Should I have spent last night getting caught up on work, laundry, dishes and just life in general? Oh most definitely. With three days of X Games festivities ending with Warped Tour on the fourth day, the next couple of days are going to be insane for me to say the least. I really should have taken the opportunity to mentally prepare myself for what is to come and to stock up on some sleep but that’s when I saw that Tuesday night’s performance may very well be George Clinton’s last performance in Minnesota. All of a sudden the dishes, laundry and general cleanliness of my apartment meant absolutely nothing. All that mattered was me going to the show.
Local group The Alex Rossi Band had the extreme honor of opening up the sold out Tuesday night show and they definitely didn’t disappoint. Although it was clear that the older audience was strictly at the show to see George Clinton, The Alex Rossi Band had a way of catching your attention and making you excited to be listening to an opening act. With a blend of funk, soul, blues and even a little reggae, it was music that made it impossible not to dance along to the beat and, with a voice as soothing as that of Jack Johnson’s, Alex Rossi and his band danced their way through their set and into my heart.
Although The Alex Rossi Band’s set last nearly an hour (okay, maybe a little less, I honestly wasn’t timing it), it didn’t feel long or drawn out. Each song had a point much like every word and every strike of the drum. Everything during the set was done with a sense of purpose and conviction that made the set feel like so much more than just watching a local band. Afterwards I heard the chatter among the audience members trying to figure out what had just happened. Although they were spending the night out on the town to celebrate with George Clinton, they had been absolutely blown away by this opening act and I couldn’t help but share their excitement. There’s something about going to a show where you have such a feeling of excitement for the headliner that you don’t really think about much else until a band like The Alex Rossi Band takes the stage and completely blows you away. Sure, their unique blend of funk, blues, and everything else isn’t quite my cup of tea but I’ll be sure to be keeping an eye on their calendar for another chance to catch their magic live.
As great as The Alex Rossi Band was, it just didn’t (not should it) compare to the headlining set from George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic. Where do I even begin with this man? Since the early 1980’s, George Clinton has been a staple of the funk scene. To call him an influential character would be an understatement. This guys is literally like a God in the scene. His creativity and his sound has not and will never be matched. Everything from his music to his clothes to his hair is so distinctively him and knowing that last night’s show could be the last time I ever see that was actually quite heartbreaking. Although I’ve seen this man over a dozen times by now, it never gets old and his shows are never boring. George Clinton’s live shows are a cut above the rest and Tuesday night’s performance was no different.
In his late 70’s, George Clinton just isn’t able to do what he used to do. There’s no way to beat around that bush. Taking multiple rests as he sat down in a chair that was set up in the middle of the stage, Clinton definitely seemed to rely on his collective Parliament-Funkadelic to carry the music and keep the show going. With that being said, I don’t think there was a single moment where my eyes weren’t on the legend himself. Sure, watching as the younger kids took over and keep the music and vibe flowing was great but my eyes always seemed to travel back to the one and only George Clinton. Even if he was just sitting in his chair, the way he smiled as he watched the younger generation take over the stage and do their thing truly said anything that needed to be said.
Although I never saw George Clinton in his heyday, having seen him multiple times over the past couple of years has truly been a treat. Unfortunately, it has also shown me how time is slipping away and his age is starting to be something that can not be ignored. Watching him hobble onto the stage slowly was next to heart breaking but watching the energy he got when grasping the microphone and hyping up his fans was a good reminder of the power of music. Last night’s show may have been his last visit to Minnesota but it was nothing short of a party. With the crowd dancing and singing along and the stage full of people who share a common passion for music and good times, it was the perfect send off for a true legend.
It’s never easy to say goodbye to a musician that has found a way into your daily playlist or has carved a spot into your favorite concert list. If last night was my goodbye to George Clinton, so be it. I had a hell of a time as I danced my way through his set and only wish it never had to end.