By Tim McCoy
Roanoke’s Elmwood Park Saturday night was the scene of an intergalactic visitation. The godfather of funk, and his family of musical troopers hit the stage as if they had just teleported from the middle of another performance. There was no introduction, no loud emcee welcome, just BOOM, and the band was there, rapping, singing, and playing blistering guitar sets.
Many in the crowd were surprised by the intensity of the start, but all soon came to groove at the pace Clinton demanded, and the open area just in front of the stage crushed in with people. By the third song we were one big happy family riding the Funkadelic Astrogliding Mothership, all being steered by Commodore Clinton!
The night was most definitely a family affair. From the tone set by Plunky, whose funk jazz band includes his daughter and brother, to the huge end of show bash when Clinton brought to the stage Plunky and his band, TAP Hope Fest personnel, and fans, the feeling of family was ever present. Then there was the roster of Parliament Funkadelic onstage Saturday which included two of Clinton’s grandkids, one a talented female backup singer, and his grandson performing who plied the audience with a mix of heavy metal grunge, rap, and served as general hype-man for the band.
After the show, I caught up with Paige Davis and her daughter Sara, who drove up from Radford. This was their first time seeing Clinton perform, and like many in the crowd, were at a frenzy by the end of the show. “Amazing! AMAZING!” Paige kept repeating, while Sara declared George looked like a “Teddy bear each time he grinned at the audience.” They were impressed and surprised by the intensity of the heavy metal guitar solos, and how the two female backup singers kept the crowd on track with their funky dance and rhythms. “No matter where the show went, you could always come back to those two for the beat,” said Paige.
After two hours of heavy funk dancing, singing, and driving the crowd to heights of musical passion, Clinton and his P-Funk family had to lift off to their next destination. Through Hope Fest, TAP offered a new service to our community Saturday night and brought the fans at Elmwood Park into a shared family experience.
Photos by Jenna Lazeby