WAR, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic at the Santa Barbara Bowl

For all the times I’ve seen WAR over the summer it has been their show at the Greek Theatre which has rotated between Cheech and Chong, The Family Stone, and Tower of Power. This year WAR played the Greek Theater and Santa Barbara Bowl on May 26th and 27th with George Clinton and P-Funk and opening act Nortec Collective. Although WAR and P-Funk are very different types of groups, they both started within a year of each other in 1968 and 1969.

It was a cold night at the Santa Barbara Bowl, but that didn’t keep anyone from enjoying these two legendary groups. With the neighborhood curfew for noise around the venue, it was an early show with Clinton and P-Funk going on at 6:45 P.M. P-Funk is known for their extravagant stage and outfits among their many band members. Through all the lineups of P-Funk, Clinton has been there from the start and keeps the band’s legacy going to this day. With this being an outdoor venue in daylight and just for these 2 shows, there was little stage production. Although Clinton’s colorful hair is gone, he is the same funk master who has been influencing generations of artists. To describe the show, it is almost on one continuous loop from song to song. P-Funk brought out the hits with “Flashlight,” “Maggot Brain,” “(Not Just) Knee Deep,” “Maggot Brain,” “Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof off the Sucker),” and ended with “Atomic Dog.”

WAR had two eras of the band which were Eric Burdon and WAR and WAR after Burdon left. For WARs almost 50 year history, there has been one keyboardist who is the only founding member still in the band which is Lonnie Jordan who has also sings lead vocals with the band today. To me, there are a few types of shows. There are the ones that are great music and a big production, and great music and very little production as well as a big production but maybe not the best music. In WAR’s case, it is all about the music and the message of peace and love. WAR had normal lighting and 3 backdrops. For a band that’s been around as long as WAR and has as many hits, the fans come to hear the music and that’s enough for a great concert. WAR played all their hits including “Slippin’ Into Darkness,” “The Cisco Kid,” “Spill the Wine,” “Me and Baby Brother,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” and “Low Rider.”

WAR is Lonnie Jordan (Keys/ Lead Vocals), Sal Rodriguez (Drums), Marcos Reyes (Percussion), Stuart Ziff (Guitar), Stanley Behrens (Harmonica), Scott Martin (Saxophone), and Rene Camacho (Bass).