Who: George Clinton
What: Thursday, May 25
Where: MotorCity Casino's Sound Board
George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic were consistent with their own lyrics and pretty much “tore the roof off the sucker” known as the Sound Board Theater during their headliner performance in the Motor City on Thursday, May 25.
Following a year of major milestones such as his 75th birthday and the “P-Funk Mothership,” — also known as the “Holy Mothership” — stage prop becoming a permanent display in the “Musical Crossroads” section of the highly acclaimed new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C., Clinton chose Motown as one of the places he’d throw a kick-ass concert to celebrate.
And boy was the old-school music crowd grateful he did.
Bassist and vocalist Nik West served as the appetizer to the main event, providing a funky warm-up to the main meal of Clinton. Her roughly hour-long set featured some of her own songs, a supporting band with shiny, futuristic outfits and a shirtless drummer, and ended with her giving a typically screamy rock ‘n' roll ending laying on the stage’s floor with glaring guitar sounds riffling in the background.
She killed it, not surprising, considering she was bass player for the late king of concerts, Prince.
During the roughly 15 minute break between sets, the crowd eagerly waited for the P-Funk master Clinton to give them the funk. He delivered; they reveled in it.
“Atomic Dog” was the first showstopper of his two-hour performance, to the delight of the nostalgic crowd who demonstrated that they could still “Do the Dog Catcher,” a knee-bent, butt grinding move for his still-young-in spirit fans.
The audience of a few hundred or so lost their minds (and seats) as soon as the up-tempo “Flashlight” instrumental dropped. Fans, who were reaching a funky frenzy by that time, poured their heart, soul, and lungs into singing the chorus and lyrics.
The groove didn’t climax when the musical flashlights were put away. “(Not Just) Knee Deep,” “One Nation Under a Groove,” and “Dr.Funkenstien” kept the audience reminiscing and rocking. At times, Clinton laid back to let his Funkadelic band partners flex their guitar, dancing, electronic piano, and trumpet talents.
The only cool-off the audience of OG 40 and over listeners received was during Clinton’s nonchalant, but somewhat karaoke-style delivery of the opening lines of “P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up).”
Clinton’s P-Funk band gave the love they received back to the crowd, often saluting the vibrant midweek partygoers and being generous enough to offer hi-fives and even selfies to audience members who were close enough to the lit-up stage.
Clinton played as many songs as he could from his five-decade catalog, yet another reminder of why his so-called Afrofuturistic music was deemed worthy of the historical significance that landed his time-to-move-on ceiling-descending mothership from his concert stages of the past into the African American museum along with other relics of the creation of a culture.
When the overhead lights came on in the Sound Board Theater to the thank you shout-outs from captain Clinton and the crew, the passengers gathered their belongings and their memories and departed. Until the next journey, keep the funk alive.