John 5 – Tupelo Music Hall – Derry, NH

Photos and Review by Colleen Goyer


John 5’s solo project came to the Tupelo Music Hall in Derry for Valentine’s Day, performing to a full room of engaged fans. The show was perfect for the intimate venue allowing for interaction between the artist and the crowd.

Aside from a few tracks where John 5’s guitar technician stepped in to play the bass, the entire performance primarily featured Alex R. on drums and John 5 showcasing his skills on various guitars. Richard, the guitar technician, was kept on his toes with frequent guitar swaps throughout the set. John 5 played a variety of instruments, including his signature Telecasters, a glowing guitar, several mini guitars, a bass, and even a banjo. These instruments showcased the broad spectrum of genres John 5 excels in, such as country, classic hits, and metal, all performed instrumentally. His music, marked by his virtuoso technique, is not only highly recognizable but also a phenomenal experience to both hear and see.

While the focus was primarily on the music with minimal dialogue, John 5 did sprinkle in some commentary to provide context and a touch of humor. The stage setup was simple, featuring a few props, including multiple screens on either side that displayed classic horror films and imagery from the mid-19th century. A notable addition was a large, bobble-head-like figure of John 5 that accompanied him for a song, moving across the stage. Additionally, the guitar technician released several large white balloons into the audience, which were passed around from the front to the back of the venue. John 5 even participated, hitting a balloon back into the crowd without missing a beat in his performance.

It being Valentine’s Day, John performed Cactus Flower, a song he wrote for his wife, who came out on the stage for the occasion sharing a little Valentine’s Day romantic moment.
John 5 jokingly mentioned that he has joined a new band recently and then played a medley of guitar riffs from MC’s catalog, recognized by the entire crowd.
He ended the set and the evening with a little ode to another guitar great, playing the Star-Spangled Banner with a non-standard technique. Bet you can picture it.
A great evening of guitar virtuosity and a great way to spend Valentine’s Day or any night for that matter.