Taken from Shepherd Express (Feb 06, 2018)
George Clinton Kept the Momentum Going at Parliament Funkadelic’s Cosmic Pabst Theater Concert
by Blaine Schultz
Photo credit: Melissa Miller
Time has a way of standing still at a George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic concert.
Clinton once said that the first two hours of a show are for the hits, the next two hours for the hardcore fans and anything beyond that is where the real magic happens. Although his latest return to Milwaukee was not the four-plus hour marathon he directed in 1999 at the Eagles Club, it’s fair to cut the septuagenarian some slack. Friday night at the Pabst Theater, Clinton and his group turned an elegant house of opera into a palace of funk.
At any given time, the stage was crowded with up to 16 performers, not to mention camera folks documenting the event. In the midst of it all Clinton sang, directed traffic, clowned and took it all in like the Orson Welles of funk.
Segueing an opening jam into “Cosmic Slop,” the vocalists wailed with such feeling they would have been at home a few blocks away at the Turner Hall Ballroom’s Gospel Jubilee. The main floor was a dance party where African American elders bopped with bearded dudes in flannel shirts. This was no real surprise. Clinton has always had a way of transforming things. Six decades ago he formed a doo-wop group that splintered into two bands, a black rock group that borrowed Deep Purple’s amplifiers and an R&B outfit that came from outer space.
This was a night of solid momentum. “One Nation Under a Groove” introduced to the stage Sir Nose, a funk take on the de Bergerac character who climbed the speakers on the side of the stage and performed gymnastics while decked out in fur pants.
Clinton rode the evening’s ebb and flow like a master surfer. The dancefloor intensity peaked with “Flash Light” and “Freak of the Week,” and then the stage cleared for Blackbyrd McKnight and “Maggot Brain.” The epic guitar instrumental, originally performed by the late Eddie Hazel, began slowly with McKnight building a minor key gothic temple, as the band fell in to a wild shredding climax.
Generously sharing the spotlight with his fellow performers and balancing the set with classics as well as nods to hip-hop, Clinton’s arkestra offered it all. Giving up the funk and threatening to tear the roof off the joint, Clinton capped off the evening with a rollicking version of “Atomic Dog,” the tune that once again proved his relevance in the ’80s.