Can you feel the FUNK?” The chant lifted the crowd to its feet. Parliament Funkadelic’s intrepid leader, George Clinton, led the cheer. “Can you feel the funk?!” Next to Clinton, P-Funk’s guitar player–a grown man, and a pro–appeared wearing a diaper. Many of the “Page Pfunkateers” followed suit (or unsuit). That’s right, audience members began to strip down to their Hanes, Fruit of the Looms, Joe Boxers and Calvin Klein’s. “Can you feel the funk!?” Clinton and P-Funk repeated, and then they unleashed their unique equation of musical styles: jazz + rhythm & blues + rock + hip-hop = the FUNK! This group stills knows how to “funk up” a house, even if it is a university auditorium! Whether singing, talking or rappin’, the concert was a lesson in groove. The hypnotic tempo kept bodies swaying, swerving and swinging, despite the lack of clarity from the sound system.
Parliament Funkadelic has been inventing and re-inventing the “Funk” since the 1960s. Clinton’s original group, the Parliaments, was a doo-wop outfit formed in New Jersey. When the group broke up around 1970, George Clinton created Funkadelic. Eventually, the remnants of both groups merged to form the collective Parliament Funkadelic.
At Page, I found myself singing along with “Bop Gun,” “Cosmic Slop” and “One Nation Under the Groove.” To my surprise, the peach-fuzzed, Carrot Top look-alike standing next to me was singing right along also. I asked him, who is your favorite band? He replied, “Until tonight it was the Goo-Goo Dolls … but they can’t touch the funk!” Of course I agreed, as the horn section (and notice I said horn section, not synthesized horns) took the energy even higher with their sizzle and presence.
George Clinton even introduced us to the next generation of the “Funk.” His granddaughter took the stage and “ripped” one for the crowd already on its feet. The already hyped crowd started dancing in the aisles, and anywhere else they could find floor space.
George and the P-Funk crew pumped up the house with “Tear the Roof Off the Sucker,” “We Want the Funk” and many more of their great hits. The audience, and I, got what we came for–the FUNK–and YES! We all felt it!