If you haven’t experienced George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic live, you’ve missed out on an incredible experience. This latest tour is reportedly Clinton’s last before he retires, and let me just say, the man can still funk after all these years.
Clinton and his crew landed the mothership at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis on July 17 to a sold-out crowd. The audience came ready to pay tribute to and get down with the legendary funkateer one last time.
The event kicked off with the Alex Rossi Quartet, a unique R&B outfit that broke the mold and all expectations. They did an amazing job entertaining the crowd with their bluesy, southern-fried funk and rap-infused lyrics. Overall, they were a great teaser for the main course.
In a nice twist, rather than a second opener, Rossi returned to the stage with Clinton. The second those iconic beats dropped, we knew it was time to “get up for the downstroke.”
If you don’t know Clinton’s story, I suggest you check out his Unsung episode on BET. I learned a lot about this incredible funk pioneer: Did you know he is only the hype man for the band, or as they called him back in the day, the bandleader? He is also a songwriter and producer, of course, but he doesn’t sing — he simply entertains.
I have heard folks jokingly say, “Black people love George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic like White people love the Rolling Stones.” But given Minnesota’s makeup, the crowd at the Varsity was noticeably mixed with White concertgoers making up the majority. Just goes to show, even in this crazy day and age, funk still brings folks together.
The concert had amazing energy with everyone in their element enjoying such classics as “Flashlight” and “Atomic Dog.” It didn’t matter if some danced offbeat or sang offkey — we were one nation under a groove, thanks to the funk.
Although the 77-year-old Clinton, after a 50-plus career, is pulling the curtain on road shows, Parliament-Funkadelic will presumably continue to tour and Clinton’s immeasurable influence will live on. “Truth be told,” Clinton told Billboard, “It’s never really been about me. It’s always been about the music and the band. That’s the real P-Funk legacy. They’ll still be funkin’ long after I stop.” And so will we.
Thank you, George Clinton.
For more George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic, go to https://georgeclinton.com.
To check out the music of the Alex Rossi Quartet, go to https://alexrossimusic.com/home.
Nikki Love is a contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.