On Saturday, August 23, 2014, a capacity crowd of around 45,000 filled Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan, for the final night of Eminem and Rihanna’s six show Monster Tour run. Over the course of 2.5 hours, the two powerhouse performers went through over 50 songs, which included hits both new and old. Yes, the video segment leading up to the artists emerging on stage was dope, and Rihanna looking sexy and cool the whole time was captivating, but, based on the vibe of those who were in attendance, Mr. Mathers was clearly still the main attraction. Plus, with the Motor City skyline in sight, it is impossible to put into words the electricity that culminated when Em came out on stage alongside his co-headliner in front of his hometown audience.
After an opening segment where the two superstars performed a few ditties together, including their 2012 collaboration, “Numb,” and a cool rendition “Run This Town” where Eminem kicked a “Renegade” verse over that beat, the stage became Rihanna’s. The 7-time Grammy winner not only delivered stellar performances of smash singles like “What’s My Name?” and “Umbrella,” but, with the assistance of back up dancers, provided the showmanship needed to support the upbeat nature of many of her high-energy records. The highlight of Rihanna’s solo set though was her singing her ballad, “Stay.” Taking in the thousands of lighters and cell phone lights against the night sky was truly an amazing experience. Keeping with the mellow tone of that song, she then transitioned into “Love the Way You Lie” via Skylar Grey’s version with her sung verses in addition to the popular chorus. Not surprisingly, Eminem then came out to join Rihanna and spit his bars. It was there that the show was passed off to him.
With hype man and collaborator Mr. Porter by his side, Eminem proceeded to go through his catalog of hits. Material from his lesser acclaimed albums such as Encore and Relapse didn’t receive as much airtime as tracks from his other LPs, but he did deliver a powerful rendition of “Evil Deeds.” Having seen him perform this almost a decade ago on The Anger Management 3 Tour, Em’s performance of the haunting Encore song opener this go round was a vast improvement and it left a lasting impression. Watching him perform “Rap God” immediately after proved he was just that. While the crowd rapped along with every other part, it stopped at the 4:26 mark in the record and watched in awe as Eminem had “lyrics coming at [them] at supersonic speed” live.
One of the greatest moments in Eminem’s set was when he brought back his Slim Shady persona and did “Just Don’t Give a F**k” and “Still Don’t Give a F**k” one right after the other. Rihanna then briefly accompanied Em for the choruses to “Airplanes Pt. II” and “Stan.” He later, in the midst of other noteworthy records, paid homage to Proof and Nate Dogg during “Like Toy Soldiers” and “‘Till I Collapse” respectively. And to close out his portion of the show, he ended with the Oscar-Winning “Lose Yourself.” The night’s musical finale was Rihanna and Eminem sharing the stage one more time for a fireworks inclusive performance of their #1 song, “The Monster.”
However, the show wasn’t over!
It was all fantastic. The turnout for the last night of Monster and non-stop roaring excitement in response to the great music spoke volumes. The performers’ appreciation for the audience wasn’t withheld either. From Rihanna thanking Detroit for making her feel at home to Em thanking everyone for their support before launching into “Not Afraid” to Mr. Porter’s “Thank God” shirt, the admiration was mutual. The concert was a win-win for everyone involved and served as a perfect ending to The Marshall Mathers LP 2 era of Eminem’s iconic career... which is why so many are now chomping at the bit for Shady XV.