LIVE: George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic @ the Upstate Concert Hall, 11/28/15

December 29th, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg

Review by Steven Stock

George Clinton likens the latest iteration of P-Funk to a three-ring circus. And with at least 15 members crowding the Upstate Concert Hall stage at any one time, it’s an apt analogy. Clinton makes for a genial ringmaster, holding a cupped hand to his ear to coax more applause from the audience after a solo, initiating a round of (usually scatological) call-and-response, and every so often relaxing center stage, looking contented as his band lays down an irresistible groove.

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Inevitably much of the applause was for the band’s frontline: two guitarists, a two-piece horn section and a veritable phalanx of singers (including Clinton’s granddaughter Sativa). Frankly there were more vocalists present than any one band really needs, but this served to make the three-hour show resemble one of those early-’60s package tours, with fresh talent up every 20 minutes or so. Don’t like the rap stylings prominent on tracks from Clinton’s latest record First Ya Gotta Shake the Gate? Just wait a few minutes and someone will be crooning a sweet Parliaments single from 1967.

Not content with offering rhythm & blues, funk and rap, P-Funk also delivered a loud and long version of Funkadelic’s proto-metal classic “Maggot Brain,” with guitarists Ricky Rouse and longtime P-Funk stalwart DeWayne “Blackbyrd” McKnight effectively conjuring the ghost of Eddie Hazel.

The 74-year-old Clinton seemed to have more stamina than many in the audience, with the crowd thinning appreciably in the evening’s third hour, even as the band ripped into “Give Up the Funk,” “Alice in My Fantasies” and, of course, “Atomic Dog.” I don’t want to say that you’re a damn fool if you left this show early – perhaps you had to relieve the babysitter, or maybe your lady whispered something sweet into your ear after studying Sir Nose D’Voidoffunk too intently. But it was so much fun I gladly would have stayed another hour, very sweaty and very happy.

Jim Shahen Jr.’s review at The Times Union

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