Most reviewers didn’t like the one-two punch provided by Eminem and Jay-Z’s opening night of a four-date tour Sept. 2, they loved it. The rap titans are playing two shows at Detroit’s Comerica Stadium before taking their road show to New York’s Yankee Stadium.
“You wanted history? They gave you history,” wrote Detroit News pop music writer Adam Graham. The pair, who did not perform together, were joined by a number of other artists, including Drake, 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks and Dr. Dre.
Near the end of his set, an emotional Eminem nearly teared up while introducing ‘Not Afraid,’ Graham continued. “He dedicated the song to fans who stuck with him through years of career turbulence, and dedicated the song to his hometown. He closed the show with "Lose Yourself," toying with his live band during the extended outro before a flurry of fireworks marked the close of the show.
The love from the crowd was not lost on Jay, and he gave it right back at the end of his 82-minute set. "I wanna say I had an incredible time with y'all tonight, this is one of the best experiences of my entire life," he said. He closed with "Encore" and raised his arms in victory as he walked off the stage.
Billboard’s Gary Graff writes that He also praised Jay-Z , for doing “his part to get the stadium shows off on a good foot with an energetic, aggressive and loud 80-plus minutes, during which he and his band throwed through more than 30 songs -- all without making the set feel crammed or rushed. Dressed all in black (of course) and sporting sunglasses (of course), Jay-Z came out swinging hard with an opening salvo of "Dynasty," "Run This Town," "Free Mason," "On to the Next One" and "D.O.A.," prowling the front of the centerfield stage as a large oval screen mixed live close-ups with video images.”
“Eminem set out to confront his past demons, put them to rest and claim a victorious and potent present,” Graff continued, “which he largely did during an exhaustive, guest-filled 100-minute performance at Detroit's Comerica Park that spanned his entire recording career with full or partial performances of 33 songs.”
MTV’s Sway and Shaheem Reid live blogged the show. Sway wrote: “Wow the crowd explodes when Jay does "99 Problems." Detroit has one of the most diverse hip-hop demograpics in the country. People from age 11 to 55 are dancing on the field. Its a party in Motown!”
Sway later writes: Eminem is seriously making a case for the top slot in this year's Hottest MC's round table! This Forever verse sounds ridiculous! Em shouts out Drake, "this is history in the making," says Drake "make some noise for the legend Eminem!"
It will be interesting to see how the dynamic changes once the two-some hit Jay-Z’s home turf on Sept. 13-14 at Yankee Stadium.