George Clinton played the July 4th party at the Waterfront, along with Los Lobos (who we missed), JJ Grey & Mofro….and of course, the P-Funk. Reportedly, over 100,000 were in attendance, and I don’t doubt it…that place was crazy packed. George Clinton is, in a strange way, a perfect embodiment of the freedom symbolized by the 4th of July, having denied conventions most of his life. At 67 years of age, George required a little bit of help getting to the stage, but once he stepped on, he took control of the crowd in a whole new way. P-Funk was a mad house of funk, with rappers, Humpty look-alikes (“You Gotta Get Over the Hump!”), soul singers, roller skaters, booty dancers, rock stars, and virtuall anything else you can imagine. Despire the torrential downpour after P-Funk went on, but prior to George coming to the stage (which didn’t happen for probably 30 minutes), the vast vast majority of the crowd didn’t budge, except to dance and nod their head. For many, this was a religious experience.
After 11pm, the fireworks on the river started going off, and while we couldn’t hear it on stage, apparently the sound guys essentially shut George’s speakers off and started blasting holiday-themed songs. On stage, we had no idea that the crowd couldn’t hear the music, and to friends of mine in the audience, it appeared that George was fighting the music in defiance, when in fact nobody on stage knew until the last song. We figure George broke contract by playing a little too long, but that should just be accepted by the Louisville’s WDC people as a bonus, and not a reason to shut off the sound. That said, the three hour set was a little long, but ever vigil for funk, and as artists came to and fro, the song never dropped. Between the rain, the size of the crowd, the dancing, the stage antics, and the music, it was the perfect way to celebrate the fourth.
UPDATE: You can grab a copy of JJ Grey & Mofro’s set HERE (flac format), along with the setlist.
***TONS MORE PHOTOS***
Patrick Henry Hughes