We’ll admit it: we were a little skeptical when The Monster Tour was first announced. Sure, Eminem and Rihanna made passionate musical fire on 2010’s “Love The Way You Lie” and last year’s “The Monster.” But did they have enough in common to sustain a full collaborative tour? Slim Shady’s aggressively animated raps and Riri’s coolly detached pop/R&B club hits just didn’t seem very cohesive on paper. Yet once they took to the stage at New Jersey’s Metlife Stadium on Saturday, the combination sparked middle finger-raising magic as fans rocked to a monster sized 50-song set list.
The pair had the crowd in awe as they stormed out amid a firework frenzy, starting the evening off with an adrenaline high that most acts reserve for their finale. Could they keep that level of energy for an entire set? As they kicked into Rihanna’s “Numb” and Eminem’s “Won’t Back Down,” all doubts went out the window.
The scene on the floor at Metlife was an interesting mix of young and old. There were 20-something yuppies who saved up to come and PARTY, and more brace-faced pre-teens than an Ariana Grande concert. A pack of die-hard Eminem fans from the days of The Mashall Mathers LP stood next to a 12-year-old boy who just bought his first snapback, not knowing (or caring) that the Slim has been famous for longer than he’s been alive. Some danced with wild abandon, while others stood wide-eyed, reverently mouthing oh my god. The two musical rebels onstage possessed an indescribable magnetism, and even those in the nosebleed seats felt starstruck.
Once the tag-teamed intro was over, Rihanna took the lead on act two with a marathon of radio bangers as she playfully teased the crowd with provocative choreography. This was different than classic Rihanna shows where she has as many costume changes as she does tattoos. Tonight she donned a ripped black tank-top decorated with a menacing femme-monster for a long portion of the show, and used her almost-to-the-floor hair extensions as her main accessory. Who
needs pyrotechnics when you’ve got the biggest superstar on the planet headbanging on a stage in front of 50,000 screaming people?
The crowd erupted once “Phresh Off The Runway” blasted from the speakers, and people took turns dancing with strangers in the aisles. But Badgalriri wasn’t afraid to switch it up, pausing at one point to transform the turnt up party vibes into a reflective tranquility for an emotional rendition of “Stay.” That was the calm before the storm as she reteamed with Eminem for the fiery “Love The Way You Lie.”
Then it was time for Eminem to tear into act three, plowing through a staggering 23-song medley of past and present hits including “The Way I Am” and “Rap God.” Rihanna assisted on a few songs by singing the choruses to “Airplanes Pt. 2” and “Stan” as Em dominated his portion of the show. Every track was greeted with extreme fan freak outs, but nothing compared to when he launched into “The Real Slim Shady.” It was like going through a time warp and experiencing Marshall Mathers phresh from 2000– hyped up and hilarious as ever.
Act four crept up after two hours of on-and-off hardcore rap and butt-shaking dance sequences. The two closed out the night with “Monster” (of course) and offered their heartfelt thanks to the audience. The combination of the Rap God and Queen RiRi was significantly more satisfying than expected. The two will make their next (and final!) stop at Eminem’s hometown of Detroit on August 22nd + 23rd. Get your tickets now!
[Photo: Getty Images]