REVIEW: Marshall Mathers is captivating - sweat dripping from his brow, maniacally skipping around stage with eyes bulging and lips moving indecipherably.
For 90 minutes, Mathers aka Eminem aka Slim Shady is energy incarnate.
Dressed in army camo hoodie, cap, white shirt and sneaks, the self-proclaimed Rap God performed in New Zealand last night, kicking off his new tour Rapture.
For Kiwi fans, it's been a long time coming.
Eminem first made the charts here in 1999 with hit My Name Is from The Slim Shady LP. But last night was the rapper's first time performing here in New Zealand.
And the turnout at the Western Springs Stadium was an impressive response to his trip down under.
Closing in on 55,000 people, fans in snapback caps and bandannas swarmed the amphitheatre and the hill behind it to catch a glimpse of the 41-year-old legend doing what he does best.
And he did not disappoint.
Survival from his new album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, started off the show, with the live band bringing angry, abrasive and punchy vibes from the outset.
Slim, he turned up prepared. How does he have so much energy? Can this seriously be an unenhanced performance? The shuffling, the stomping, the prancing, the hyping, it seems endless. And it doesn't even look like it's straining him.
A showman, he keeps the banter light and the hits coming.
He plays four tracks from the new record all up. The Monster and Berzerk. The live renditions show the new stuff stacks up to his earlier work. Rap God, the big one, is a feat.
It's a winning moment, watching a master work magic with his craft as he lets loose complicated rhymes and defies the speed of sound.
Love The Way You Lie brings the swoon, forcing a massive singalong.
Bad Meets Evil collaborator Royce da 5'9" jumped on stage for tracks Fast Lane and Lighters, which got the audience from the front of stage to the hill top on Old Mill Road illuminating the night with phone lights and lighters.
To appease long time fans, the ones who have stuck in there with him from the beginning, he spits out verses in the winning trifecta of My Name Is, Slim Shady and Without Me in quick succession.
He brings the tempo down, plays Not Afraid, a shout out to the fans who have got him through some tough times, leaves the stage.
Then returns for the one song encore, Lose Yourself.
People were losing themselves. Flailing limbs and bouncing bodies, it's likely from the ear drum damage incurred that every single member of that 55,000-strong crowd was shouting the lyrics back. Then Slim slipped out.
Though not once was the awkward topic of Kendrick Lamar and Odd Future's controversial visa denial mentioned, the lengthy lull between the end of J Cole's set and Eminem's (almost an hour long) spoke volumes. People were unhappy.
But it genuinely seemed Eminem had made the masses forget their dissatisfaction with the situation come night's end, losing themselves in the presence of a legend.
Wont Bow Down
Just Don't Give A F*ck
The Way I Am
Love The Way You Lie
Sing For The Moment
Like Toy Soldiers
Til I Collapse
My Name Is
The Real Slim Shady
Encore: Lose Yourself
- © Fairfax NZ News