First off, I was JEALOUS as a M.F. because everyone in my class had stories of PARLIAMENT at the Capitol Center landing the Mothership in '77, a'ight! So, because I couldn't go (this was Pre-Metro, car only), I had to catch whatever TV Snippets there was of the show.
Of course, that was all rectified the following year, when THE MOTOR-BOOTY AFFAIR came to town. The place, The CAPITOL CENTER. The Date, Groundhog Night, February 2, 1979.
Me, my two younger brothers, and the friends who drove us (on that coldass night) made it just as P-FUNK was rocking some acid-jam (on the monitor in the hallway, I saw the hand of the guitarist tearing that solo up). It later turns out (thanks to YOUTUBE Footage some 29 years later from the TAPES TAKEN OFF THE Capitol Center monitors) that we came on at the end of the first song, which was a blistering version of COSMIC SLOP. (Thanks to YOUTUBE, I also discovered that I missed James Wesley Jackson 'voicing' the FUNKADELIC SKULL, to which P-Nut Johnson 'fed' a BLUNT the size of my baby brother to. JWJ said, "Fiiiiiiire it Upppppp!!! C'mon, Fiiiiiiiiiiiire That shit UPPPP!!! Yeaaaaaaaaaaaa.!!!" Missed it by 7 minutes---thank god for YOU TUBE.)
It turns out, the FIRST PART of the P-Funk Headline Show was the "FUNKADELIC" part. George Clinton in '78/'79 was a frightening motha! He would whistle loudly into the mic, and in the Cap Center, that shit carried--and we were way in the Balcony (more on that in a bit). "GOTGOTGOTGAGAGAGA!!!!!" Would be Clinton's shout thru most of the Funkadelic part---especially during some of the "Mothership hits". Man, GC ran the Cap Center like it was boot camp. Now, when they bumped STANDING ON THE VERGE OF GETTING IT ON!!, Clinton was wearing the White Cowboy Chaps outfit he had on the MOTOR BOOTY Album inner sleeve. Pointing the mic to the front row, he asked, "CHILDREN!! YA'LL IN TH' FRONT ROW!! WHATCHADOIIIIIIIIN'? TELL ME, YA'LL!!!"
"Standin' On The Verge Of Gittin' It On, Brotha--Gittin' it Onnnnn!!" ('nuff said!)
Also during that first half, we got Gary Shider and Junie Morrison (both in PIMP Leather), sitting on the edge of the stage, making plenty young girls pussy wet with a slowdown ballad version of "Into You". They harmonized on the chorus part like the superstars they were. Man, the bitches were louder than when The Beatles first got here. I never heard girls scream that loud before. Damn!
They closed the first part with TEAR THE ROOF OFF/THUMPASAURUS PEOPLES!! Jerome Brailey was NOT on this tour---Tyrone Lampkin was. Man, the late Mr. Lampkin had some fuckin' power on the skins. He hit hard as shit, replicating Jerome's intro with power, but that paled when Ray Davis came out over the PA in sensurround!! (well, it sure as hell felt like it--even in the Balcony!!). George and Gary and Ray (in an evil 3-way) coralled the whole place. "SANG!!!"
"THUMPASAURUS PEOPLES" was stronger and louder than on the Parliament Live album. Boogie Mosson's bass was cut all the up to 20---yea, we felt that shit even bounce off the ceiling and right back down. (only wish Bootsy was on the tour--shame he wasn't.)
The "intermission" was 3-part affair. It began with JWJ doing a stand-up routine that had us peeing ourselves. He got on the shit of everyone who was in the balcony:
"Ya'll having a good time? Alright. (he plucks his rubberband juice-harp) I want ya'll to chill out, fire up one if you got it. Oh, by the way, you folks in the balcony cool up there? Ya'll can hear me? (we cheered back) Cool cool. You balcony folks are alright. You had to get 'HIGH' one way or another." (I couldn't sleep that night because I was laughing and grinning all night long.) James Wesley plucked his juice harp again, and said for us to repeat after him:
"A Loose Booty, A Loose Butt". We did. Then, from over the PA, "Sir Nose's" voice came out repeating the same thing, and we rolled!!! James Wesley shrugged his shoulders and said, "Hmmph! Some 'WHITE GUY' backstage trying to fuck us over!" Man, I had to pee real bad after that, but I held it in. So, JWJ gave us the Performers of this evening, and told us to stay tuned for the MAGGOT BRAIN.
