Another Thursday night, another big evening in New York at the Gramercy Theatre for a night of thrills, chills, and unexpected musical surprises presented by John 5.

First up was indulging in a beast of an Eastsider burger at my favorite East Village eatery, Paul’s Da Burger Joint. When it got closer to show time, I walked to East 23rd Street and waited until doors opened at 7:00. Attendees had plenty of time to have some drinks and peruse the merch table before getting locked in the insane world of John 5 for an hour and change.

At nine-thirty, it was time for the star attraction. John 5!

More than a mere shredder, John is like Dr. Frederick Frankenstein on stage. Not only does John 5 have the energy of a young Ace Frehley, but John can also keep the audience compelled with the guitar voodoo that he does, spellbound by the sorcery. John 5 is so powerful that his amp head blew out halfway into Que Pasa. It was one of the most Spinal Tap-esque moments I have seen happen on stage, with another that floated throughout the performance. Those moments is what makes a concert one hundred percent live. After some quick restoration to the power supply, John delivered a one-hundred percent live and quality rock and roll show, taking it from the top and striking back with Season of the Witch. John took the audience on a guitar-driven ride going up and down and round and round. It’s no wonder Ace Frehley and Kerry King were also in attendance. John also dedicated Behind the Nut Love to Ace Frehley.

Unlike most instrumental performers, John loves to switch up his gear. John’s armory of guitars is another experience altogether, no matter how much live concert footage on Youtube can show you. His guitars, no matter the size or style, had their moments.

John 5 played for a good hour filled with awesome tunes from most of his discography with the Creatures, featuring tasty jams like Six Hundred and Sixty Six Pickers in Hell, CA, Creepshow, The Black Grass Plague, and more. Other highlights included big head mode John 5 dancing around throughout I Am John 5, and it wouldn’t have been complete without another Spinal Tap moment. During John’s set, clean bass parts seemed to come out of nowhere – until we realized that one of John’s road crew was clanking on them while obscured behind the stage setup. While John 5 regularly displays Ian Ross live as his parts add a beastly bottom end to the famed guitarist’s sound, but Ross is no longer a member of the Creatures.

Creatures drummer Alejandro Mercado did get a moment to shine by banging out a tight drum solo that led into the meaty intro from Van Halen’s Hot for Teacher. What followed was John turning the mic over to the audience to harmonize Queen’s Crazy Little Thing Called Love and then into something special that received the loudest reaction of the night, with John showcasing the significance of Mick Mars’s supersonic and demonic time in Motley Crue by way of a ten song motley medley of cuts for more crowd participation that included Live Wire, Looks That Kill, Dr. Feelgood, and many more. There was even a partial musical nod to John’s time with Marilyn Manson to honor the Eurythmics song, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) and partially covering the classic Kiss track, Detroit Rock City.

As the night sorted out with The Ghost, the people exited the Gramercy Theatre while dragging their still proverbial jaws across the concrete. Overall it was a great night. I could see John a hundred thousand times, and I’ll never get tired of it. No two John 5 shows are alike. You will know his name by the time he’s finished. No amount of words cannot describe a John 5 experience or if this concert report can fully encapsulate a John 5 show. John 5 puts a LOT of work into his performances, and it shows. Eternal hails to the mad axeman. I am sure of the way that John perceives it. If you intend on making your guitar a part of the show, why not do it with some style?