There are not many performers around with a legacy comparable to George Clinton. His irresistible grooves and zany personality inspired generations of jazz and funk musicians to come. Though his heyday is long gone, the last couple of years have been kind to 76 year old. From signing to Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label to being included on Kendrick Lamar’s hip-hop-jazz odyssey To Pimp a Butterfly, Clinton has seen plenty of action as of late. This late-career reemergence would suggest that Clinton still feels as if he can make people dance. I am pleased to say that he was absolutely right.
From the very opening note of “One Nation Under Groove”, it was apparent that the audience was in for a fun time. The Parliament Funkadelic live band oozed of energy and musicianship as vocal inflections creatively staggered over each other. George Clinton, himself, was about as active on stage as you could have expected. Nonetheless, his charisma and voice cut through as strong as ever. On “Give Up The Funk”, the audience was able to immerse themselves in a truly legendary groove. The refrain of “we want the funk” is engrained in many people’s mind, so it was somewhat of a spiritual moment for many big fans of the funk genre. “Atomic Dog” also served as an iconic moment for many involved. The vocal ad-libs on that track felt as iconic as ever and ultimately created a very fun environment for the audience to be in.
At the end of the day, George Clinton may not be the most perfect performer, but at his age, you would never ask that of him. What is important is that at the ripe age of 76, he still radiates joy in his performances. His aura is infectious at this point and I think the many smiling faces in the crowd would agree with this sentiment.