I WAS THERE . . . George Clinton & the P-Funk All Stars @ B.B. King 10.23.08
George Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars
B.B. King Blues Club & Grill
October 23, 2008
After two short, forgettable opening acts and a nearly 40 minute wait, The P-Funk All Stars finally took the stage at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill last Thursday. Guitarist Gary “Starchild” Shider, an original member of Parliament-Funkadelic, began by shouting “Vote, it ain’t illegal yet.” The energy of the music shocked many people. It was a little unexpected to hear that vitality from these veteran musicians. But the theme that night was the unexpected. Shider quickly shook off his jacket and revealed his normal attire—practically nothing. Yes, this P-Funk legend is also affectionately known as “Diaper Man” and he lived up to the name once again.
George “Dr. Funkenstein” Clinton, the man we were all waiting to see, finally walked out on stage. He brought an already raucous crowd to its highest point as he playfully gestured to them. Although he was jovial, Clinton was there for business. With a slight turn of his hand, the musicians immediately began with “Cosmic Slop.” The P-Funk All Stars had the musical freedom to explore with trills and long solos, but Clinton made sure that chord structure and syncopation was kept in the music. He was an effortless conductor of these “funkateers” that night.
Singer Belita Woods brought down the excitement well with “The Girl is Bad.” She was pure rhythm and blues. Woods wore a beautiful floral dress—very surprising compared to what Shider was wearing that night. The quality of her voice was light yet gravel tinged and it brought an added seductiveness to the lyrics.
The funk continued with “Atomic Dog.” The rhythm of the guitar section, driven mainly by Shider, and Clinton’s musical direction was a lesson in music theory. These two “atomic dogs,” well into their sixties, didn’t have to run far to “chase the cats” as a gaggle of women dancers rushed the stage.
After 2 ½ hours, their show was cut short because of a later performance scheduled and the crowd continued to shout “We Want The Funk” for a good ten minutes. George Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars proved that night that music is and will always be the great unifier.