Let me tell you, this was the way to experience The Funk. And this is coming from someone who has been a fan of George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic for more than 40 years.
Let me rephrase that.
I have been a rabid, obsessed parliafunkadelicized P-Funk disciple and spreader of the word since I was just a little Kidd Funkadelic.
There. That’s better.
I can’t even count the number of shows I have been to over the years, both good and bad, but I regret nothing, and I confess nothing. Because what happens at a P-funk show stays at a P-Funk show. Those who know already know. People who you thought you knew, and then you see them at a P-Funk show and you’re struck wondering ‘is that the same’…??????
Until you notice somebody else giving you that same look, and you think…damn. But then you both smile, flash the sign of the ‘P’, and funk on.
Anyway, that’s what it was like last month when my wife and I went to see George and the crew on a Thursday night at the Motor City Soundboard. The first time we’d seen him at the Soundboard was last year and it was a great show. It was clear to see the difference that pulling himself back off the harder stuff and generally circling the drain had made, because not that many years ago I was at the painful point of forcing myself to confront the fact that maybe, just maybe, the time had come to remember George at his best and stop reflexively going to see him every time he hit town. Because the return on investment definitely was leaving a lot to be desired. And because once you’ve seen the Mothership land onstage, or seen the giant skull rolled out onstage with a massive five-foot long joint shoved between its teeth by a couple of funksters who then proceed to fire it up with a blowtorch after which the skull’s eyes light up bright red and it starts to say ‘right on, right on’ in this really loud, bass kind of voice (yes, this really happened), then it’s hard to come down from that.
And those days will never come back again. I know that. But the latest version of George and the band (including kids and even grandkids in tow) is still a hell of a show. But what made the show even better? It wasn’t just seeing the show at Motor City Soundboard, recognized as one of the best indoor venues in the country (in a city full of some of the best musical venues in the country), but having dinner with my wife before the show at Iridescence, taking our time to enjoy one of the best meals I have ever had in this city in the 24 years I’ve lived here, then sauntering downstairs to enjoy the show, and then spending the night at the Motor City Casino Hotel. The nighttime view of the city from way up there was worth the stay all by itself.
Usually, like most folks I know living their lives on a constant never ending treadmill, I rarely think I have time to just slow the hell down and let myself really – I mean really – enjoy. But this was a trip that reminded me and the wife of just how important it is to take that time. From the time when we pulled up for the valet until the next morning when we left, it was hard for me to find a flaw, and it got to the point where I started looking for glitches just for fun. About the only thing I could find that irked me and my wife both, since we are both truly addicted to our computers and other electronic devices, is that there didn’t seem to be nearly enough outlets in the hotel room. Without an outlet next to the bed to let our devices charge overnight within arm’s reach kinda gave each of us gadget withdrawal.
But other than that? Close to perfect. From the valets in the parking lot to the hotel staff, everyone seemed genuinely interested in making sure we were enjoying ourselves, and what’s more they did it with ease. And that right there is the difference between a nice place to stay and a great place to stay. When you get the feeling that the staff enjoys helping you to enjoy yourself as much as you need to enjoy yourself (and believe me, I needed it that night), then you know you’ve found something special.