Over at the Warfield, New Years Eve was a stylish party of grandiose proportions, with lots of fun and smiles everywhere. Insatiable funk rhythms caused bodies to bump and grind with abandon at times, and pounded the audience into submission at others. Devastating sax and guitar solos poured out from the stage, spinning heads and torching the senses. George Clinton showed up.
We got there early and staked out a nice spot on the rail, just left of center. Standing at the foot of the stage at the Warfield, and looking back and up at the rest of the theatre, has got to be about my favorite place in the world to see a show. It is just so freakin beautiful, and every show there seems to be just magical! (Plus, you gotta love that little ledge under the stage where you can stash stuff.)
Ozomatli opened and got bodies moving to their hard-hitting latin funk and hip hop parade. Then, Galactic took the stage in matching red suits (except the Houseman in black, later) and the party shifted into high gear.
They opened with a relatively new instrumental (Shucktime?), then a huge Baker's Dozen with a really cool 'round robin' jam that climaxed with great power. Moog Marmalade had the place just dripping with gooey squishy moog sounds... nice candy funk. Then a pounding Bobski/Jeffe harmonica/slide guitar stomp segued perfectly (this was all Stanton!) into the first Houseman tune of the night, Ready Willing & Able.
Set 1 was relatively short, but set 2 was a full 2 hours, and one of the most solid sets of Galactic I've seen. It started with the Ozomatli/Galactic parade marching all around the Warfield (even the upper levels) banging on drums, horns blasting brass band style, people throwing out Mardi Gras beads. When they got to the stage, there was the usual countdown, huge balloon drop, champagne, hugs, kisses... it was beautiful! Right into a cover of Black Sabbath's Sweet Leaf. Yeah, that's right, it was a party, folks. You could see it on everyone's face.
Somewhere in set 2 was a the most devastating version of My Little Humidor. I've never really thought of this little tune as being such a huge jam vehicle, especially since the sax always sits this one out, but it ended up in a huge drums/bass section, with Rob busting out a new little tiny bass guitar and playing a wild-sounding solo over some skull-crushing Stanton groove, before erupting back into the song which I thought had been long forgotten. (I should know better than that, Galactic always resolve.)
Set 3 started at 2:30 with a new arrival. Ben poked his head out between the curtain and announced, "And behind curtain #1...". The curtain parted and there stood Skerik. Hot off his performance with Les Claypool's Frog Brigade over at the Fillmore, Skerik immediately poured copious amounts of fuel onto Galactic's already blazing hot fire with his evil sax attack, keeping the electronic effects to a minimum for this occasion. The set leapt into high gear with a jumping Spicoli's Toe, a song which Skerik pretty much redefined during his stint as Galactic's touring sax player in the spring of '99.
A few songs later, a very familiar beat emerged... one of the most unmistakeable beats of all funk music! Could the rumors be true? Sure enough, out walked the legend himself, George Clinton... along with two singers, his drummer and keyboard player. Immediately in his element, George had the crowd in the palm of his hands, and at a funk show like this, it doesn't really get much better. Give Up the Funk!! My memories of this part of the show consist of hugs, smiles, and just unbelievable booty shaking all over the crowd for
pretty much 20 minutes straight. I have another memory of George holding out a microphone while Ben played his sax into it... a perfect photo opportunity. Also, I could swear there was a dog running around on stage playing with a ball during this whole segment!
Finally the P-Funk segment ended around 3:15am. Then, who should show up to jam next but Brian Jordan from Karl Denson's
Tiny Universe. Give Up the Funk somehow segued into a smooth, driving Open Up the Door. This turned into a showcase for the talents of Brian Jordan on guitar, as well as Stu from
P-Funk whipping the crowd into a frenzy with some outrageous keyboard solos.
I don't really remember what they played next, but the show ended shortly after that, at 3:30am sharp. The house lights came on as soon as the third set ended, but we did not really need an encore at that point. Soon we were outside floating over that dirty Market Street sidewalk riding the 2001 Funk Oddyssey groove.
Don't miss Galactic and Frog Brigade on tour together with Lake Trout this month!
JamBase Man-In-The-Hat Correspondent
Go See Live Music!
Here is my attempt at a setlist, though there are a few blank spots for sure.
GALACTIC | 12.31.00 | The Warfield
Bobski/Jeffe 2000 -->
Ready Willing & Able
Start From Scratch
# Drums/Countdown -->
Hit the Wall
Working in a Coal Mine
My Little Humidor (with Drums/bass)
Action Speaks Louder Than Words
Mind is Hazy
III (with Skerik)
@ We Want the Funk -->
% Open Up the Door
# with Ozomatli
@ with George Clinton and P-Funk singers, drummer and keyboards
% with Brian Jordan (Tiny Universe) and Stu (P-Funk) on keys