Eminem live: pure genius- even if for just 1 hour
By Kwaak Je-yup
In what was the most anticipated concert since Lady Gaga in April, Eminem did not disappoint in quality. On Sunday, the revolutionary rapper impressed the 20,000-plus audience at the Auxiliary Stadium of the Jamsil Sports Complex, southeastern Seoul, during the last stop on the artist’s “Recovery Tour.”
There was everything one would expect, his larger-than-life stage presence and flawless rhymes, and some surprises, too: guest artist and fellow American rapper Dr. Dre, the multiple heart signs Eminem made with arms above his head and even a very slight glimpse of a smile.
His artistry was in triumphant form so it was a shame that the concert lasted for just over an hour.
Fans agreed: “It was f—-ing good, until it ended!” said Dan Cho, whose dancing was cut short by the rapper’s sudden farewell announcement at one hour. (He even looked at his watch once during the show.) After the encore “Lose Yourself,” it looked like everyone was just getting in the mood to follow that order but had to go home.
Maybe this is the new post-rehab Eminem who can no longer sustain his signature anger for a lengthier, two-hour pull-out-all-the-stops show or maybe there was another reason.
Either way, there was a distinct sense that he was rushing through the set, with many of his masterpieces mixed into medleys and some of his less popular hits brushed aside after some 40-50 seconds.
When the songs were given the proper respect they deserved, Eminem was unbeatable.
There may have been fantastic supporting rapper Royce Da 5’9, an excellent band and a pre-recorded tape present but the rapper overpowered them all. When the instantly recognized lines from the likes of “Stan,” “The Way I Am,” and “Love the Way You Lie,” flew out of his mouth, the crowd went wild, singing along as if they were at a K-pop concert. Eminem seemed visibly touched.
In Seoul, as well as in Tokyo a couple of nights before, another rapper extraordinaire graced the stage. Dr. Dre, who appeared after Eminem’s hit “My Name Is,” replaced the usual set of “The Real Slim Shady” and “Without Me” with his own hits “The Next Episode” and “Forgot About Dre.” He was in a league of his own, drawing some of the loudest applause. The latter track was one of the few during the set that were sung in entirety.
What made this show so special was, first and foremost, the fine display of a pure genius at work.
His diction could make a presidential candidate jealous and his breath control could trump that of a synchronized swimmer or an opera singer.
In an era where most singers and rappers cannot perform their own over-produced songs without pre-recorded vocals, Eminem gave a lesson on how it’s done with style.
For logistics, the organizers can claim no stars. Choosing a smaller venue than the adjacent Olympic Stadium may have avoided the nightmare seen at Lady Gaga’s April concert there but the most of the crowd was still stuck standing inside that main arena for an inexplicable entry-exit system.
Noticeably untrained ushers yelled at attendees to walk faster, treating them like school children on a field trip. VVIP ticketholders, meanwhile, had valet parking service.
Finally, the government media rating board, which attracted considerable flak for giving an adult-only rating to Gaga’s concert, permitted this show to be open to those over 12. This decision only showed its incompetence and irrelevance as the show was riddled with swear words, as expected from a rap concert. The Korea Media Rating Board needs a rating themselves.