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QUAN Graphic Designer Jason Malipol was lucky enough to be offered a ticket to see one of the greatest rappers of all time. Eminem was the first rapper to headline and sellout Wembley Stadium. Jason gave us a little insight of what it was like to see Eminem perform in London, the rappers first performance in the UK since August 2003.
The stars aligned for me to be at the Eminem concert on July 11th 2014, a spare ticket became available with a friend pulling out last minute and lucky for me I had the evening off that day, for you see I normally work late on Fridays and a colleague had asked to swap shifts!
Eminem at Wembley would be my third concert, having seen J Cole and Miguel prior, at the time of these concerts they were emerging artists performing in more intimate venues at bargain prices. This time round I got to see a legend do his thing in an iconic setting – Wembley Stadium; history was made that night as Eminem became the first rapper to headline the Stadium.
Originally Em favoured Hyde Park for his triumphant return to London after a 13 year long absence but the content of his lyrics was deemed unsuitable for the Park, which is a shame as there wouldn’t be a hierarchy when it came to seating, everyone would have been on a level playing field. This would be the first time I would be seated at a concert and getting to them was unexpectedly pleasant for a building with a capacity of 90,000. I was seated quite far away from the stage which was dwarfed by the stadium so I would have to rely heavily on the screens either side of the stage. The screens, which were in portrait, seemed like an odd choice at first but I soon realised that in portrait we could see close ups of the rappers on stage. I have always had reservations about seeing rap live, I wonder about the clarity over the music and the fans and how the acoustics of a building comes into play and the opening acts of Danny Brown and Odd Future didn’t help, as both acts were inaudible but there was time to correct it as best they could before Em was due on stage.
In preparation for his arrival, a white curtain was put up and a video detailing the events after Stan played and when it came to a close, the curtain fell to reveal Eminem ready to perform his first song of the night ‘Bad Guy’ the sequel to Stan, a song which adds legitimacy to the existence of the Marshall Mathers LP2. With his hype man Mr Porter in tow, the audio was noticeably better and although he appeared to be an ant from where I was I could still pick out his mannerisms and was glad to see him make full use of the stage. I have always felt that for you to properly enjoy a concert you must know the lyrics as this enables you to rap/sing along with the artist. From his new album I was excited to hear ‘Rap God’ and disappointingly he performed a shorter version than I would have liked, the first half of his set was definitely for his diehard fans as I wasn’t able to fully participate in songs until ‘The Way I Am’, from then on the concert went into high gear with ‘Dead Wrong’ ensuing, Eminem unleashing his verse from the Biggie Smalls track that has a flowing delivery and is laced with the lyricism he is renowned for.
Then magic happened, over the ‘Dead Wrong’ beat Eminem got us to say ‘Doctor’ as he said ‘Dre’ and in the moment I didn’t fully comprehend what was about to occur, as Dr Dre made a surprise appearance for us and the place erupted, unable to contain the excitement of seeing the mentor and the protégée on stage belting out the classics such as ‘The Next Episode’, ‘Still D.R.E’ and ‘Forgot About Dre’. It was a highlight for a lot of people and I am honoured to say I heard these live. By this time the sky was getting darker which complimented the lighting which was spectacular, I looked at my surroundings and I felt perched on top of a mountain, the evening began to feel cosy and it didn’t matter that I was a considerable distance from the man himself. For the remainder of his set, he cranked out the hits, keeping up the tempo from when Dre exited left and Wembley entered karaoke mode as he ended the night with fan favourites ‘Not Afraid’ and ‘Lose Yourself’.
I was very fortunate to be there on that once in a lifetime night and what I take away from it is that I want to see more people live and will aim to get the best seats I can possibly afford as this will undoubtedly eradicate any sound issues which is my only gripe of the night, with the amount of revenue generated by the event you would have thought they could have tried a little harder, it did improve and with the help of familiar songs the night was rescued but I guess this will be chalked up as a lesson learned for future concerts at Wembley Stadium.
Images used via Google and have been labelled for reuse with modification.
Main Image from website: Wikipedia, Author: Sabine Fricke.
Other images from concert are by Jason Malipol.