George Clinton is not the hardest-working man in showbiz. He just has the best time. Now 67, touring House of Blues-size venues and no longer landing on stage in a spaceship, he doesn’t really need to anymore. Last night in Detroit, he ambled onto stage about an hour into the show, after “Funkentelechy” and “Bop Gun” and still tore the roof off the sucker.
After all, he invented this music — the long, freeform, improvisational funk/rock/blues/whatEVuh party jam that never quite stops. P-Funk went for three hours last night, and that was taking it easy; the Boston show last week went for four. At one point I counted four guitarists, two drummers, two bassists, two keyboards, about six chick singers (although they kept changing), four or five soloists of various genres — rappers, R&B, a Tina Turner clone — along with a horn section and the dancing-pimp guy, Carlos McMurray, and some people from the audience. Clinton doesn’t really sing, and doesn’t play any instruments; he just ambles around the stage like a psychedelic Santa Claus, directing the band and asking for applause and being his funktastic self. The show concluded with a bassist’s father, a skinny old white guy from Flint, singing a hillbilly a capella version of “A Change is Gonna Come.” And it felt entirely in keeping with the spirit of the evening.
The crowd was just as amusing. The woman standing next to me for much of the evening was either a stripper, or just looked like one — D-cup implants, rhinestone grillz, just your average Detroit girl. A woman in front looked like a grandmother, gray hair in a comfy tracksuit. The guys behind us were smoking dope with a vengeance (“Does this offend you in any way?” one politely asked Alan) through much of the “I Got a Thang” singalong.
(The stripper is writing on her blog right now: “Since when did they start letting all these soccer moms in?”)
The rest of the night? Magic. For a while the bouncers had the outside doors open, to cool the place off, I guess. I can only imagine what the neighbors in Royal Oak must have thought
Anyway, this is why I’m late getting started today. I was supercalifunkitastic last night, and my ears are still ringing.
I’m so mellow today I don’t even care who the new attorney general is. Someone do some research and tell me what I need to know.
More links coming later. After I rehydrate with coffee.
OK, one link: They tore down Slumpy on Saturday. Another Detroit tragedy.
OK, one more: George Clinton, interviewed by UBM.