AFTER Optus Stadium’s undisputed success with its first two music events in Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift last year, would third time still be a charm when Grammy award winner Eminem delivered his first ever Perth concert last night?
The answer was a resounding “absolutely” with an official crowd number of 60,500 people filling the venue to finally experience the 46-year-old Detroit rap icon live as he impressively delivered a 32 song set list during his final Australian show as part of the Rapture 2019 stadium tour.
Special guests California hip hop artist Boogie, long-time Eminem collaborator Royce da 5’9” (Bad Meets Evil) and Adelaide talent Hilltop Hoods warmed the growing crowd well, but in the end there was only one man who everyone was there for – Marshall Mathers III.
Thousands of mobile phones focused on the stage in anticipation as a King Kong sized Eminem appeared on the large screens, before the real deal arrived dressed in trademark hoodie and received a deafening roar from fans.
The concert came on the back of his August 2018 release of 10th studio album Kamikaze which featured immediately in the opening song Greatest while arms bounced in time to the beat across the general admission crowd.
Joined by rap partner Mr Porter, it was followed by an audio onslaught of rapid-fire flow with Won’t Back Down, 3am, Square Dance and Kill You.
“I’ve never been here before but I feel Perth is making us feel at home” Eminem said.
“We don’t like flying but we sat on a plane for 20-something hours just to see you. We come from here…”
He then launched in to White America delivered fast and furiously, demonstrating why he really is a rap god, which just happened to be the title of his next song followed by Sing for the Moment (sung to mobile phone torchlight) and Like Toy Soldiers.
Going in to the concert, I questioned how 32 songs could possibly fit in to a 100-minute concert and the answer was unfortunately because they were not performed in their entirety.
Personally I would have preferred a few less songs and heard hits like Stan from start to finish, which came after Lucky You, Forever, Just Don’t Give a F***, Fall, Criminal and the sublime vocals of American singer songwriter Skylar Grey on Walk on Water.
Eminem proved he was only human after all when suspected sound problems during Stan were followed by an admission later on that “I f***** Stan up.”
However the crowd did not seem to mind, especially given he had included “Perth” in the song’s lyrics.
Love the Way You Lie continued to highlight the impressive strings section of the band as the night went on to include Majesty, Berserk, ‘Till I Collapse and Cinderella Man.
Royce da 5’9” and Boogie both made their way back on stage for their respective Eminem collaborations, as did Skylar Grey for River and The Monster.
After splitting the crowd in half to see who could make the most noise, things got even louder as Slim Shady arrived with My Name Is and The Real Slim Shady where 60,000 people rapped along in unison.
The dance-inducing Without Me finished with Eminem thanking everyone for coming out tonight.
“This is incredible,” he said.
“Thanks to everyone who was with me from day one and if you’re too young to have been from day one, this one is for you.”
The dedication was for Not Afraid from his 2010 album Recovery which finished the concert before encore.
Leaving his Academy award-winning song until last, Lose Yourself would have lifted the roof, if Optus Stadium had one.
“Thank you for making us feel like family,” Eminem said.
“We hope you all make it home safe tonight.”
And with that he disappeared before a flurry of fireworks.