Live: Meadowbrook, Rochester, Michigan - 1971

Recorded at one of the worst possible times for any band to make a live recording, Funkadelic limped into the Meadowbrook Arena in September of '71 with a rhythm section that had been hired the day before. And while the result was not too far removed from the junk funk of the magnificent Maggot Brain LP which they'd released just two months previous, the engineer who taped the show was so repulsed that he stuffed the reels on a shelf where they sat for over twenty years. Not surprisingly, they've aged like a fine wine. The Funkadelic captured on this night is nowhere near the Parliament/Funkadelic machine that would turn out the slick disco funk within a couple of years, but rather a troupe of acid drenched misfits with a penchant for searing guitars, violent synths and an overwhelming passion for the ladies. The concert's spoken introduction reads like this "...Let your minds be lather-like. George chief cokehead is gonna sprinkle funk from one end of this pavillion to the other.".. Eddie Hazel's heavy fuzzed out riffs kick in against the thunder of drums, deep pools of reverb slap back from the arena's shell, and it's on. A full on funk assault. Bernie Worrell cooly reigns in the proceedings from the banks of total chaos with his characteristically uncharacteristic synth leads, and the overall impact is a marriage of an ultra funky Band of Gypsies and Sun Ra in a playful mood. Wow! An incredible document of a band at the peak of their creative prowess.


JBL said...


This album has never been far from the CD player since I came across it some 8 or 9 years ago. You're not wrong about the rhythm section--or more specifically the drummer, for Billy Bass (on bass, redundant I suppose) plays his ass off here. Despite the problems, they kick ass all over this set, the highlights to my mind being All Your Goodies Are Gone, a storming "Maggot Brain", and the show opener (and stopper)
"I Call My Baby Pussycat"--which sounds like nothing so much as a King Crimson track like "Asbury Park" or something of that vintage.

Anyway, you can't go wrong with this set. Funkadelic fans will want to track it down in a more solid form, for the liner notes are fascinating and extensive.


Anonymous said...

as was then is now, 'George, chief cokehead'. haven't seen the funk mob in over ten years but when I saw the live at montreux on ovation the other year, George just looked and sounded awful.

would luv to find a boot of 7.4.1996 central park, the return of the mothership. it was an amazing show, with mothership, the rain, the thunder and lightning...

Anonymous said...

So good - been diggin on FunkaD lately!!! thanks for this!!!! later, D