You never really know what to expect when you go and see someone perform live. Some artists sound terrible, while others sound exactly the same and sometimes they'll sound even better that their album. Eminem falls into the better than his album category.
Hi my name is, What my name is, Who my name is....
The first time I heard Eminem, was when I was a teenager and MTV still played music videos. I remember getting the CD as a gift, putting it into my CD player and hitting repeat all while perusing through the album art. Oh how times have changed. Want to feel even older? Here's a fun fact: Eminem is 40 years old.
Enjoy the ride
We put some cash on our Gautrain cards, and waited for the train to Park Station to arrive. I always feel very First World when I take the Gautrain. It just doesn't feel like South Africa. We hopped on and at each station become increasingly aware of the different demographics that make up cosmopolitan Joburg. At one point we were packed like sardines, and my friend literally had a big ass right in her face. One guy got on shouting that "People must f$#@ move" and when my friend said what a douche, his friend agreed. We hopped on the Gautrain bus, again standing due to the size of the crowd and were dropped off right outside Ellis Park Stadium. More queues - after waiting for one person to throw a fit as her ticket wouldnt let her go through - we were in. To the beer tent.
Just one beer
Standing in a queue to get booze at a concert is a real bonding experience. You get pushed up against people you don't know and you meet interesting characters. A large dude barked loudly on his phone "F%$# the popo. I'm here to have a good time!" Here, here. When we finally go to the front, after much debate about whether we could take liquor into the venue, we had two choices: Castle Lite or Black Label. Also they had run out of cups, and you could only take alcohol into the venue in a plastic cup. For the die hards, they decided to "Buy a case and we'll just down it dude" while others went mental "What am I supposed to do?". We just bought a six pack of Black Label and were going to smuggle them in. Yup, we're rockstar like that.
And then we went into the arena
At this point it got really cold and started to rain. We decided we would buy an Eminem hoodie to keep warm during the show, but the queue for the Official Merch was insane. Onward and upward. By the time we found our seats, we decided it was selfie time. Once the stadium had filled up and the stage was almost set, you could feel the vibe.
The white sheets hung low, with EMINEM in large black letters and then the music started. Eminem's shadow appeared as part of the I and the crowd went crazy. Eminem has such stage presence and gave the crowd what we wanted. There were some lesser known hits, but he didn't disappoint and performed his hits. The backup singer that did all of the female singing parts was amazing!
At one point Eminem did a medley of Hi My Name Is, Will The Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up and Dear Stan and at that moment I thought it doesn't get better than this. That was until the same large dude we had been acquainted with in the beer queue, was coming back from a beer run and fell onto us. Drenched in beer we helped him up, and carried on singing.
Can I get an encore?
Of course Marshall Mathers came back and did an encore, and sang "Lose Yourself". We went full gangster, our arms were doing the gesture. The show ended with fireworks and we started the mass exodus. It took us a while to get out of the stadium, and we headed straight to the buses to catch a ride back to Park Station. Chaos ensued. Bus drivers had been instructed to only let people in at the front of the queue - this despite the fact that all 50 000 plus people left the stadium at about the same time. People started shouting, standing in front of as well as hitting moving buses. No one was allowed to get on. After about 20 minutes we decided to walk and find a taxi.
Take the long way home
All the taxis we came across were either booked or going to fetch someone. We followed the traffic jam and after about 15 minutes of walking, we found another crowd and they were walking to Park Station. So this is what we did - took a walk through Joburg CBD in a group. I saw one Gautrain bus pass us on our way back. After 40 minutes of brisk walking under the night sky - we arrived at Park Station and hopped back on the Gautrain to get home.
The train was crowded but everyone was talking about Eminem. After Marlboro we were free to sit down and hilarity ensued. Two individuals who had driven up from Margate and had come to Eminem to celebrate their first anniversary, but had been together since she was 14 and he 20, had had an amazing time but were also really intoxicated. It started with a make shift phone boombox that played all sorts of music, and each time the song changed the wife would move to a different person and ask them to sing. The husband was babbling on about politics and hugging a lot of his new friends, while taking selfies.
Towards the end of the ride, the wife decided she wanted a cigarette and when the train stopped, she lit her ciggy and smoke on the platform. A guard came running up to which she said, one more drag and proceeded to put it out on the platform. She came round to where we were sitting and started chatting about life, her job as a teacher and asked the woman with blue hair what we were all thinking. "Is that a wig or is your hair really blue like a Smurf?"
Another smoke break - only this time we weren't stopping. We actually went backwards to the same stop and then forward again. The husband and wife lit their ciggarette on the train and sat down to have a smoke. Instead of saying anything, one brave passenger joined them. The husband then sat down next to a guy with dreads and proceeded to tell him how he respected all Rastafarians.
Most of us jumped off at the next stop, and the last sight we saw, after say bye to our Margate friends, was the "Rasta" mouthing help me.
All that and a bag of chips
We met up with our lift back home at the station, and they had bought us a big mac, coke and chips. Perfect way to end an eventful night out.