George? Ladies and gentleman, THIS is George,” as he points over the grinning master mind, Dr. George Clinton. The crowd cheered and the show continued. Even in his 70s, the man still has that passion for performing and giving the crowd their money’s worth. The house was at best two thirds full, but that didn’t affect the quality of the group’s performance. I was disappointed that the turnout wasn’t greater. There’s a big audience in the valley for all things funk and R&B, so it greatly surprised me that the venue wasn’t packed tonight. Now that I think about it, advertising and promotion for this show was minimal, and I believe this date was a last minute addition. Regardless, there was plenty of energy in the building but it would have been cool to see a packed house.
Stand out performers this night included the amazing Ricky Rouse on lead guitar. He was wearing the black bandana. He tore it up on that guitar, playing some searing leads and he possessed a ton of showmanship. He even played parts behind his neck! Garrett Shider was also on guitar and the man had some serious chops as well. Danny Bedrossian was one of two keyboard players, however he had most of the flashy lead parts. Lige Curry played bass on this tour. Benzel Cowan was one of three drummers utilized and each of the guys along with Lige laid down a solid, funkafied foundation. Bennie Cowan was the big guy on trumpet and Greg Thomas was their sick sax player and each player added this amazing color and showmanship to the songs. The horns give this music an upbeat, celebratory and regal edge. Kendra Foster was one of several vocalists and she had to be the most spirited singer onstage. George gave each performer their due as each player was allotted a showcase or a solo. Each musician was a master at their respective instrument. And of course, who could forget Sir Nose, who added some of that P-Funk flair and showmanship from the old days. My mom comically said “that man needs to eat more” lol. The set was seamless, free of any kind of technical or performance issues. The selection of the night for me had to be “One Nation Under a Groove” with it’s reworked and mellow, ballad like intro. And some of you will want to kick my ass, but I absolutely cannot stand “Atomic Dog,” screw that song. But everything else this night was awesome! I’m very glad I got to take my mom to this show, she had a blast and she really enjoyed the set. Songs performed this night included:
Get Up For the Downstroke
P-Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up)
Give Up the Funk
One Nation Under a Groove
Bitchin write up of the San Francisco gig over at riquespeaks : http://riquespeaks.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/p-funk-is-hot-go-see-em-a-merry-go-round-concert-review-george-clinton-and-parliament-funkadelic-51014-yoshis-san-francisco/