Thursday, February 26, 2009
George Clinton at long last
I've wanted to see George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic for as long as I've know who George Clinton was, and that's going back awfully far. He used to play in Providence almost annually, or it seemed that way at the time anyway, but I somehow never made it to a show until last night. Last night's show was George Clinton & The P-Funk All-Stars at the brand-spanking new House of Blues in Boston.
First off, I'm a fan of everything about the House of Blues in the first place, but I had never actually been to one until last night, and the club completely met my expectations. I really like it there. It's small enough to have a nice, clubby feel to it, but big enough to hold a pretty good crowd, and I'm not sure there's a bad "seat" in the house. The only actual seats are along the first balcony in front and in the upper balcony. We never went upstairs, though.
Now, the show itself. It was fabulous. There's a line in the Jimmy Buffett song Manana that says "Don't try to describe a Kiss concert if you've never seen it," and I've been reminded of that line a lot today when people have asked me how last night's show was. There is nothing I've ever seen that is quite like a P-Funk show. Watching George Clinton & P-Funk live is like watching a ringmaster with his circus. No joke. I don't think there's ever fewer than 12 people on stage, though which people they are is constantly changing, and at one point I actually counted and there were over 20 people on stage. George himself is like a conductor, and he is somehow able to make the audience a part of his band. With all those people, they are able to be so tight and so on, all the time, it's amazing. I think there were 7 or 8 guitars, including bass, two sets of keyboards and synthesizers, about a million singers, and George in the middle of it all. I've said it before, and I think it bears repeating here: I'm attracted to a lot of the music that I like because of the complexity - I like music with some depth, and I'm not sure it gets much more complex than the sound that P-Funk puts out. I danced my face off, and I can't wait to see them again. And again. And again.
House of Blues, apparently, closes at 1:00. When 1:00 rolled around last night, though, George wasn't done. In fact, he was in the middle of a song when a little after 1:00 the house lights came on and the mics and amps were unplugged. House of Blues unplugged P-Funk. Having never been to a P-Funk show before, I don't know how common this is for them, but everybody on that stage looked pretty shocked when it happened. So they started the crowd chanting "ain't no party like a P-Funk party, cause a P-Funk party don't stop," which after a while led into the crowd singing along to "We Want the Funk," and "Shit, hot damn, get off ya ass and jam." Needless to say, no one left the stage, and the crowd continued dancing until around 1:30 when we finally left. George and a lot of others were still on stage when we left, and the crowd was just starting to dissolve. It potentially went on for a while longer than that. So it was a really late night, but so, so worth it. I had so much fun. Here's a link to PrefixMag's pictures from last night's show.
The opener was a band called Spiritual Rez, and they absolutely kicked ass. But that's another post.