This past summer, Eminem delivered on of the best sets of Lollapalooza or so I hear. Since his performance wasn’t broadcast, watching one of his concert DVD’s was the next best thing since I didn’t go to the festival. Or it would’ve been if the DVD wasn’t so mediocre. While the rapper sounds on point and has a strong setlist, the are several other issues that affect the release. It may have been a massive tour, but this is not be Em’s strongest performance.
Since the concert is a part of his tour for The Eminem Show the stage is setup like a carnival. There’s a Ferris wheel on stage, Em’s name is displayed in lights, and a giant mouth that gives you the fun house vibe. It’s a cool idea, but it quickly falls apart. Though several circus performers, like a sword swallower, contortionist, and a ringmaster appear on stage, they suddenly disappeared for five songs only to then come back for one and leave again. It was really distracting to see a juggler one second and then he’s gone the next. There’s even one point where the ringmaster tries to get the rapper involved in a magic trick. It’s okay, but even Eminem wasn’t enthusiastic about it. The theme was a good idea, but fails to stay consistent during the show. At least the poor stage set up didn’t take away from the songs.
A good thing about the show was it had a strong setlist. Featuring lots of tracks from his third album, performances included are “Superman,” “Without Me,” “The Way I Am,” “Drips,” and “Square Dance” to name a few. As expected, Eminem sounded really good and passionate while rapping. This is a welcome change because it seems like most rappers scream their lyrics when on stage instead of just letting them flow. The only issue came with backtrack usage. A lot of musicians do this, but what made it bad here was you could hear Eminem rapping on the backtrack. This caused the rapper to talk over himself, which made things disorienting. One big issue was how he didn’t finish most of the songs. On tracks like “Cleaning Out My Closet,” “Just Don’t Give A Fuck,” and “Stan” Em did one, maybe two verses and then moved on to the next song. I’m not really sure why this is especially since the songs aren’t really long. The only ones he finishes are the ones featuring D12. After taking a look at his Lollapalooza setlist, he did the same thing there. It’s possible he’s trying to squeeze so much in little time, but it’s still unsatisfying.
The highlights here were few and far between. One of the funniest moments was “Moby” flying over the stage calling the rapper a bad man resulting in him getting shot by Obie Trice. There’s also a point where Eminem moons the audience while D12 is rapping. During “Superman” Dina Rae sings with the rapper (if you want to call it singing) and there’s an awkward moment where they look like they’re dry humping. As Eminem mentions he was single at the time, so maybe he wanted to hook up with her. Things follow this pattern until the end, which was weird. For the final song, “My Dad’s Gone Crazy,” Eminem comes out and raps as usual, but mid-way through the shot turns into a gallery of photos from the tour. It comes on so abruptly it makes you think you accidentally hit the menu button. After the gallery, the credits roll. Keep in mind you can hear Eminem rapping the entire time. No send off from the rapper. No final look at the crowd. Just pictures. Who put this together and thought it was a good idea?
Overall, the disc gets 6.5/10. Even though Eminem sounded fine and the setlist was solid, the format was messy. There were too many camera angles that tried to captured every moment and failed. And since Eminem didn’t finish most of the songs he started, it leaves the audience disoriented and wanting more. The rapper has some other live DVD’s and hopefully those are better than this release. For now, just watch some one off performances by the rapper and don’t waste your time with this.