Friday Funk Fix


Friday September 30th, 2011 – Hammond, IN

This is my last Friday night off for a while, and I probably should have stayed home and gotten some work done. That didn’t happen. I found out at the last minute George Clinton was performing in Hammond, IN at the Horseshoe Casino and I had to go see the show.

Not only that, the opening act was Cameo – another one of my all time favorites. I don’t know how many more times I’ll get the chance to see one of those acts much less both on the same show, so I decided to live a little. Plus, I had heard great things about the theater called ‘The Venue’ and wanted to see it for myself. I heard correctly. It’s a fantastic room.

I’d never been to the casino facility before because quite frankly Hammond isn’t a place to be after dark without a gun or armored vehicle. It isn’t the place to be in daylight either come to think of it. Most of Northwest Indiana is a toilet, as are several other directions in that state. I like Indianapolis, but other than that the rest of the state can be plowed over.

I was pleasantly surprised to see not only how plush the casino property was, but when I walked into the theater I saw Chicago comedian Damon Williams opening the show. I’ve always liked and respected Damon because he’s funny and an outstanding businessman as well. He produces big New Year’s Eve shows every year that have been very successful.

He got a nice pop from the audience as he walked off stage, and I was happy for him as it’s not easy to open a show like that. Everyone is there to see the bands and comedy isn’t on anyone’s mind as they walk through the door. It wasn’t on mine, and I’m a comedian.

Cameo came out and lit it up for their hour long set. Larry Blackmon is a showman, and the crowd was into it from the first note. I’ve seen them several times before, and they are headliners in their own right. I was glad I showed up about a minute into their first song.

There’s something special about seeing live entertainment done well. It’s in the moment and every performance is unique to a given audience. I obviously love comedy, but music has a whole other dimension with the combined energy of a band. I love to be around it.

That’s why I’ve always loved watching George. He gets the concept of each show being unique, and knows how to go with the flow on a given night. If the horns are hot, he goes with them. If it’s the bass player, that’s where the solo goes. I never get sick of watching a master showman work, especially when a crowd is really into it. Tonight I got to see two.

George is still bringing it, and the band was on point tonight. They usually play for four hours, but tonight they only did an hour and a half. They kept it tight and only played the biggest hits, and everyone loved it. Cameo was great, but George took it to a higher level.

Seeing a hot show like this makes me want to get back out there and take my own skills to the next level. I can’t match the energy of a band, but I can give audiences all I’ve got and that’s what I’m going to do. This was a fun night, but also a lesson in showmanship.

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