Show of the Week: BOOTSY!

In all the permutations of P-Funk that have passed through New Orleans in recent years, the one common denominator that has been missing is the presence of the one and only masterful bassist and vocalist William “Bootsy” Collins aka Star Child.

He now has a new album out and is playing at Tipitina’s tonight. Several members of the P-Funk nation, including guitarist Blackbird McKnight and keyboardist/funk mastermind Bernie Worrell, are in tow.

Of course, that’s not to say that Bootsy has never played New Orleans. Although I missed the legendary Mothership tour that played in the 1970s at the Municipal Auditorium (they actually had a huge spaceship from which the band members descended), I saw the P-Funk Allstars on the Riverboat President in 1984.

This was before the band had crossed over into the white market. The show was packed and it was almost entirely made up of African-Americans. The next day I talked to the black secretary where I worked at the time about the show. We both loved Bootsy. I said, “I only saw a few other white folks there.” She said, “I didn’t see any.” I replied, “You weren’t looking!” We both had a good laugh.

A few years later, the band returned to New Orleans and played at the Saenger Theater. On this tour Bootsy was billed as a special guest and he only appeared for a few songs. I was in the second row and at one point he came out into the crowd, ripping on his star-shaped bass, and walked along the arm rests of the seats. Talk about love—I reached over and touched his boot!

DJ Soul Sister opens the show.

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