Wonderful tale about tracking down what really happened to one of the wildest, most iconic set pieces of 1970s rock shows, the Parliament-Funkadelic Mothership. Forget about Kiss, the Mothership was ten times cooler. George Clinton is a god. From the Washington Post:
Before the Mothership was built, it was a concept. Parliament released “Mothership Connection” in 1975, an album with a title track about hitchhiking to cosmic transcendence: “Swing down, sweet chariot. Stop and let me ride.” Clinton started dreaming up a tour to match. After watching the Who’s 1969 rock opera “Tommy,” he asked himself: “How do you do a funk opera? What about [black people] in space?”
He called upon David Bowie’s tour producer, Jules Fisher, to help bring the Mothership to life. “This was theater. This was drama,” says Fisher, a renowned Broadway lighting designer. “Current shows like U2 and the Stones—they don’t provide this narrative arc.”
The Mothership was assembled in Manhattan and made its first descent in New Orleans from the rafters of Municipal Auditorium on Oct. 27, 1976.
Minds were blown.
I’ll bet they were! The Mothership lands about 8 minutes in on the below clip. This must have been so amazing to see live.
In Maryland, George Clinton, Parliament-Funkadelic and a missing Mothership (Washington Post)