John 5 at Vamp’d in Las Vegas, NV

John 5 and the Creatures bring the Invasion 2019 Tour to Vamp’d in Las Vegas for an intense night of guitar focused music.

Most fans of the heavy metal and hard rock genre are familiar with John 5 for his work with Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson, so it is easy to see why he draws a big crowd but as one of the top guitarists around people are treated to so much more when they see him live. Las Vegas is lucky when he tours he always makes a stop at Vamp’d and as he explains tonight he loves this place and he will always stop here which is exactly what this crowd wants to hear. It is a packed house for a Thursday night and at precisely 10 PM the curtain opens to reveal the stage which is decorated with a horror carnival theme. As John 5 takes the stage with his platform boots and elevated platform, he towers above the crowd.  As expected from those familiar with him and the bands he’s played with, he embraces the theatrical but he is so much more than the image.

His playing ability is rivaled by none and this night of instrumental music showcases that perfectly. Opening with “Season of the Witch,” “This is my Rifle” and “Six Hundred and Sixty Six Pickers in Hell,” the crowd gets a taste of what they are in for. The music is a little metal, a little funk, a little country and even a little electronic at times. John 5 spends most of the time front and center on the platform but he interacts with the crowd and delivers exactly what they want. He focuses on the playing but smiles his signature smile to the crowd throughout. There is limited conversation but that is fine. Again, the focus is his playing and the collection of guitars that he performs with all of which add to the intense visual of the performance. The crowd doesn’t care that these aren’t singalong songs until the end when he performs “I Am John 5.”  They are there to see this performance and they are not disappointed.  

About three quarters of the way through the set is when John 5 first begins to speak in depth to the crowd.  He introduces the song “Zoinks” stating he’s a big horror and Scooby Doo fan. The crowd loves it. After this he asks if the crowd is ready to get funky, his answer to their resounding “yes” is to play a unique version of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” This is not a traditional cover, John 5 makes it his own. After this he launches into an impressive medley of songs that cover a wide genre and are recognizable from the first notes. The medley includes “My Sherona,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Detroit Rock City,” “Running with the Devil” and “Black Hole Sun” to name a few but there are many more. Of course, the medley also includes “Thunderkiss 1965” and “The Beautiful People” from his two most well known bands. At this point you begin to think the only thing that is missing is Pantera and almost on cue he launches into “I’m Broken” and “Walk.”  When the final notes of “Walk” are played confetti cannons spray the crowd.

It is at this point you would think we are done, but not quite yet. There are two more songs to be played – the prior mentioned sing along “I Am John 5” and “Midnight Mass.” This sixteen song set is so much more than sixteen songs. The crowd is treated to originals, covers and a medley to end all medleys. It is easy to see why John 5 likes playing this venue and why the crowd sells out every time he is here. This venue allows the crowd the chance to see one of the best guitarists up close and personal. Not only is his playing amazing but visually the performance is a sight to see and should not be missed.

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About Abigail Buckler 43 Articles
A Las Vegas based photographer, I enjoy shooting a variety of things but my primary focus is Travel, Music, Nature and Wildlife. My goal through my projects including Music, Event and Animal photography is to capture the candid moments that tell the story. They are singular moment of time, my goal is to take the viewer back to that point and the memories. I discovered photography is my passion. This allows me to incorporate my long standing love of music and travel into this art form. For me live music and concerts are who I am, and concerts and travel often went hand in hand. Now photography has brought these all together for me in a new and exciting way.

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