Eminem was the real deal

SITTING on a train in Sydney, waiting to go to Morisset on Sunday night, I was browsing through my friends' Facebook status updates when one of my buddies commented that she was going to see Eminem in Sydney that night.

A few flustered phone calls later and a quick confirmation that there were still tickets available and I was off the train, headed to the Sydney Football Stadium to see one of the artists I have admired since I was about 17.

A lot had been said and written about the formerly bleach-blond rapper in the 10 years that I had been a fan.

It had been a decade since he toured Australia, in performances the rapper claims not to remember because he was too high at the time.

This time round he was completely sober and, listening to him address the audience as I sat in the second-last row in bay 47, he declared that this time round he intends to remember every moment.

A series of support acts warmed up the crowd before Eminem - also known as Marshall Mathers - made his arrival, with the Hilltop Hoods and Lil Wayne, fresh out of prison.

These acts are capable of providing more than just a little bit of entertainment themselves, but there is no doubting who the crowd really wanted to see.

There was a massive roar when Eminem came to the stage.

First up he performed several tracks from his last few albums.

While the crowd was more than willing to indulge him, the real energy was reserved for when Eminem performed two medleys of his greatest hits, including My Name Is, Without Me, Cleaning Out My Closet, Sing for the Moment and the Real Slim Shady.

The issue for those in the nosebleed section, such as myself, was the sound. The acoustics at the Sydney shows were atrocious and erratic at best.

But the sheer passion of the man on stage did ease the pain of not being able to hear the classics perfectly.

Being clean and sober is obviously working for Eminem. At 39, he seems to have more energy than ever.

His performances of Stan, Love the Way You Lie and Not Afraid brought the crowd to life.

At one point Eminem addressed "the ladies" in the audience and earned himself a flash from one of the women in the mosh pit.

After 10 years, it's clear the crowd has not lost its love for his smart, provocative lyrics and people of all ages were there to see the show.

It was his final song, however, that really got the crowd going.

The track from his semi-autobiographic movie 8 Mile, Lose Yourself, got the whole crowd rocking and it was a shame it was the last song of the night.

He was only on stage for about an hour and a half when all the support acts were said and done, but somehow he managed to cover a wide range of his music.

There were complaints about the medley format that cut short some of his most popular songs.

In a show that had to be compacted, it allowed him to get through a broader range of his music.

And, as the crowd left the stadium, it was incredible to hear how many people were still listening to his songs on their iPods or blaring Lose Yourself from their car stereos - obviously a lot of Slim Shady is never enough.

Topics:  eminem

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