John 5 delivers a masterclass in technical guitar ability at The Blind Tiger in Greensboro, NC
It’s not that often that you get to see a guitarist deliver a show that is all about them and their abilities on their axes, many big-name shredders have begun offering opportunities to see them show their skills in solo headlining runs across the world. When the opportunity came up that former Manson and current Rob Zombie guitarist John 5 was making a stop in my backyard in Greensboro, I knew I had to be there. After seeing the images of him on stage and being a fan of his solo work, I saw it as an opportunity to see the man, the myth, the legend in person and hopefully walk away with some pretty awesome photos of him in action. Even though The Blind Tiger and I have one of those love-hate relationships, mainly because of their lighting rig that needs some serious work and their horrible acoustics, but the venue does get some heavy-hitters in the metal scene to stop in.
I showed up to the venue shortly before John 5 was set to take the stage, getting my camera ready for what I expected to be an amazing show. The stage was getting prepped with large Halloween inflatables and John’s custom riser as I took my place in the small photo pit. When John 5 walked out on stage the crowd of a few hundred erupted as he opened his set with “Flight of Vulcan Kelly”. Seeing the master at work was definitely one of those experience that you will take with you once the show has been a distant memory. His masterful knowledge of his instrument and display of talent is something that is only matched by the greatest of people to pick up a 6-string.
Now despite his skills on guitar and the unique collection of his weapons of shredding and string bending, I walked away from this show slightly disappointed. Why? Don’t get me wrong here, John 5 is extremely talented at what he does but the one thing that killed me the most was the overall lack of energy on stage. He moved around the stage a bit, standing in a few places and he melted everyone’s faces in attendance, but the overall energy of the show was a bit lackluster. And before you start calling for the firing squad on me, I know musicians of his caliber are more focused on giving fans the best display of abilities on their instrument than running around the stage. I guess I’ve been spoiled with some huge shows that left my mind blown or maybe it was the curse of The Blind Tiger that killed it for me.
Overall, would I recommend going to this show? Undoubtedly yes! You don’t get many opportunities to see artists that are that skilled and talented at their instruments like this and the show was worth the trip out to Greensboro, but I would recommend seeing it somewhere else for now. I think if The Blind Tiger would invest a bit more attention to the important aspects of hosting shows, like lighting and sound the venue has an opportunity to be a Metal powerhouse in the Triad Area.
All photos © James Geiser