Show Review – Eminem at the Osheaga Music Festival, Montreal

After more than a decade with a lack of Slim Shady, Montreal was graced with the Detroit-native white rapper just last night. Eminem grabbed hold of the record setting crowd (in the six-year old festival’s history) of 38 000, and refused to let go. As his show-opening track states, Shady just “Won’t Back Down.”

Eminem had stopped performing live back in 2005 when his drug addiction started to seriously interfere with his health. However, he’s been making a comeback to the stage in the past year, mainly performing at European music festivals, as well as Tennessee’s Bonnaroo earlier this summer. He also did a set of shows with Jay-Z last year at Yankee Stadium and Comerica Park in New York and Detroit, respectively. Even then, his performances are few and far in between, and an Eminem concert is not something that’s easy to come by. Montreal thought they were in for a treat.

And they most certainly thought right. Eminem played hit after hit, usually rapping the first verse and chorus, then moving on to the next track. While odd at first, it still somehow worked. “3 a.m.” flowed directly into “Square Dance,” both of which were short-lived. And believe me, the thunderous crowd didn’t mind it at all. Em took a pause and asked, “Montreal, how many of you have ever had beef with your parents?” And broke right into “Cleanin’ Out My Closet.” Royce da 5’9″ even joined him up on stage to spit out a couple of songs from the new Bad Meets Evil album, Hell: The Sequel. When they dropped “Lighters,” the crowd actually lit up with a “sky full of lighters” and cell phones.

The hits kept on coming, with “Stan” and “Love the Way You Lie” getting huge reactions. The Eminem we had been waiting to see all summer came out in full force in each stanza of his rhymes, and his sporadic pacing on stage. Audience members waved their arms, bounced to the beat and didn’t stop roaring. Definite highlight of the night: “Space Bound” was performed live for the first time. It may not have gotten as big a cheer as the encore “Lose Yourself” did, but it felt truly special to see and hear the Recovery track rapped for its first time in front of the massive amount of Eminem fans.

Negatives? None. Sheer perfection from one of the most talented, yet controversial, artists of our time. I think we all just wish we could’ve had Em on stage just a bit longer, so he could perform more songs in their entirety. Choice words: Loud, in your face, and on fire… even if there was a lack of pyrotechnics. If you can make it out to a show of Eminem’s, don’t even hesitate. Go ahead and simply “Lose Yourself.”


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