Eminem - Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, Tue 20 Aug 2013
The bad boy rapper returns to Glasgow with a massive production and a raw undertone
The last and best of this August’s experimental Summer Sessions gigs on Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park was sadly followed up by negative press about the more excitable and probably less able to handle large quantities of drink among Marshall Mathers’ fanbase, with talk of arrests and all sorts of antisocial unpleasantness. Although the suspicion is that the more predictably lairy behaviour wouldn’t have been quite so much of an issue had it occurred on a campsite at T in the Park rather than the streets of Bellahouston and Mosspark, for this was no rowdier than any other gig performed by an artist with a reputation for wild behaviour.
Although it should probably be noted that Eminem himself isn’t quite the mouthy wee sod he was once upon a time. Now forty years old, he gave the kind of grown-up (ish), professional performance that a career rock star might. True, he knows that a lot of the ears amidst his 35,000 strong crowd belong to young people with a hedonistic lack of regard for their immediate orbit, and he paid tribute when he dedicated a later medley of ‘My Name Is’, ‘The Real Slim Shady’ and ‘Without Me’ to them with the tribute ‘if you're fucked up and high as hell, make some noise. Can I take you back to the days when I used to get fucked up?’
Yet the two-MCs set-up (he was joined by hypeman Mr Porter) belied a massive production featuring a live band perched atop a riser built from three skate ramps and a lengthy support bill topped by Kendrick Lamar, as well as the sense that there was something approaching a real sense of narrative here. With much-publicised battles with drink and family problems which his early music catalogued, Mathers dedicated ‘Cleanin’ Out My Closet’ and ’Love the Way You Lie’ to those who had problems with their parents or partner, and the main set closer ‘Not Afraid’ to anyone who relates to the ‘dark, fucked-up place’ he wrote it in. There was only one track in the encore, but ‘Lose Yourself’ felt like the final act of a true story that’s rawer than any other popular music is likely to tell us for a while.