Live @ Suncorp Stadium (20/02/2014)
Supported by Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, 360 and Action Bronson
It was billed as a 'festival', but I'm going to be honest here and say this. We all know who (mostly) everyone was there to see. There was one name that carried this so called 'festival' and without that name, there is no way the other four artists could dream of filling a venue the size of Suncorp Stadium, in Australia at least. So, having said this, I will remind y'all that I am a blogger, I will admit I kept my nine to five day job and opted to stay at work while Action Bronson and 360 played last Thursday afternoon. Updated via text from a very good friend who was there early, I heard what I needed to know about the supports ("Who hasn't seen 360 and who is this Action Brosnon anyway?") and made my way to the locally known Suncorp (drop the Stadium, that's a formality) after fighting an hour of traffic to get home first (hey hip hop fans, I have news for you, if you show your concert ticket to a bus driver you'll get free transport to your gig at Suncorp. Remember that for next time, alright?)
I'm not the world's biggest fan of Kendrick Lamar, but I did wanna see what his hype was about. I see it. He can rap. He can rap good. He has a talent for saying all those words really really quickly and he does it with a sense of style that a lot of hip hop artists would only dream of. Kendrick did everything Kendrick needed to do to entertain, he did justice to a half empty stadium who were mostly waiting for the guy after him to play, and I have to give credit where credit is due, he's a really good rapper. I don't necessarily always relate or love, but I can see why people do and Kendrick Lamar isn't an artist who is going to go away quietly anytime soon.
Which brings us to the main guy. A white screen hanging across the front of the stage and a silhouette of a man with a hood made the audience make some serious noise. When the curtain dropped and Marshall Mathers and friend; Mr (self proclaimed 'mother-fucking') Porter ran across the stage there was roar that might have woken the dead if there were any left in the graves left under Suncorp (urban myth, probably not true). Opening with 'Survival' and busting through a bunch of songs without a breath, Eminem and Mr Porter completely own the stage, running, hopping, jumping, dancing from one end to the other, rapping, singing and screaming to each other, to the band and to the crowd, from the hardcore fans in the very front row to the suckers in the nose bleed seats.
Eminem was incredibly captivating, so it might have taken me a couple of songs to realise, but once I recognised the lights on stage in the shape of a sideways 'E' with his band standing atop said 'E', I couldn't help but admire their skills; this is a band that are tight, incredibly talented for being able to keep up with the speed and personality of both rappers and without stepping out of the shadows too much, there's no doubt this is a band that are as talented as the man that leads them.
Highlights? 'Criminal' was equally intriguing and entertaining, 'Kill You' was live rap genius, 'Lighters' was exactly as it should be in a live setting, 'Love The Way You Lie' made the crowd incredibly happy and 'Bezerk' is possibly now one of my new fave tracks. Eminem is a rapper, but there's a reason he has achieved the fame and success he has, and that's because he is an entertainer of the classic variety, ensuring that every person in the stadium has something of him in mind to take home with them. He is the type of guy that would hold the attention of the entire stadium even without the lights and the stage and the amps, he has that magic thing that so many from so many genres try to achieve, but it's the thing you either have or you don't. It's that star factor, the attention seeker and the entertainer that demands attention. I couldn't help but stare, there's something about him that just needs to be seen, needs to be watched and needs to be enjoyed. If it isn't the hilarious Slim Shady "demanding your attention please", then it's the manic, vicious and angry Eminem "I am nuts for real, but I'm okay with that, it's nothing, I'm still friends with the monster..." and if it's not that guy, then maybe it's the thoughtful, introspective Eminem "I meant to write you sooner but I just been busy..."
He left with my favourite Eminem, the one who gets it, who understands exactly what he is doing and doesn't take for granted any stadium he plays, any fan he's made. That's the Eminem that left his Brisbane audience exactly the way they should be, exactly the way any fan of music should be at the end of a gig, big or small. It's the way I left Suncorp on Thursday night, knowing I'd seen a rap god (his words, not mine), an incredibly talented musician, someone I'd be more than happy to see again. Ultimately, he's a sometimes misunderstood rap genius, with a lot of honest and important words to say and none more important than the ones he left Brisbane with last Thursday night...."you better lose yourself in the music, the moment, you own it, you better never let it go..."