Paying Respects to President Clinton – Review of George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic at House of Blues Boston

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic
House of Blues Boston, Kenmore Square, 02/18/11

This was a pilgrimage of sorts. P-Funk may never truly die, but the founding members will – and George Clinton’s time to move on is hopefully far, far away – but his days as a troubadour most certainly are waning down. Just last year guitarist Garry “Diaper Man” Shider passed on, and I just don’t see George doing this much longer. This all said, I’m sure this same sentiment was written over a decade ago, so what do I know. Maybe George was there standing right next to Robert Johnson at that crossroad near Dockery Plantation as the clock struck midnight all those years ago, and made a deal of his own.

P-Funk Alien. (Photo - D. Hixon)

P-Funk Alien. (Photo – D. Hixon)

What I do know is that his visible role in these shows is drastically cut back, so much so that you can’t even tell who or where he is on stage until it’s explicitly pointed out. Parliament Funkadelic’s in good hands though, but there’s definitely been a changing of the guard. While Clinton’s still the figurehead, democracy rules from within the group, and songs played were much more diverse then I imagined. There were R&B ballads, Funk classics, Rap, and blazing guitar solos spread throughout the night, each met with an amiable reception from the masses, as upwards of 30 members of P-Funk assaulted the stage. The crowd was an equal mix of old and young, black and white, hip and square, stoned and strait. Good people through and true.

Strength in numbers. P-Funk @ House of Blues Boston. (Photo - D. Hixon)

Strength in numbers. P-Funk @ House of Blues Boston. (Photo – D. Hixon)

I liken this incarnation of P-Funk to kind of what the Harlem Globetrotters have become. They’re more entertainers than artists, and they’re there to make you happy, not to make a statement. Parliment has interchangeable parts that will give them the longevity and name recognition any good brand would want, and P-Funk most certainly will roll on when George is past. It’s become a traveling circus that has an old-time vaudeville quality, and all members bring a hefty amount of talent to the table, and the paying patrons seem to leave with a satisfied palette. P-Funk isn’t dead yet, and from the looks of it last Friday night, it never will be.

D. Hixon

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