Eminem thrills Slane

Slane is a venue that has hosted some of the finest names in the history of rock n'roll, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie and U2 among them. On Saturday night, Eminem put on a performance that elevated him into the same league as the best of them.

We've heard it whispered that the venue that hosted some of the Stones', Springsteen's and U2's most memorable gigs shouldn't do hip hop. The huge crowd that showed up confirmed that this nonsense: pure and simple.

Just over a decade ago, Eminem played his first Irish dates in Punchestown Racecourse. Musically, it was all a little flat - there was a single DJ with some decks, Eminem and D12, and nothing more in terms of spectacle. Even in the height of his initial pomp, it all felt a little artificial.

This time round, he more than made up for those early shortcomings as a live act, with two sets of drums, two sets of keys, a female vocalist, a bass, a guitar and, yes, another DJ. It was a live band, by any other name, making a huge noise – and the difference was immense.

From the opening notes of his newest track and opener 'Survival' to the last verse of the encore 'Lose Yourself', the band rocked like Beelzebub. Playing a set which spanned his 14 year career, he let the music speak, laying down his credentials as the rapper of a generation.

This was not an tour de force in how to win the affection of an audience. There was no dialogue and no interaction with the crowd. Eminem isn't an old style entertainer.

Instead, he rolled out one great song after another: 'White America', 'Cleaning Out My Closet', 'The Way I Am', 'Stan', 'Toy Soldiers'.

As the set neared its close, the sight of lighters and mobile phones brightening up the sky was a sight to behold.

Finally we got his first words. "I haven't talked to the ladies all motherfuckin' night," he said. "How many of you ladies have been in a relationship like this?" Cue 'Love The Way You Lie'. Concluding that "everyone is fucked up in here", he followed that with his drug'fuelled trilogy 'My Name Is', 'The Real Slim Shady' and 'Without Me' before dedicating the final track, 'Not Afraid' to "the people who have been touched by my music".

'Lose Yourself' was the encore everyone was waiting for. It was the epic ending the night deserved. As the lights went off, the fireworks began, Eminem, had won the battle of the Boyne, 2013...

 

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