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Taken from azcentral (Aug 18, 2019)

George Clinton doesn't seem ready to give up the funk on P-Funk farewell tour

by Ed Masley, Arizona Republic


George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic - Farewell Tour Phoenix 2019. PhotoCredit: Ralph Freso/Special for Arizona Republic
George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic perform during their One Nation Under A Groove Tour at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. PhotoCredit: Ralph Freso/Special for Arizona Republic


George Clinton did not seem at all like a man on the verge of retiring from the road as he gave up the funk with the latest edition of Parliament-Funkadelic Saturday night in Phoenix, rocking the rotating stage of a festive Celebrity Theatre.


Yes, he sat down on occasion. He's 78. But even then, you could tell he was fully invested in the performance, coaxing applause with that contagious grin of his for DeWayne "Blackbyrd" McKnight as the longtime fixture of the P-Funk universe tore it up on the epic guitar lead that was "Maggot Brain."


And for most of the concert, he was every bit as animated as he's been in years, getting into the groove while surrounded by longtime members of the P-Funk All-Stars and new blood, including a few of his grandkids, on a stage that was crowded at times with more than 15 singers and musicians. (It's hard to get a true count when that many bodies are throwing themselves into the music and the stage itself is spinning).


The funk legend playfully flirted with women in the audience, many of whom were brought on that already-crowded stage as P-Funk took the party atmosphere to the next level, following "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)" and "Mama Told Me," (a straight-up hip-hop highlight of Parliament's "Medicaid Fraud Dog") with "Atomic Dog."


The man was clearly having too much fun to say goodbye.


After setting the tone with the stoner-rock groove of a very psychedelic "Dog Star (Fly On)," they made their way through many P-Funk staples, from "Get Off Your Ass and Jam" to "Standing on the Verge of Getting It On," "I Got a Thing, You Got a Thing," "Everybody's Got a Thing," "One Nation Under a Groove," "Flash Light" and "(Not Just) Knee Deep."


Through it all, he shared the spotlight with the other members of his latest edition of Parliament-Funkadelic. When I spoke to Clinton, he said he plans to have those other members carry on the legacy without him when this farewell tour is over. And it's pretty clear that they could bring these songs to very funky life in Clinton's absence. But it wouldn't be the same. The day George Clinton comes in off the road is the end of an era - not just for funk but for popular music in general.


In the meantime, his farewell tour feels like a victory lap for a man who truly revolutionized the culture. Funkadelic isn't just a band name; it's a blueprint for blurring the lines between genres and bringing the people together as one nation under a groove.


And it's a mission statement Clinton still believes, no matter how divided that nation seems to be as the One Nation Under a Groove Tour makes its way from state to state.


George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic - Farewell Tour Phoenix 2019. PhotoCredit: Ralph Freso/Special for Arizona Republic
George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic perform during their One Nation Under A Groove Tour at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. PhotoCredit: Ralph Freso/Special for Arizona Republic


"I really do believe it because when the love is spread, it's contagious," he told me. "And it's been like funky church lately - people just having fun, letting go and dancing, no regrets and do the best you can and funk it."


It felt like funky church in Phoenix long before they even made to the chorus of "One Nation Under a Groove." You could see it in the smiles on people's faces as they shouted along to chorus of "Get Off Your Ass and Jam" at the top of the set.


And it didn't hurt that the bill was stacked with warm-up acts that truly warmed the P-Funk faithful up - from the electrifying, genre-mashing caffeine rush of Fishbone, led by the outrageous antics of Angelo Moore on vocals, theremin and a variety of saxophones, to Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, whose stellar chops were put to brilliant use on their heavy-grooving brand of jazz-inflected funk, complete with two five-string bassists.


Miss Velvet and the Blue Wolf got the party started with a set of funky rock that definitely made the most of the leather-clad lead-singer's vocal presence, a bluesy wail that clearly echoes Janis Joplin with a bit more swagger.



 
 

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