Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lollapalooza: Amazed by Eminem

"People! It feels so good to be baaaack!"

Eminem shouted the line at the start of "Square Dance." Yeah, it's just one o the lyrics, but he meant it.

And the enormous crowd thought it, too.

Eminem has barely played a show in five years.

Not that you could tell. He's still so sharp that his quick rhymes slice just as deep now a they did ever before.

When I made it down to the south end of Grant Park, I wa amazed by the sea of people. Eminem's stage was on my right and the lawn was so full that the audience mixed in with the one that was watching Atmosphere a few hundred yards to the left.

I've never seen that big of a crowd at any festival, not even for Lady Gaga.

His triumphant return included a healthy selection of "Recovery" songs as well as a bunch of old tunes, some of which were done in quick, one-verse shots.

It was the best hip-hop show that I've ever seen. Eminem's easily one of the best rappers alive and he doesn't need a huge entourage or any gimmicks, just a load of fast verse about hard life.

Fans were hoping for some high-profile guest appearances and got one with Bruno Mars singing "Sky Full Of Lighters." Anyone hoping for Dr. Dre or Rihanna missed out.

The set included "Love The Way You Lie," "Stan" (video below), "Til I Collapse" (a personal favorite) and Em's single verse from B.o.B.'s "Airplanes" as well as a medley of stuff from "My Name Is," "Real Slim Shady" and "Guess Who's Back."

Eminem's best work came with the last two songs. "Not Afraid," his best song in years, was dedicated "to anyone that's in a dark, fucked up place" similar to the one that's kept Eminem from performing. (Speaking of, after a joke about it, the crowd applauded his sobriety, which I've never seen before).

"Lose Yourself" was the finale and Eminem was drowned out by fans rapping right along with him, a testament to how the song (and the artist) has been a part of so many people's lives.

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