Monday, January 21, 2019

Eminem at Lollapalooza 2011

Posted by shore On August - 7 - 2011

@AndyShore Eminem often gets put in the GOAT (greatest of all time) conversation. I never saw it. No, not because he was white. The Beastie Boys belong in that conversation too. It’s because my first impression of Eminem was goofy, juvenile songs that my friends loved in junior high. The truth is, his content got deeper as he grew as an artist. He resonates with my generation. The cameras even caught one girl on the screen in tears. As I turned to my friend last night during the show to confirm just how awesome Eminem was, a stranger turned around and added: “We grew up with him. He is ours. This IS fucking awesome.”


That stranger was right. He is ours. We watched Eminem grow as an artist and a person in the public spotlight. His videos spun every day on TRL when we got home from school. Several years ago when he stopped touring, we were sad when there were rumors of his retirement. He had provided us with so much entertainment over the years. His introduction chronicled Em’s last few years. Canceled tours, rehab, rumors of retirement. They deemed Lollapalooza as his grand return to the stage. We were all there to witness Eminem’s recovery. Grand may not be a big enough word to describe it.


I was in awe from the start. Every single move Eminem makes on stage is with purpose. It’s almost as if he’s conducting the show with his entire body. He stalks across the stage from side to side, using his hands to direct his flow, bending down low when he wants to drive a point across and then raising his hands into the air when it’s time to hear from the crowd.
Eminem 01
The first portion of the set flew by. Eminem asked who was in the crowd with their parents (cue me laughing at the idea of either of my parents attending an Eminem concert), which brought “Cleanin’ Out My Closet.” It was when Eminem brought out his Bad Meets Evil cohort Royce da 5’9″ that things got taken up another notch. Soon Bruno Bars was introduced to the stage for their Bad Meets Evil collaboration “Lighters.” True to the song, the rumored 90,000 strong at the stage for Eminem obliged with a sky full of lighters.


Eminem burned through several songs he’s been featured on in the last year or two. B.O.B’s “Airplanes pt II” and Drake’s “Forever” got the hook and Em’s verse treatment. “Stan” was mixed in and the entire crowd sang Dido’s now famous hook at the top of their lungs…and all of Eminem’s verses too. Sadly, “Like Toy Soldiers” still resonates as true today as when it first dropped. A streak of the new ensued. “Cinderella Man” and “Love the Way You Lie” were as big of hits with the older fans as it was with some of Eminem’s newer fans that Recovery brought. Skylar Grey came out for “I Need a Dr.,” but sadly Dr. Dre did not.

Eminem then told us that if he was going to pick a night to relapse, it would be in Chicago. We were too crazy not to. He demanded someone bring him some vodka. A handle was produced. He began to chug it. As if he had been ridden with bullets, the “vodka” began to leak from his entire body. Eminem surmised that he just wasn’t made for drinking. He did offer to do a bunch of songs from when he was fucked up though. “My Name Is,” “The Real Slim Shady” and “Without Me” probably had the crowd the loudest it was of the night. He brought it all back to the present with “Not Afraid” not close the set.


An encore of “Lose Yourself” perfectly summarized Eminem’s headlining set at Lollapalooza 2011. I always look for a show that you couldn’t see anywhere else. The massive crowd, special artist and a few choice guests on stage are all part of the formula. It is a single point in time that no one else will ever experience. Eminem delivered on those grounds. He may not be the GOAT, but he certainly belongs in the conversation.

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