Love him or hate him, Eminem has definitely created a name for himself and made for some truly entertaining news stories over the years. Those fortunate enough to still enjoy his music after we were inundated and saturated with it over past decade will no doubt appreciate a Blu-ray release of his 2005 New York City concert that garnered so much attention and praise, both from those who attended it and from those who wish they attended it. As vulgar and obscene as he is entertaining and engaging, Eminem enraptured a massive audience that night and say what you will about his life and the way he presents himself…he definitely knows how to get a crowd worked up.
Eminem is THE global rap superstar. This concert was filmed at Madison Square Garden’s in New York in 2005 at the culmination of his final tour prior to his retirement from live performance. It’s a spectacular show with multi-level staging, amazing lighting, and guest appearances from D12, Obie Trice and Stat Quo. Originally filmed for US TV series “Showstoppers,” this Blu-ray makes the entire show available in high definition for the first time and gives us Eminem at his charismatic best.
While I’m not one of his biggest fans, I will say that do enjoy Eminem’s songs from time to time. Often just the ones poking fun at politics or the media, however, as some of his darker songs are…well, kind of morbid. There’s an audience for all of his material, however, and they’re clearly represented in the audience in NYC. The amount of screaming and whooping that comes out of that crowd is absolutely ridiculous at times. It’s understandable, however—at this point in time, Eminem was at his biggest, before he faded away slightly.
What I found most interesting about this concert wasn’t the experience I got from viewing it, but what I gleaned from the booklet included with the disc. The writer makes note of the various opening acts that preceded Eminem that night, all huge stars in their own right, but at the same time it was clear what the audience was waiting for…and Eminem’s eventual explosion onto the stage definitely made for an exciting visual at the start of this disc. The constant prodding of the crowd with mentions of New York City (which they do with mind numbing repetition) certainly eggs them on throughout the entire piece and as soon as it starts it seems it’s abruptly over. At a scant seventy-eight minutes the concert certainly isn’t the longest I’ve seen placed on Blu-ray, but the amount of sweat that Eminem and Co. put into the performance is certainly exhausting enough in its own right.
The track listing includes:
01) Backstage 1
02) Evil Deeds
05) Rain Man
06) Ass Like That
08) Kill You
09) Like Toy Soldiers
10) Git Up (with D12)
11) How Come (with D12)
12) Rock Star ( with Bizarre)
13) 40oz (with D12)
14) My Band (with D12)
15) Backstage 2
17) The Way I Am
18) Just Don’t Give a ****
19) Got Some Teeth (with Obie Trice)
20) Stay ‘Bout It (Aqua) (with Stat Quo)
21) The Set Up (with Stat Quo)
22) Like Dat (Stat Quo & Obie Trice)
23) Cleaning Out My Closet
25) Just Lose It
26) Backstage 3
27) Lose Yourself (with D12)
Granted I hadn’t heard a handful of these, but quite a few of the tracks were undeniably exciting to listen to (notably the closer). Slightly surprising the one Eminem concert available on Blu-ray doesn’t include his most popular song…but hey. Gotta save something for the next one, I suppose. Recommended for fans…everyone else can just stay away.
The concert itself arrives in a standard Elite Blu-ray case with the aforementioned booklet, containing a forward and photos from the concert. Menus are simple and easy to navigate. Video arrives in the form of a VC-1 encoded transfer which, aside from the backstage footage which looks noticeably non-HD and quite haphazardly filmed and blocky, looks pretty solid. It’s presented in 1080i, but there’s still plenty of details to make out within the crowd and the stage (and, again, the amount of visual sweat as well). Audio comes in three flavors: DTS-HD MA 5.1, DD5.1 and LPCM 2.0. As usual the DTS-HD reigns supreme with excellent channel spread and fantastic clarity.
Extras? Well if you consider the three intercut Backstage bits to be extras I guess you could count those…but if not? Then yeah, there aren’t any extras.
Once again, Recommended just for the fans.
Eminem: Live From New York City is now available on Blu-ray.