Rihanna and Eminem joined forces on stage at the Rose Bowl Thursday night. (Jeremy Deputat/Picture Group)
Days after delivering both Jay Z and Beyoncé together on stage, Live Nation followed suit with Eminem and Rihanna Thursday night at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. before a sold-out crowd.
At exactly 8:15 p.m., both rapper and singer hit the stage to a standing ovation – one that lasted for several minutes. In fact, it could easily be said that the audience never sat down during the two-hour and 45-minute long performance (It ended at 11 p.m.).
After they both shined in “Numb,” “No Love” and “Run this Town” (“Renegade” verse from Eminem), Rihanna briefly continued with “Live Your Life,” and Eminem then followed with “Crack a Bottle” before sharing the stage in “Won’t Back Down.”
This was just the warm-up to what was coming. Rihanna, dressed in a black-and-yellow suit-looking outfit and white, tall boots, busted out 17 consecutive tunes on her own. She owned the stage, captivating all in attendance.
Rihanna began her solo set with “What Now” before proceeding with other hot tracks that included “Rude Boy” and “What’s My Name?” – which at one point was remixed in with Trey Songz’ “Na Na.” Those two back-to-back musical displays had everyone jumping, screaming and dancing. Yes, dancing! Rihanna, being the sexual persona she is, has always managed to insert sexy and catchy choreography into her live sets; Thursday night was no different.
Before she finished her solo segment, the wildly hot Barbadian performed “Where Have You Been” and “Stay.” The contagious EDM-type tunes and lyrics of “Where Have You Been” couldn’t have been better. This portion included another impressive dance routine from Riri and her dancers. Quite often, Rihanna shook her hips back and forth, left and right … that there was phenomenal to see. She brought her A game.
“Stay” felt like the appropriate track for her to close off her solo set. The mellow and profoundly meaningful tune has been a favorite ever since it released, given that Rihanna doesn’t really put out too many ballads as singles. It was a lovely, yet soothing portion to the opening night of the Monster Tour.
Then Eminem appeared alongside Rihanna, and they tore the Rose Bowl down with “Love the Way You Lie.” Eminem’s verses were ridiculously on point. He rapped with a chip on his shoulder; in fact, all of his songs gave off that vibe. One thing is clear, however, and that’s that Eminem (even at 41 years of age) is one of the most respected and acclaimed rappers of all time – even though he doesn’t fit the usual ethnic criteria. He still has critics and always will, but he doesn’t give a damn. He’s doing his thang!
Rihanna soon left the stage for a much-needed rest, and the Detroit native began his much-awaited solo set with “3 a.m.” One of the tracks that the fellows in the crowd seemed to enjoy a lot was “Rap God.” Eminem’s fast-paced raps were on full display here, something the audience truly enjoyed. They shouted nonstop after each quick-fire verse was delivered.
“Marshall Mathers” turned out to be another fan fave of the night. It was surprising to witness how many people sang and rapped along to this track. He continued with “Just Don’t Give a Fuck” and “Still Don’t Give a Fuck,” which was a little comical to hear back-to-back.
“The Way I Am,” by far one of the most awaited songs of the night, came in fine fashion, as Eminem again depicted an emotional side when rapping this popular piece. A special moment followed when Rihanna appeared to support Slim Shady in “Stan,” as well as B.o.B and Hayley Williams’ (Paramore) “Airplanes, Part II.” Both songs enthralled.
Eminem possesses a lengthy repertoire, and even though he couldn’t perform all of it, he did a rather remarkable job of including some of his early hits that included “My Name Is,” “The Real Slim Shady” and “Without Me.” He closed off his solo set with “Not Afraid.”
Rihanna returned to perform “Diamonds” and “We Found Love,” beginning the song as an acoustic version before the regular Calvin Harris-infused dance song took over everyone’s body and mind.
As expected, Eminem followed Riri’s last two songs with “Lose Yourself” – a piece that got everyone cray cray.
The encore was “The Monster,” which was the perfect ending to a perfectly entertaining concert.