Well into his 60's now, George still gots da funk. This is the only dude that can keep a band tight enough to play funk loose, keeping it raw and jamming on the one. Despite not being the P-FUNK All Stars the band didn't disappoint. Top-notch musicianship all-round, not least from the Funk Brothers present. Lead guitarist was off the hook, wish I could remember his name - not quite Michael Hampton but stellar none the less. A true Funkadelic.
It's worth mentioning the Funk Brothers did a warm-up set of Motown tunes (I was late, so only caught the end), before moving on to the main show which opened with a favourite - Red Hot Mama. Opening with the blistering chords the guitarist just tore it up, rhythm section kicked in and as the groove rose to a fever pitch George walks on to an insanely excited crowd. His gravelly voice sounded great as they jammed from one stonker to the next, including Flash Light, Atomic Dog, Give Up The Funk, Up For The Down Stroke - grooves of immense proportions.
Half-way through he also did a cover of Curtis Mayfield's Gypsy Woman, that worked surprisingly well.
The last time I saw him play live was at The Forum (in 2005). He had the P-FUNK All Stars with him - including Bernie Worrell. That gig ran well over 3 hrs. In contrast, last saturday's gig was a tight 90mins. I put this down to him not having his usual full band - there's just too much material for another band to learn when they've got their own tour going on as their main thang. Still, they never missed a beat and like the audience, were having a ball.
After finishing with an extended jam that, appropriately enough, sounded like the Mothership taking off, the house lights came up and we were informed George would be signing CDs. I rush out and sure enough there's Dr. Funkenstein chilling in the merchandise area. So I got to hang out and chat with him briefly:
I said "George I already have that album, but I'll buy it anyway 'coz you've just signed the cover". He looked at me and said "Oh. Well let me draw you a picture too", so he flips it over and draws on the back...
...a genuine dawg!! Atomic of course.
Buy the album:How Late Do U Have 2b B4 Ur Absent