Photography by Jeremy Deputat
Eminem last staged a show in Australia in 2014 as part of his Rapture tour. Now, almost five years on, the prolific rapper finally made his return Down Under in support of his latest album, Kamikaze. Last night, Marshall Mathers kicked off his four-date Australian tour at Brisbane’s Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre in style.
The stadium, which was originally built for the 1982 Commonwealth Games, is a strange location for the rap star. But despite being a monolith better suited to spectating track and field, the sports hub was easily filled by 40,000 true believers, who anxiously waited for Slim Shady to arrive.
Before the man’s arrival, the biggest cheers go to Adelaide natives Hilltop Hoods. The hip hop group pack a heavy punch, leading the audience through a series of fist-pumping ragers, including their well-known hits “Leave Me Lonely” and “Cosby Sweater.”
By the time Hilltop Hoods end their set, the stadium is already roaring in anticipation, with concertgoers wildly stomping in the stands.
In a classic showbiz move, we hear Eminem before we see him. And as soon as he appears on stage, cell phones light up the crowd, fireworks launch from behind him and the rapper dives into the first track, “Greatest.” He then swiftly follows up with fan favorites like “Square Dance,” “Like Toy Soldiers” and “Cinderella Man.”
His delivery of the aptly titled “Rap God,” a cut off The Marshall Mathers LP2, lives up to its name and somehow exceeds expectations. The performance is a showcase of Eminem’s spitting at its best. The lyrical execution for “Lucky You,” is also nothing short of perfection.
A mix of surprises and nostalgic delight, the night offers plenty of memorable cameos, including ones from Boogie and Royce da 5’9”. One of the highlights is Skylar Grey’s appearance, who joins Eminem on stage to perform “Walk on Water.” The pair go on to perform “Stan,” “The Monster” and “Love the Way You Lie,” a song which Grey co-wrote. The latter is a clear hit with the audience as they sing along word-for-word, never missing a beat.
For “The Real Slim Shady,” Eminem makes use of the expansive stage, running from one end to the other and feeding off the crowd’s energy. It is showmanship par excellence: Wherever he goes, or whatever direction he takes, the audience are right there with him, hanging on to every word.
Finally, we reach the encore. Eminem takes the stage one last time to perform “Lose Yourself,” and suddenly we’re transported to in 2002, back on that 8 Mile road.
Eminem successfully puts on one hell of a show—just barely making up for the questionable choice of venue.
Contributed by: Laryssa Fiu