Eminem at Epicenter Twenty Ten at the Auto Club Speedway Over the Weekend
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly

Eminem at Epicenter Twenty Ten at the Auto Club Speedway Over the Weekend

Check out our Epicenter Twenty Ten slideshows:
Day One: Eminem, Kiss, Papa Roach and more
Day Two: Blink-182, Bad Religion, Rise Against and more

Eminem at Epicenter 2010 
September 25, 2010
Auto Club Speedway

The Show: Though he sang about the vilest of things on the Slim Shady LP, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Eminem's early work. His machine gun delivery coupled with razor sharp wit boosted this white boy to the level of a rap legend. 
Eminem at Epicenter Twenty Ten at the Auto Club Speedway Over the Weekend
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly

That's not to say that the new stuff isn't good. I think it's great that he's doing duets with Rihanna about domestic abuse. It totally makes sense coming from a guy who once dueted with his own daughter about murdering the child's mother. 

 Needless to say, it was with a skeptical ear that I stood in front of the stage at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana to witness Eminem's momentus comeback.

 The troubled rapper, who's struggled with addiction over the years, hasn't toured since 2005. Saturday night's show made mention of this fact with a huge power point style presentation informing the audience that they were about to witness Eminem's "recovery." And from the opening salvo of thunderous bass to the band member introductions at the end of the show, Eminem didn't dissapoint. 

Jumping off with "3 a.m." off 2009's Relapse, Em stormed the stage with laser-point intensity dispelling any uncertainty about his performance abilities following his flirtations with sobriety. As he loped across the stage crouched low and swinging his arm to the rhythms, it was clear, the audience was watching a troubled man now expertly chaneling the negativity of his life through a persona reborn.

 His raps were delivered with precision and intensity. And best of all, he was backed throughout the set by a live band which included a  woman whose resonant voice filled out  jams including the  B.O.B. song "Airplanes." She also sang on the single "Stan" enabling the intense emotion of the song's lyrics to be effectively conveyed.  It was heartbreaking to hear about Eminem's experiences shared with a disgruntled fan involving a family suicide  and the lack of understanding and alienation experienced by by both. "She don't know what it was like for people like us growing up." 

Other set highlights included Eminem being joined onstage by his cohorts from the band D12 who capered with Em while singing the song "My Band."  In a hip-hop world rife with artificial egos, Eminem brought the real thing.
Eminem at Epicenter Twenty Ten at the Auto Club Speedway Over the Weekend
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly

As for Bush, the poster boys of '90s-ra grunge, all I can say is that it was good they didn't follow Eminem. While singer Gavin Rossdale managed to display some impressive energy for a man of his age, bouncing around and scissor kicking and such, the music he and his band played on Saturday night was just as boring as I remember it being in 1993. This didn't bother the crowd which was ample and teeming with folks singing along to such hits as Machinehead and Glycerine. The performance, full of singles still heard on KROQ to this day, served to demonstrate that even the most mediocre bands are capable of attaining the highest level of success.

The Crowd: This was Fontana. There were trucker hats as far as the eye could see. There were also girls in bikini tops, guys with skulls tatooed on their heads and more than a few rail thin ladies with gap toothed smiles and horrible complexions.

Personal Bias: I'm a sucker for Eminem's earlier work.

Overheard: "No sweety. That's stress," said a young man to his girlfriend who was admiring the smell of weed wafting through the air. "This is Fontana."

Abridged Set list:

Square Dance
Kill You
Cleanin' Out My Closet
Purple Pills (D12)
My Band(D12)
Sing for the Moment
Like Toy Soldiers
Love the Way You Lie
Crack A Bottle
My Name Is
Without Me
Not Afraid


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >