Home / Headline News / Live Review + Gallery: John 5 at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA (01.26.2024)

Live Review + Gallery: John 5 at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA (01.26.2024)

John 5 kicked off his solo tour in style selling out The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA and brought blues guitarist Jared James Nichols and tribute band The Atomic Punks along for the ride. John 5 isn’t slowing down at all since touring the world with Mötley Crüe last year and his desire to play for his fans grows everyday.

Local Southern California legends The Atomic Punks opened the night and gave us all a healthy dose of early Van Halen. Hits that included “Panama”, “Hot for Teacher”, “Loss of Control”, and “Runnin’ with the Devil” were played to perfection with guitarist Frankie Lindia making it look easy. Vocalist Brian Geller didn’t hold back and sang his heart out the entire set. Drummer Scott Patterson sounded amazing while newest member on the bass Danny Spree fit in perfectly. These guys were so much fun to watch live that you’ll need to see them multiple times to truly appreciate what they do.

Jared James Nichols was next and gave the crowd a taste of authentic blues power. He started the night with three tracks from his self titled album that came out in January of ’23 “Easy Come, Easy Go”, “Down the Drain”, and “Hard Wired”. His bandmates, bassist Brian Weaver and drummer Ryan Rice, keep the beat and groove going while Jared shreds with his hands. This man doesn’t use a pick while playing so all the power of the blues flows through his hands straight to his six string he’s playing at any moment. “Threw Me to the Wolves” (2022) and “Skin ‘N Bone”, off of 2021’s EP Shadow Dancer were played next followed by a couple more from 2023’s self titled album “Bad Roots” and “Good Time Girl”. “Nails in the Coffin” which is a single from 2019, was played next followed by “Keep Your Light on Mama” the only track played off of 2017’s Black Magic album. The set ended with a brilliant cover of Alice In Chains’s “Man In The Box” and everyone in the venue sang along. Be sure to catch a live show by Jared and his band whenever they tour, it’s an experience you won’t forget!

John 5 walked out on stage and gave Santa Ana a worthy kick off show for his tour that will run until March 1st. His presence is felt where ever he goes and anywhere he performs whether it’s on a solo tour, with his band, or with his new gig as a permanent member in Mötley Crüe. If you haven’t seen this living guitar legend live then do yourself a favor and make it happen.

The 2017 song “Season of the Witch”, which is the title track to the popular album, opened the night and got the crowd moving to the melodies. “Que Pasa” followed which had the audience singing the Dave Mustaine part which made John smile while playing. “Six Hundred and Sixty Six Picker in Hell Ca” from 2014’s Careful With That Axe album was next and showed the amazing talents that John 5 has as he shreds on his guitar. “Howdy” from 2019’s Invasion album got everyone in the country mood while “Crank It – Living With Ghosts” off the same album got everyone back into the rock mode head banging with their hands in the air. At this point he switched out his guitar for a bass and improvised a little jam session for the audience.

With his guitar back in his hands he continued to show why he’s one of the greatest guitarist out there playing his 2023 single “Strung Out” as everyone stared at his hands creating magic in front of them. The mellow tack “Cactus Flower” gave everyone time to relax and regroup before his anthem “I Am John 5” ripped through the venue. As John 5 plays these songs he is always switching up the guitar he’s playing and likes to put on masks or cloths around his face to match his songs. His LED guitar is one of a kind and sets a certain mood while being played. A big head mascot of John 5 also comes out during a song and dances around as if he is the real John 5. A handful of big balloons are released into the crowd at one point and flow with the energy in the venue during the set and the crowd loves it.

A highlight of the night was a medley of Mötley Crüe hits that had The Observatory singing each song, hits such as “Too Fast For Love”, “Looks That Kill”, “Girls, Girls, Girls”, and “Dr. Feelgood”. John 5’s guitar tech jumped on bass for these tracks and everyone applauded him for helping out. The night ended with “The Ghost”, which is the latest single that has been released, and “Land Of The Misfit Toys” off of 2021’s Sinner. John always takes the time to let the audience know how much he appreciates them and that he has the time of his life on stage playing for his fans; the audience erupts into a piercing cheer and lets him know that they feel the same way. John 5 isn’t slowing down anytime soon so make sure you go see him live no matter where or with who he’s playing with, you won’t be disappointed.

The Atomic Punks

Jared James Nichols

John 5

John 5 setlist:

Season of the Witch
Que Pasa
Six Hundred and Sixty Six Pickers in Hell Ca
Howdy
Crank It – Living With Ghosts
Bass Jam
Strung Out
Cactus Flower
I AM John 5
How High The Moon
The Black Grass Plague
Creepshow
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Mötley Crüe Medley
The Ghost
Land Of The Misfit Toys

About Charles Yozgott

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