It’s all most of my colleagues could talk about this morning.
There was no “How are you?” or “Are you well this morning?” Only a “How was it?” And I knew what they were asking about: The Eminem Rapture 2014 concert in Cape Town last night. Pleasantries were set aside because we had to get to the real business: the show the Rap God had put on for 35 000 people.
It is no secret that Eminem struggled to sell tickets for his Cape Town show. Computicket revealed a week ago that the event organiser had released R99 seats for the Mother City leg, and a few days later a “2-for-1” deal. Johannesburg on the other hand, still had to pay the normal prices. So there was absolutely no excuse, as a Capetonian, not to have had your hands on Eminem tickets. The only thing that was more free was oxygen. Capetonians duly obliged, snapping up the cheap seats, and made their way to the stadium in heavy humidity. It was like Durban, only Eminen had not ignored us.
Marshall Mathers literally set the stage on fire. From the graphics that flashed behind him on screen to the actual flames that were lit on either side of him everytime a song reached its crescendo, he packed the heat in a bag and brought it to South Africa. He gave an energetic performance of his old and new material. It was both reckless and controlled – a delicate balance that only a seasoned performer can execute. It took some of us oldies back to those days when we fell in love with Slim Shady and distinctive late 90’s lines like “I’m not Mr. N’Sync, I’m not what your friends think…” from “The Way I Am” to one of the highlights of 2002’s The Eminem Show – “Square Dance.”
Eminem rapped with his whole body, thrusting himself into each and every song head on, always looking like he was about to fall over. But he was always in control. I don’t know if it’s sobriety or maturity, but we were not shortchanged, even if some tickets went for under R100. I was a little bit afraid that he’d collapse from heat exhaustion, and the stubborness of him refusing to take off his trademark hoodie (he eventually did). He kept on going. He took us through that impressive discography that made him the biggest selling artist of the past decade, and the new stuff which introduced him to an audience that missed his heydays.
Surprise performer Royce da 5’9″ joined Eminem on stage to bring Bad Meets Evil to an audience that couldn’t believe its luck. “Lighters,” a collaboration between the duo and Bruno Mars was the perfect song for a stadium crowd, as phones and lighters that burned fingers were lifted to the stillest of skies to create the perfect picture. But we couldn’t allow ourselves to forget that we were at a hardcore rap concert, and Eminem wouldn’t let us.
His performance of the iconic “Stan” was a highlight. A difficult song to perform at such a big venue, only because it’s so introspective and special. But its cult status makes it impossible to ignore. He followed it up with “Sing For the Moment” and “Like Toy Soldiers” rattling off hit after hit.
His encore was “Lose Yourself” with almost every cellphone in the venue held up to capture it. It was the most high octane of all the songs he performed. Perhaps a promise that he would be back.
Eminem took a bit of time to soak it all in, talking to us between songs and letting us know how awesome he thought we all were. The quote of the night from him:
“Cape Town, you fucking destroyed it.”
No sir, you did.
It’s a shame he took so long to come to Africa. But boy, did he make it up to us.
Joburg, ENJOY HIM.
***I missed the opening acts because I
chose to have wine at my house instead. I hear Action Bronson wore a Springbok jersey. I care very little about what Jack Parow did.***