Eminem at V Festival
- Aug 23, 2011
Eminem returned to England for the first time in eight years to reaffirm himself as hip hop’s main attraction with an astounding and epic 26 song set.
Headlining V Festival’s two venues (Chelmsford and Weston Park), Slim Shady more than proved he is head and shoulders above the rest destroying a 90 minute set that included hits spanning across all his whole career with guest appearances from D12, Royce da 5’9 and Rihanna!
Whereas D12 are an obvious bet to join Marshall Mathers on stage, Rihanna was almost as predictable, giving her 70 minute set prior to Eminem and the fact that their collaborative international hit ‘Love the Way You Lie’ was one of the biggest selling songs of 2010.
However, Royce da 5’9 was not as perceptible. Their recent joint album under the name ‘Bad Meets Evil’ again showcased the Detroit rapper’s incredible raw talent, as well as Royce’s. So when the rapper waltzed on V’s main stage with such swagger, the decibel level was raised and the vibe became galvanising in such a way that made the body horripilate.
Conventionally saving at least five songs for his childhood friends D12, that simply sucks the intensity out of his set. Royce da 5’9’s appearance was a saving grace, as it reduced D12’s songs to ‘Fight Music’ and ‘Purple Pills’, which are probably the only two songs worth listening to from the group.
This allowed ‘Bad Meets Evil’ to deliver ‘Fastlane’ with such energy that it almost seemed like Slim Shady was back on his vicodin that almost destroyed his career. With Royce on stage, ‘Lighters’ would predictably subsequent; a song that features Bruno Mars and provides a perfect festival harmony half way through the set that encourages the aficionados to raise their lighters – or in contemporary crowds, their mobiles. A great moment in the set and we were only half way through.
After arriving on stage 40 minutes late at Scotland’s T in the Park last year, Eminem was surprisingly punctual, and then wasted no time blowing up the crowd introducing himself with ‘Won’t Back Down’. The festival-goers embraced the nostalgic moments of ‘Square Dance’, ‘The Way I Am’, ‘Stan’ and ‘Sing For The Moment’ with Eminem seemingly taking his performance by the balls, as his hype man Mr Porter seemed less involved than when the late Proof had the responsibility.
With every song ostensibly more vivacious, vehement and grand, the latter end of his set used ‘Till I Collapse’ and ‘Cinderella Man’ to build up to the moment most of the crowd wanted to hear, as well as see. With the crowd basking in his presence already, Marshall and Mr Porter used some good old fashioned audience participation pitting the guys’ vs. the girls. Eminem sided with the ladies for one reason, ending the participations with “this next songs for you ladies”.
Then, before the spotlight could be beamed on her, Rihanna’s voice could be heard singing the intro to ‘Love the way you lie’. Appearing in a black elegant dress that juxtaposed the more ‘slutty’ outfits she has worn earlier, Rihanna and Eminem performed with the utmost brilliance as V fest heard the biggest roar of the weekend. Prior to the set, I thought this song would be the encore, a song to please the masses. However, thankfully, there was still more to follow.
‘I Need A Doctor’, his latest collaborative hit with mentor and super producer Dr Dre was a surprise admission, followed by a combined medley of arguably his three most commercial hits. After enticing V Festival with the question, how many of you fans out there love real hip hop? He broke into a medley of ‘My Name Is’, 'Real Slim Shady’ and ‘Without Me’, which are all great songs, but the real hip hop fans were awaiting real hip hop, maybe a cover tune of some 2pac, Biggie, Scott le Roc or Jam Master Jay; but that would be unlike Eminem.
Nonetheless, Marshall finished superbly with ‘Lose Yourself’. Whereas this encore was sadly the same as T in the Park, Slim Shady brought everyone back on stage at V for a traditional rock out with the band and DJ before saying goodbye. Excellent. After a highly capricious career, the Detroit rapper has excelled way passed his previous achievements, and his latest material is evidence to that. His live performance has revelled in the same manner.
In 2003 at the Milton Keynes Bowl, 'The Eminem Show' was his latest album, and the show, still brilliant, was riddled with gimmicks. At V festival, all this is long gone, and his set runs like his 'Recovery' and 'Bad Meets Evil' albums. Electric, fast paced at 100mph with a smorgasbord of hits, with a dash of some prestigious guests. A set worthy of closing any festival!