Kansas City Star
By Joel Francis
The list of 64-year-olds who can get away with rainbow-colored hair is a short one. Here’s an even shorter list: people soon to qualify for Social Security who can bring the heavy funk.
First on that list: George Clinton, who brought his band Parliament-Funkadelic before a near-capacity crown at the Beaumont Club on Friday night.
The show started with a keyboard solo from longtime Clinton cohort and fellow legend Bernie Worrell. From the beginning, the band show why many of Clinton’s tunes had so much influence but such little chart success. Songs like “One Nation Under a Groove” and “Bop Gun” got big cheers of recognition from the crowd and most ran well over 10 minutes.
Clinton didn’t appear onstage until an hour into the set, his multicolored locks covered by an all-white Philadelphia Phillies cap.
He slowly crept onstage, but as the set progressed he gained energy and his voice grew stronger. By the end of the back-to-back 20 minute jams of “Aqua Boogie” and “Flashlight,” he appeared invincible.
Throughout the show, the floor in front of the stage was a sea of hands, waving high in the air. Many of those bore a black “X” – too young to drink – a sign that Clinton and his troupe of two dozen performers are still attracting a younger crowd.
They weren’t disappointed. During the 3 _-hour set, Clinton and company interspersed their own hits with favorites from the backing singers, including a rap from Clinton’s granddaughter and covers of James Brown’s “Big Payback” and Genesis’ “That’s All.”
When “Atomic Dog” started up three hours into the show, it seemed like the perfect closer. Instead, Clinton followed that by launching into “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and a Little Richard medley. It was a perfect twist: After demonstrating why his music continues to influence the hip-hop generation, Clinton turned to the music that influenced him.
It could have ended there, but it didn’t. As Clinton and most of the band left the stage, a few stuck around and kept jamming. When they put down their instruments, roadies immediately started tearing down the stage, but the band members stayed out front, leading the audience in chanting, “We want the funk.”
By that point, anyone who didn’t have it already was never going to get it.