SAN JOSE, California — "Lord, please forgive me for what I do," Eminem prayed as he took the stage at Tuesday's Anger Management 3 tour stop at the HP Pavilion.
And, well, that was about it for the managing part. The 90 minutes that followed were sheer anger on display, with the rapper's jokester side making only a few brief appearances.
From the opening one-two punch of "Evil Deeds" and "Mosh" to album tracks like "Kill U" and "Just Don't Give a F---," Eminem chose some of the angriest songs from his arsenal to help reacquaint his fans with him after a few years off from touring. And while the audience raised its fists and sang along from beginning to end, most people seemed eager to dance by the time "Just Lose It" came at the end of the show.
Following rambunctious sets by Lil Jon and 50 Cent and their respective crews, Em entered looking like the third White Stripe in a black, white and red suit, which he quickly shed after the opener.
Right away, Em addressed recent reports that he is retiring, asking if the audience reads the tabloids. He then pulled out a magazine with a report about his retirement next to a headline that read, "The Moon Will Blow Up In A Month." Never shy about his ass, Em then mooned the crowd and made a loud farting sound. "They're wrong, though," he said. "The moon blew up tonight."
Eminem followed by saying he was going to retire all of his various monikers except one, Rain Man, although it seemed more like a setup for the track "Rain Man" than anything else.
|Inside Anger Management: Eminem and 50 take you behind the scenes of their tour while Lil Jon teaches a barbecue lesson, only on Overdrive.|
Later, Em used "Ass Like That" as a segue to address his brief relationship with Mariah Carey. He was interrupted, however, by a voice on the loudspeaker that said she was Carey and she wanted him back. He then searched behind the various doors that made up his stage set, eventually finding not Mariah, but a toilet that he "puked" in. This, of course, set up "Puke."
After changing gears with "Like Toy Soldiers," Eminem then took center stage for a little game of what he called "How well do you know your hip-hop?" He then rapped parts of Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick's "La-Di-Da-Di," Biz Markie's "Just a Friend," Dr. Dre's "Nuthin' but a G Thang" and his own "My Name Is," at test the crowd easily passed, rapping along at a monster volume.
From there, Em turned the spotlight on his protégés, beginning with D12, who performed five songs with the rapper (including "40 Oz." and "My Band"). 50 Cent followed for "Patiently Waiting" and "Gatman and Robbin," igniting an audience frenzy that eventually cooled for Obie Trice and Stat Quo.
In between the guest appearances, Em included a few of his own darker tracks, like "Stan," "The Way I Am" and "Mockingbird," sometimes only doing the first verse and letting the crowd handle the chorus. During the verses, though, his delivery was razor-sharp, putting to rest any thoughts that his touring hiatus had caused rust.
Eminem ended with "Lose Yourself" but it was the video before his encore that yielded the strongest reaction. Made to look as though it were live, the footage followed the rapper back to the dressing room where he brandished a handgun and pointed it to his head. How it plays out, fans should see for themselves.
Guns and violence were also, of course, a theme throughout 50 Cent's show, which began with the gangsta rapper dropping 40 feet from the ceiling in a bulletproof vest for "What Up Gangsta." Shotgun blasts, made stronger and louder by pyrotechnic explosions, found their way into several of the nearly 30 tracks that made up his set.
The show also included grand entrances from Young Buck, Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo, who were among 50's G-Unit special guests. Newcomers to the crew (but veterans of hip-hop) M.O.P. and Mobb Deep also performed a few tracks each, as did the tour's only female, Olivia, whose voice was often lost in the chaos of all the rappers.
Unlike Em, 50 treated his hit singles like most headliners, placing them every four or five songs and introducing them with pomp and circumstance in the form of crowd interaction, pyro or video. For "P.I.M.P." he rolled a video shout-out from Snoop Dogg and then reemerged looking dapper in a white suit and matching hat.
Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz, taking the stage at 7:30, pounded the audience with one crunk tune after another, successfully starting a party at a time when most concertgoers are usually meandering through the merchandise and snack booths.
Jon was without the Ying Yang Twins, but new signee Pitbull stepped up for some of their verses ("Get Low" was enormous) and added a flavor all his own to the set.
To end his show, Jon left the stage while a video played of Dave Chappelle, Usher and Chris Rock shouting out the rapper. Jon then popped up on a smaller stage near the back of the arena for "Lovers and Friends," getting all that love stuff out of the way for the anger to come.
The Anger Management 3 tour continues Friday in Chula Vista, California (see "Eminem, 50, Lil Jon, G-Unit, D12 Team Up For Anger Management 3 Tour This Summer").
For more sights and stories from concerts around the country, check out MTV News Tour Reports.