Many times, a concert is just a concert. Other times, you get more than you bargained for. That was the case last night as John 5 brought his insanely talented Creatures to the Cleveland Agora, and proceeded to give the near capacity crowd a show they won’t soon forget. More on that in a moment…
I have attended many, many shows over the last 30+ years, and I can only recall 2 times where I stood just feet away from a person playing a musical instrument and was legitimately emotionally moved by their playing. The first was Billy Sheehan absolutely destroying his bass with Mr. Big. Second was Prince, making sounds come out of a guitar that did not seem at all humanly possible. After last night, I can officially add John 5 to that esteemed list. After pondering for a while what the common thread was between these three experiences, I finally figured it out. All three individuals had not only the highest level of talent imaginable, but also the greatest amount of passion for their instrument. That combination is something magical, and John 5 squeezed every ounce of talent and passion he had, and left it on the Agora stage last night.
They tore through a set made up primarily of songs from 2014’s ‘Careful With That Axe,’ as well as the new release ‘Season Of The Witch.’ John 5 is well-known for switching styles at the drop of a hat, but in a live setting, it is even more stunning to behold. To witness him tear through a straight metal song with fingers flying at the speed of light, to deftly picking a banjo a few minutes later, is truly something to behold. Plus we got the whole bag of tricks, including the lava lamp guitar, the LED lit guitar, his guitar being handed to the crowd to play, really something for everyone. I even got a fantastic personal experience when during ‘Making Monsters,’ John 5 came to the front of the stage, grabbed me around my head, and proceeded to still crush the song being head to head with me. Oh, and the medley to close out the show? Mind blowing. There were homages to Van Halen, Ted Nugent, Alice In Chains, White Zombie, KISS, The Police, Rush, Led Zeppelin, Marilyn Manson, and many more.
So I mentioned earlier about it being “more than a concert.” To expand on that a bit, what I mean was I walked away inspired…inspired to really nail down what it is that I am passionate about and commit myself to it. When you watch John 5 play, you are seeing someone who never wakes up in the morning and begrudgingly forces himself to play guitar. He probably dreams about guitars (in between dreams about KISS, Mad Monster Party, Planet of the Apes, etc.). His passion and joy that he exudes while being on stage and playing for people is undoubtedly contagious, and I’m sure he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Guitars, Tits and Monsters
Flight of the Vulcan Kelly
Here’s to the Crazy Ones
This Is My Rifle
Season of the Witch
Portrait of Sydney Sloan
Black Grass Plague
Behind the Nut Love
Beat It (Michael Jackson cover)
Now Fear This