John 5 made the whole crowd Feel Good at The Observatory North Park

The multi-talented instrumentalist and renowned heavy metal guitarist John 5 ended an impressive 3-month US tour at The Observatory North Park in San Diego.  This tour saw John 5 and The Creatures cover 27 cities in a short span across both coasts of the United States.  John 5 (John Lowery) is famously known as one of the most popular guitar slinging sideman in heavy metal, having played alongside David Lee Roth, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, and now as the newest member of Mötley Crüe.  At this solo show however, John 5 mostly focused mainly on his own intricate solo guitar compositions, but also threw in a medley of some his most recent famous collaborations to delight the large crowd eager to hear his most popular songs.

John 5 has created 10 solo albums since 2004, and at this concert he displayed his incredible skills by playing not only guitar, but also banjo, bass, and some sort of electric mini guitar or mandolin.  His mastery of every instrument he picked up was clear and his encyclopedic knowledge of modern rock music was also on display.  One of the most impressive things about seeing John 5 live is witnessing his playing technique close up; seeing him pull such an amazing tone and perfect execution out of his guitar riffs is inspiring.  He is able to drastically alter the sound of his instrument with just his hands, pick, and technique, not relying on pedals – always an impressive feat to witness up close.  Seeing him in this solo context is great because you can focus on his guitar work and not just the theatrics of whatever mega band he is a part of.

John 5’s set list at this show consisted of “Season of The Witch,” “Que Pasa,” “666 Picker’s,” “Strung Out,” “Cactus Flower,” “I am John 5,” “Black Grass,” a great cover of Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” a “Motley Medley” featuring tons of classic riffs that thrilled the audience, and closer “The Ghost” originally written as a tribute to John 5’s signature Fender telecaster guitar featured some pure guitar solo wizardry and amazing riffs. The guitarist’s backing band mainly consisted of LA based drummer Alejandro Mercado , known for his work with Alan Parsons, this hard hitting percussionist was the perfect even tempo backup to John 5’s insane guitar experimentation.  Mercado played rock solid grooves throughout the evening bouncing from style to style to follow along with all of the twists and turns in John 5’s catalog.  John 5’s guitar tech did fill on bass for a few songs and covers, but normal John 5 and the Creatures bassist Ian Ross was definitely missed.

As he mentioned on stage, John 5 began his solo touring career in San Diego back in 2015 at the Ramona Mainstage.  Much like that show in 2015, he showed off plenty of visual flair at this year’s concert, busting out the same glowing LED guitar he used at that first show along with a whole host of other visual props and a much newer and elaborate LED screen stage setup.  The guitarist clearly has love for San Diego and stated that he chose to end his tour here because of the love he has always gotten from San Diego fans.  John 5 is a truly virtuosic performer with seemingly no limits to his creativity, this latest Observatory show was just another example of his awesome skills, here’s hoping he continues his tradition of including San Diego amongst his many stops all over the world.

Photos and Review by: Alex Matthews