Eminem wins hearts and fans in capital with Yas Island gig
American rapper, songwriter and producer Marshall Mathers, known by his stage name Eminem, returned to Abu Dhabi on Friday, October 25, keeping fans on their feet with his greatest hits.
It was a capacity crowd at the du arena, Yas Island, as people had flocked over from across the country to witness the 15-time Grammy Award winner's performance.
Gates for the venue had opened up early at around 6.30pm with many eager fans heading to the venue to catch their vantage point for the headline act. As the clock approached 10, dressed in a white T-shirt and black tracksuit bottoms, Eminem appeared on stage supported by the cheers of thousands of fans.
It was a sizeable turnout. Fans, mostly in their early 20s, were treated to a set list which was a throwback to the 1990s and 2000s. Despite it being a warm evening - 31 degrees Celsius - many fans braved the hot conditions only to be mesmerised by popular tracks such as Like Toy Soldiers, The Real Slim Shady, and Not Afraid. The theme track of his 2002 semi-biographical movie 8 Mile - Lose Yourself - was left for an encore, much to the delight of his passionate fans.
The UAE stop for the Detroit rapper, which was part of his Kamikaze World Tour, also marking his second outing in Abu Dhabi, having previously performed back in 2012. This time around, however, the crowd must have lost count of the number of times the rapper made references to the capital in between his songs and said, "I've seen a lot of crazy crowds but you guys are very crazy."
For many fans who saw him for the first time, it was a night to remember. Palestinian resident Sama Matar, 21, described it as "the most amazing concert."
Sama along with her four friends had made their way from Sharjah and had purchased their tickets months before the concert.
"I just could not miss this concert for the world. As soon as the tickets were released, I wanted to book them. The best moment for me was when he sang Stan and River, that made my night," she added.
Some fans, however, did express their disappointment on social media about being stuck at the entrance for over two hours to enter the arena. This led the organisers to issue a statement on social media that evening, as an apology to the public for the delay, by saying that it "was to ensure the health and safety of fans entering the venue."
Briton resident Jade Worsley, 29, also took time out of her busy schedule to make the hour-long commute to catch the rapper on stage.
"I had to leave early from a work dinner to make my way to Yas Island. Though I was only able to catch the last few tracks, it was an incredible performance. Better late than never," said Jade.
Eminem's performance lasted about an hour and 15 minutes and it was quite an engaging show.
Jade also described the event as somewhat extraordinary, "I've seen his performances across the world on YouTube and the way he was interacting with the crowd and staying on stage for longer was quite unique."