What would the ultimate rock n’ bowl experience be like? Anyone who was in attendance at Discovery in Ventura, California on April 11th were graced with a live show with John 5 and The Creatures plus a few surprise guests like Sebastian Bach ex-frontman from Skid Row and Stephen Pearcy from RATT. In support of his first live solo album titled It’s Alive, John 5 continues to be referred to as one of the hottest shredders on the planet right now by both his peers and his fans alike as he repeatedly raises the bar through his prodigious and effortless versatility, inventiveness and talent as both a musician and a songwriter.
The show opened with Santa Barbara based band Stomprocket who brought the place to life from the first song. The crowd was still thin at that point but people began filtering in slowly but surely and the band fed off the anticipation in the crowd. Four piece band Hero, Jr. from Indianapolis was a force to be reckoned with. With their classic hard rock sound echoing throughout the venue, more people headed towards the stage. While there seems to be a saturating wave of classic rock revival groups these days, Hero, Jr. stood out with their high energy and unique vibe.
The crew then set up the stage to look as if it was straight out of a classic horror movie. Expressive of John 5’s lifelong obsession for the film genre, the screen downstage played scenes from horror movies old and new along with Nursery Rhymes like Old MacDonald, Itsy Bitsy Spider, the theme from Twilight Zone and Michael Jackson’s Thriller. It was an undeniably odd yet entertaining appetizer before the main course. As everyone turned to each other trying to figure out the inspiration behind the overture,
John 5 and The Creatures finally joined the fans and getting the party officially started with Flight Of The Vulcan Kelly, Here’s To The Crazy Ones and This Is My Rifle instantly escalating the energy in the crowd as the place continued to fill up. Switching up guitars throughout the show from his prized possession named Goldy to a banjo and a lava guitar filled with green antifreeze and black lights for effect brought a special visual element to the show. His level of skillfulness is limitless and it is safe to say that there isn’t anything that John 5 cannot master when he has his genius mind set on it. Taking a moment to thank everyone for coming out including his wife Rita who John 5 stated “never comes to any shows but she is here tonight” switched the focus for a moment and showed the sentimental side of John 5.
Metallica’s Enter Sandman which has been re-mastered by John 5 and is available on iTunes quickly brought on a singalong with the crowd. And as the show went on, although people were truly enjoying themselves, Sebastian Bach comes out to sing a few and since his birthday had just passed, John 5 prompted everyone to sing Happy Birthday and will be remembered as a highlight. With a piece of paper in hand, he gives it to an audience member and asks him to hold it because he refuses to ever go on stage in glasses and wants to make sure he gets all the words right. Belting out a cover of KISS’s Parasite and Motley Crue’s Shout At The Devil in his esteemed powerhouse vocals, not one person held back in banging their heads and singing along. RATT’s Stephen Pearcy showed up to sing a cover of Van Halen’s Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love and just when you thought things couldn’t get any hotter in Ventura that night, it did. Finishing off with Medley and a cover of Michael Jackson’s Beat It, John 5’s effort to find new and exciting ways to keep fans entertained during an instrumental show paid off in epic proportions.
This one will be a memory that will forever keep Ventura on the map and from how much John expressed his appreciation for the city it was the cherry on top of the sensational performance by John 5 and The Creatures. Hopefully, they will make it back again soon.
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