The Scene: Unfortunately the scene last night at The Boulder Theater was one of “hurry up and wait.” The line to get in stretched around the block as the doors were delayed about 30 minutes late due to the fact that the Bootsy and the band were apparently still sound checking past 7 o’clock. When they finally let us all in to the theater shortly past 7:30, we figured we’d have a short wait until the band came on just past 8. Alas, it was not to be . . . pretty soon it was 8:30, then 8:45 and finally 9:00. I mean we were stretching out into Guns-N-Roses territory here! Fortunately the crowd remained calm and though there were some feeble “Bootsy” chants that never really took hold, pretty much everyone patiently waited it out and finally, about 9:10, the band took the stage to the delight of the now two-thirds full theater.
As an emcee warmed up the crowd, I looked around to see about the biggest variety of people I’ve seen at a show in a long time, white, African American, Asian, grey haired, no haired, dreadlocked, kids dancing with their parents and more. It was quite the scene and clearly proved the age old adage that The Funk brings people together!
Bootsy Collins: When Bootsy emerged about 5 minutes after the band took the stage, he was dressed from head to toe in silver sequins and was armed with his trademark Space Bass star shaped bass. It was quite the site to see and Bootsy was certainly living up to his reputation as the funk filled the air and his smile stretched from ear to ear. Backed by some of the funkiest musicians in the business, including longtime P-Funk keyboard player Bernie Worrell and former Headhunters and P-Funk guitarist DeWayne “Blackbird” McKnight, Bootsy got down to business and quickly had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand as they bobbed and boogied to the music.
Despite the sound problems that reared their ugly heads a few times throughout the night, the band was surely trying to “tear the roof of the sucka” and had the volume turned up to 11 as they tore through Bootsy classics like “Ahh, The Name Is Bootsy Baby,” “Bootzilla,” and “Stretchin’ Out (In A Rubber Band).”
The set also featured several crowd pleasin’ cover’s that turned the show into a bit of an Acid Funk review as different band members took the mic to allow their front man time to change from one outrageous costume into the next. Funked up versions of “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” and “The Star Spangled Banner,” led into one of the highlights of the night when the band tore into Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze,” and McKnight took off on a scorching guitar solo that culminated in him playing with his teeth to the delight of the crowd.
After slowing things up for a brief minute, the band picked things right back up for the one two punch of Sly & The Family Stone’s “I Want to Take You Higher” and the P-Funk classic “Flashlight” that featured the horn section and the background signers weilding flashlights and lightsabers; it was quite the spectacle.
As the set pushed up against to the two hour mark, Bootsy led the band into a greatest hits medley that featured the classic audience chant-alongs of “Free Your Mind . . . And Your Ass Will Follow,” and “There ain’t no party, like a P-Funk party, and a P-Funk party never stops,” and even allowed the legend to get down into the crowd and dance alongside some of his biggest fans. It was a great way to end the night and as the band left the stage they left the crowd begging for an encore that wouldn’t come. It was P-Funk party for sure, but this P-Funk party ended just after 11.
While there were some great moments, overall it was a night that would have played out better on a Friday or Saturday night. The sad but true fact is that Monday night shows are tough and Bootsy may well have sold out the room on a weekend night when people could have really let their freak flags fly. As it was, the band did a good job of curing a few cases of the Monday’s, but for most of us The Mothership never really got too far off the ground.
Stage Presence: A
Set/Light Show: B