In just a single night, a man can experience an entire lifetime. This sentiment seems to perfectly encapsulate George Clinton’s remarkable journey over the past six decades. Touring the world countless times, he has shared his infectious grooves with audiences far and wide. From his modest doo-wap beginnings to earning the title “Father of Funk,” George Clinton’s existence has been synonymous with the stage. However, this chapter is drawing to a close, as he graced The Paramount Theatre with a final performance on his nationwide farewell tour.
Despite being 82 years old, George Clinton’s energy showed no sign of slowing down as he sang, danced, and grooved alongside his band, the Parliament Funkadelic. Functioning as both a lead singer and a dynamic band leader, he guided the ensemble through a setlist that could have easily constituted a greatest hits compilation. The evening kicked off with the aptly chosen track from 1975, “Get Off Your Ass and Jam.” And indeed, that’s precisely what he did. Donning a captain’s hat and a resplendent sequined coat, he jammed harmoniously with the band, whose members were often half his age.
The night pressed on, delivering iconic hits like “One Nation Under Groove,” “Flashlight,” and, naturally, “Give Up the Funk.” The performance was punctuated by spirited renditions of “Atomic Dog” and the soulful “Maggot Brain.” Throughout the night, George Clinton encouraged various members of his entourage to embark on solo improvisations. This not only showcased the individual talents of these artists but also offered the audience a glimpse into the forthcoming generation of musicians. The only thing that could have enhanced the evening was the legendary Mothership, a psychedelic, smoke-filled silver spaceship that featured prominently during ’70’s era shows. While it might not have been part of this evening, it’s well preserved, like Clinton’s timeless music as part of the Smithsonian’s permanent collection.
The show concluded, seamlessly weaving itself into the rich tapestry of George Clinton’s extensive and storied history. As he embarks on his retirement from touring, his absence will undoubtedly be deeply felt and missed
George Clinton @ the Paramount Theatre – all photos by Alex Crick