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District VIPs Get Funky With George Clinton & Trombone Shorty During Howard Theatre Grand Opening Concert!

By Daniel Swartz on April 11, 2012
GRAMMY-nominated Trombone Shorty headlined the VIP Grand Opening Concert for Howard Theatre.
GRAMMY-nominated Trombone Shorty headlined the VIP Grand Opening Concert for Howard Theatre.
Be sure to check out all 206 of our photographs from this event HERE!
The Guest List:
NORTHWEST -- Close to a thousand D.C. movers and shakers bore witness to history on Tuesday evening, as Trombone Shorty and George Clinton took the stage of the recently renovated Howard Theatre for an exclusive grand opening concert.

The latest in a week-long series of celebrations (a ribbon-cutting ceremony and community outreach concert by D.C. native rapper Wale was held on Monday) feting the rebirth of the historic arts landmark, the guest list only event cut a wide swath across all areas of city life, with business leaders, government officials (some of whom helped green light the refurbishment), athletes, journalists, restaurateurs, and media personalities all crowding the freshly painted buildings bright red carpet for the chance to preview the new space.

Everyone from NFL Hall of Famer Darrell Green to Washingtonian President and Publisher Cathy Merrill Williams to D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen to Washington Kastles owner Mark Ein to radio hosts Tommy McFLY and Samy K to news anchors Pamela Brown and Eun Yang to restaurant mogul Bo Blair was spotted getting funky in the audience.

Guests were treated to a full open bar, including a barrage of specialty cocktails and premium wines, as well as a sea of passed hors doeuvres from the theatres own kitchen (which itself boasts a menu created by award-winning New York chef Marcus Samuelsson).

But despite the free flowing libations and passed bites, the star attraction of the night in addition to the $29 million newly renovated theater itself, of course was the live concert that kicked-off just before 8:30 p.m.

With James Brown MC Danny Ray spearheading the hour-long show, GRAMMY album-nominated jazz band Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue effortlessly dove into a live performance that the Washington Post has described as a near-deafening, funk-charged blast of percussion, brass, reeds and guitar distortion that might have knocked the crowd sideways had there been any room to move.

Indeed, Trombone and his crew were only temporarily upstaged when legendary P-Funk singer and songwriter George Clinton joined them about midway through the set. Last night, of course, wasnt Clintons first time at Howard Theatre. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee even went so far as to produce a live album at the old venue, which was recorded in 1978. And yesterday, Clinton was clearly back in his element, with his goddaughter in tow (and stealing focus on stage).

First opened in 1910 as the largest colored theatre in the world, Howard Theatre spent most of the 20th century entertaining Washington audiences with a variety of music, dance, comedy, and drama performances. When segregation was a polarizing issue in the United States, the space offered a welcome respite for artists and patrons alike, where color barriers blurred and music unified. The 7th Street theatre served as the launch pad for many well known artists, including Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Duke Ellington, and Ella Fitzgerald, to name but a few, before falling into disrepair in the 1980s.

Howard Theatres return is therefore something figuratively and literally the District should be jazzed about!

Be sure to check out all 206 of our photographs from this event HERE!
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