Make my funk the P-Funk, I want to get funked up! Oh, yeah! You can't say it any plainer than that. George Clinton and the P-Funk band just made history as they performed in San Francisco last week at the legendary Avalon Ballroom. That's right folks, you know it's true now. The notorious Avalon Ballroom has re-opened it's doors for what will hopefully be a longer stint than it's last run. The Avalon closed after hosting the biggest bands of the time including the Grateful Dead, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Steppenwolf and many more. It is one of the historic venues from an era gone by. It's comparable in size to the Fillmore, but has a much more roomy feel to it. There have only been fifteen, or so shows at the newly opened venue, but I assure you that things are in full swing. The P-Funk show was not completely sold out, which left the crowd ample room to dance in regal fashion. I started the night hanging out on one of the tour buses to touch base with an old friend of mine. After a little break from the road, I was off to the Fillmore to photograph George Thorogood. The distance between the two venues is only about three miles. It took me about fifteen minutes to get from the Avalon to the Fillmore, parking and all. To my joyful shock, while I'm standing at the will call waiting for my tix and photo pass, and lo and behold, Elvin Bishop comes walking up to get his passes for the show. Anyway, I got the photos and saw eleven Thorogood songs and headed back to the Avalon at light speed. I got back there in even less time, and to my pleasant surpise I head plenty of time to spare. I readied my gear and took a minute to relax, as the P-Funk band members started to come on stage.
They jammed a couple of songs and then George Clinton came out during the third song. He usually comes out during the third jam (which is usuallly "Cosmic Slop") so this was par for the course. "Something Stink and I Want Some" was one of the songs they played along with another funny song called "Viagravation." They did this amazing psychedelic jam that lasted at least twenty minutes just before "Downstroke." That was definitely the most climactic part of the evening, the jam was perfect. The crowd was all psyched up for "Bounce to This," and the band followed that up with "Free Your Mind (And Your Ass Will Follow)." George Clinton left the stage along with about fifteen other members of P-Funk while Michael "Kid" Funkadelic, another guitarist and a drummer stayed on the stage. They ripped out this song called "Maggot Brain" that rocked my world, it was my favorite part of the whole show. The song was completely instrumental and very reminiscient of Iron Maiden's first album. The wailing guitar licks sounded so much like Adrian Smith and Dave Murray that I was sure they were doing a Maiden cover of "Strange World." It didn't sound quite right, but very close to the same licks.
The P-Funk band has been stripped down over the last six months, with the major players from the last twenty plus years being left in the dust. Dewayne "Blackbyrd" McKnight, Cordell "Boogie" Mosson, and Michael "Clip" Payne were all missing from the lineup at this show. All told, at the hilt of the George Clinton and Parliament / Funkadelic existence there were twenty-five or more band members. There might have been that many performers on stage during this grand evening, and they all did their parts well enough, but they were replacing the veteran members of the Parliament Funkadelic band. Robert "P-Nut"Johnson and Joel "Razor Sharp" Johnson were also left out of the loop. These missing folks are the people that kept the Parliament Funkadelic shows going on when George Clinton took a "retirement" hiatus for awhile. However, the P-Funk must go on, and so it does. George Clinton was rocking the house and the stand-ins for the major players sounded pretty good. A few songs have been deleted from the normal P-Funk set list because the guitar parts, and, or vocal parts have not been played by the stand-ins, and probably never will be.
The conductor of a San Francisco funk rally "Dr Funkenstein" seemed happy with the results as he orchestrated the many players into the perfect jam most every song. The show was really good, they also played "Atomic Dawd" and "The Brides of Funkenstein" to mention just a few. The show ended at exactly 2:30 A.M. as I watched the house manager "Hoss" flip the lights on and everybody scrambled for the cover of the night. The stage and venue floor were vacated as patrons and players alike scattered from the lumens, eyes dilating in adjustment to the bright lights. In retrospect, I think the crowd was quite happy with the results after kicking down only twenty bucks for three and a half solid hours of music, I was too. Peace Out. A word to the hippies, come to the shows at the Avalon Ballroom whenever you can. This is a public service message from the venue promoters, "We want to continue having many great "hippie" shows here, but these shows need to start selling out." Thanks for reading and we'll see ya at the shows.
SCORPIONS AND WHITESNAKE AUDIOSLAVE DEREK TRUCKS BAND STRING CHEESE INCIDENT COUNTING CROWS DEF LEPPARD CHER THE OTHER ONES AEROSMITH TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS PAUL McCARTNEY SANTANA SHERYL CROW TESLA JAY-Z AND 311 OZZFEST
OZZFEST 2001 OZZFEST 2002 DAVID BOWIE AND MOBY AT AREA2 THE WHO JACKSON
PAPA ROACH, P.O.D.,CYPRESS HILL, & ROB ZOMBIE MORNING SPRING RAIN FESTIVAL JUNE 2002 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND MIDNIGHT OIL MT. AIRE 2002 BIG HEAD TODD CROSBY, STILLS, NASH AND YOUNG BUSH AND DEFAULT INCUBUS BLUES TRAVELER LINKIN PARK IN
BRYAN ADAMS AT THE FILLMORE LINKIN PARK & P.O.D. CROSBY, STILLS, AND NASH STRING CHEESE INCIDENT
FUEL & SALIVA AEROSMITH 2002 STEVIE NICKS THE
AEROSMITH 2001 BLINK 182 THE STRING CHEESE INCIDENT OZZFEST 2001 BAD COMPANY LINKIN PARK OZZFEST 2000 MARILYN
MEGADETH TED NUGENT
NEW YEAR'S EVE 2000-2001
THIRD EYE BLINDSUMMER
YES THE FURTHUR FESTIVAL 2000 THE B.B. KING
THE STRING CHEESE INCIDENT JOE WALSH
CROSBY, STILLS, NASH, AND YOUNGREUNION TOUR 2000 NYE
WITH THE STRING CHEESE INCIDENT
MILLENIUM TOUR 2000
ZZ TOP & LYNYRD SKYNYRD TOM PETTY
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