Micheal Hampton took that solo straight to the roof. It went on for what felt like 20 minutes (actually, it was close--14 minutes!!). After Mike, we had a 3 minute break, then we were gifted with Bernie Worrell for about 8 1/2 minutes. The brotha's keyboard bank is legendary---must've had 8/10 different 'boards, and he used them all thru the whole night--but on this solo, he closed with Rod Stewart's "DO YOU THINK I'M SEXY".
Then, the stage went black as the curtains were drawn for the "MOTOR BOOTY" change over. The angle was "To Party Underwater Without Getting Wet". Well, it was fantastic. First, Junie came over the PA as "Howard COD-Sell": "HURRY! HURRY!! HURRY!!! Step right up DC, for the MOTOR BOOTY AFFAIR"!!! Then, the curtains parted, and what I saw is what got me working in theater TODAY:
It was the ILLUSION of a FISH TANK, created by blue and green lights with a fog effect (I learned just this year--from some old TOHO DVDS that this is the same technique that Eiji Tsuburaya used to create the Godzilla Underwater Sequences back in the day----and it works great LIVE!!!!). In the corners of the stage, there were tinsel tubes used to create the "oxygen bubbles" effects of a fish tank.
Now, let's talk about the "FISH" (a.k.a. PARLIAMENT!!): we had George Clinton as a WORM MC (Mr. Wiggles--that costume was baddass!!), along with Dawn Silva and Jeannette Washington as Giggles and Squirm (Dawn wore her WORM SUIT well--heh heh!!). Gary Shider, back in the diaper--no BOP GUN or FLASHLIGHT--wearing the Helmet and armor of RUMPOFSTEELSKIN (and Skeet Curtis tearing that bass solo up!!!). Then, the water effects paused for a bit as George told us all to prepare for the National Anthem. Damn RIght, it was (the still NEW) ONE NATION UNDER A GROOVE (with Bobby Lewis plucking the hell outta that Banjo in the far corner!!). P-Nut paraded across the stage with the ONE NATION Flag, while behind Tyrone Lampkin was a lighting effect that looked like a red-white-blue election banner.
From there, we got Gary rockin' CHOLLY. And, I think DEEP was tossed into the mix (I probably don't recall), but I do know they rocked the shit outta ONE OF THOSE FUNKY THANGS. Then came the big one:
AQUA BOOGIE!!! Man, we got the BIRD---all 30-feet of it!! My friend later told me that the bird was the SAME SIZE as the Mothership!!! (How they hid that thing in the rafters without us in the balcony seeing it was beyond me, but DAMN!!). The eyes lit up, the bird bobbed up and down, and the huge mouth opened with each "CAW CAW!!" Now, George leaned back and reclined in that thing's mouth while rapping, and also (accidently--but a funnyass memory)the bird 'pecked' Jeannette 'Parlet' Washington on the ass, and she DECKED it!!
After the bird went up, I think they closed with another track (forgot which), then the stage went dark after the whole band assembled onstage. Now, it was 3:30 in the morning, and the whole motha was filing out of the Capitol Center when George punked EVERYBODY----
The MOTHERSHIP CONNECTION started playing, and there was a riot as we tried to get back in. P-Funk rocked that bitch hard, and when they hit SWING DOWN, SWEET CHARIOT, motherfuckers were looking up and all over the Cap Center. Were They Gonna Drop The SHIP Once More? Well, not this time. But, they did end the whole show with the "Parliament Chords" that closed the Parliament Live album, and fire from the stage.
Then, we went home. Our ears, eyes and heads were FUCKED! UP!!
The after effects were even better. Dig: The Sunday after the concert, the United Negro College Fund was having a telethon (the local branch aired live over WDCA TV--Channel 20). Suddenly (no shit! My Father was even there to hear this, and I'm still freakin' over it!) one of the girls monitoring the phones hung hers up, caught her breath and said (QUOTE!), "That was GEORGE CLINTON Of Parliament Funkadelic just now----He is pledging $20,000!!" That was it. Tears still come to my eyes every time I recount that. That is what made GC my superhero, and inspired me for life.
The next after effect came from COLUMBIA HOUSE Publishers. They would do this annual "YEAR IN ROCK" reference book for those who ordered music by mail order. I still have that volume buried somewhere at home (a badass 5-man FORIEGNER Front Line--all AXE!!!--was a Highlight photo). In it (1979 was the volume year), the CONCERT AT THE CAPITOL CENTER was mentioned as the Highest Grossing event at the Cap Center all year, and 3rd Highest Grossing out of the Motor Booty Tour.
WHEW!!!! Alright, lets all gather our breath!!!
That was how it began for this (then)15 year old Cardozo High School 10th Grader. It literally was magic. That was MINE.....now, what was YOURS? Holla.