With a beautiful sunset above and the Melbourne skyline poking behind the stadium, the God of Rap graced the MCG smashing the attendance record for a single concert only with 80,708 fans in attendance. The third Rapture show of 2019, a day after the 20th anniversary of the iconic Slim Shady LP, proved Eminem, real name Marshall Mathers III, is going nowhere.
Standing in disbelief, Eminem screamed “This is the most people I have seen in one place in my f***ing life”. At the top of their lungs, nearly 81,000 fans sang along to his biggest hits Love The Way You Lie, Not Afraid, and Lose Yourself and these fans continued singing all the way home. Ear-splitting screams erupted in gratitude for the man who has gone through so much and it still standing here today and electrifying the masses.
With the lights flickering off, the audience immediately fell silent, a wave of sheer excitement quivering in the air. A King Kong-esque VT marked his arrival before dramatic music and visuals followed by dramatic flashing lights upped the suspense. Coming out from behind black curtains dressed in a hoodie, he launched into Greatest which was accompanied by fireworks.
A tantalising 32 tracks were fired through from across Eminem’s career: from classic Kill You to Ed Sheeran collab River. His rapid fire lyrics and sharp technical raps gaining awe and immense respect from the crowd were accompanied by flashing lights and strobe lighting which ended on a literal bang with fireworks. The production may have been minimal, but he didn’t need any frills. He is the star. Everything else is second.
Supported onstage by hypeman Mr. Porter, the conversation in between tracks did feel very awkward at time with Mr. Porter dominating it and taking about how great Eminem is at talking selfies. However, he perfectly supported Eminem’s rapping. Supporting acts Boogie made an appearance as they covered Boogie’s song Rainy Days and Royce da 5’9” joined him for Caterpillar and Fast Lane. Skylar Grey made several appearances beautifully covering the female vocals in Stan, Love The Way You Lie, and The Monster.
He dedicated Not Afraid to “anyone who’s ever had or is struggling” because he understands what they’re going through. The almost 81,000 strong crowd sand along and held onto every word. It’s incredibly important that artists with such a platform bring attention to mental health and I’m sure that it hit many people, including myself, who are struggling really hard at the moment. As I’m writing this, I’m listening back to his performance of the song as it’s bringing me to tears. That’s what you call art and the power of art.
Eminem proved he is hip hop and rap’s greatest showman. Bouncing across the stage with immense energy, spitting out lyrics faster than any other rapper, let alone you and I, he showed that age is just a number and redefined what is relevant in today’s society. He may be 46 but he had the energy of someone half his age and a career spanning decades where his early hits are just as loved now as they were back in the day. It was a masterclass in captivating your audience.
So how good was the gig? To answer this, I have to ask: was it worth the epic migraine, extreme chest pain, back-breaking back pain and overall head to toe agony? Hell yes, it was. And as soon as they get comfortable disabled seating in the circle, I’ll be there front row for Eminem’s next tour.