Written by Sarah

I have a debate going with my friend T about “meeting” a person versus “seeing” a person. After hearing my Ryan Gosling story, she was like, “Why didn’t you tell me you met Ryan Gosling?” And I was like, “Because there’s no way to get that into a conversation without it being a humble-brag, and also, I didn’t actually meet him.” I maintain I saw The Gos. We did not introduce ourselves, there was no verbal exchange. To me, meeting a person involves some kind of introduction and actual speaking. I bring this up so that I can talk about Eminem without it being a humble-brag. I tell you this so that we can determine the difference between meeting and seeing someone. Because I’m not sure what to call this interaction.

Eminem headlined Lollapalooza in Chicago on Saturday. In the week leading up to Lolla, Eminem was everywhere. You would think no one else was coming (other headliners included Coldplay, Foo Fighters and Muse) by how much attention and emphasis was put on Eminem. I told Lainey earlier in the week I didn’t plan on going, but my buddy D, who works for Capitol Records, called me on Friday and offered me his extra all-access pass for the weekend. Of course I rearranged my plans to accommodate his generous offer.

I cut my Saturday plans short in order to get to Grant Park in time for Em and holy sh*t I have never seen such a huge crowd anywhere, for anything. When I commented on the crowd to D he said they were estimating 65,000 people were there. By the end of the night the estimate was at 80,000 and as of Sunday it’s gone up to 90,000. It was a lot of people. We were backstage, which was utter chaos. I’d been backstage the night before for Coldplay and while it was a hive of activity, it wasn’t too crazy. Saturday night was NUTS. There were people everywhere. Everyone was there to see Eminem.

The first glimpse I got of him was before the show. My immediate impression was that he’s on the short side and was so focused and intense. I’ve seen Tiger Woods playing golf, and previous to seeing Eminem before a show, I thought that was the height of human intensity. Nope. Eminem was a hundred times more focused. Lainey, of course, wanted me to be on Girlfriend Watch, but if Em has a girlfriend she was keeping a low profile (assuming she both exists and was there on Saturday). There was the usual cadre of skanks one expects to see at a concert like this, but the only woman I noticed hanging around was Skyler Grey who sang her hook on I Need a Doctor.

Bruno Mars was also around for a split second when he did some song with Em that I didn’t know that had everyone taking out their cell phones. (I’m not hip, clearly.) As a concert, the show was phenomenal. I kinda thought Em was lip-synching—his mouth moves so fast yet there’s no compromise on sound quality. Doesn’t seem real, but the industry people I was with were insistent that he really is just that talented. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on this. I heard he wasn’t as good at Bonnaroo, that Saturday night at Lolla was ten times better than he was last month in Tennessee. I believe that—I don’t know if a performer can deliver more or better than Eminem did.

After his set ended, backstage was swarmed with sponsors, media types and people wanting to glad-hand Eminem. He seemed more approachable now than he did before, but I would definitely issue an “approach at your own risk” warning for dealing with Eminem. It’s not the warmest celebrity personality. Still, D and I were kind of edging around closer to him. He’s a lot better looking in person. (If he had work done, which I’m willing to believe given the damage drugs can do to your face, it’s settled and he looks fine now.) Then it suddenly occurred to both of us that we really had nothing to say to Eminem beyond “awesome show”, which would be a spectacular waste of everyone’s time and Em didn’t seem like he’d be into having a meaningless exchange just then. So we put on the brakes and parked it a few feet away.

This managerial type comes over, though, and starts in on Eminem about some kind of delay/hold up/inconvenience before he went on stage. Let me remind you that the backstage area was a mess. And behind this stage there was a whole system of electrical stuff and pathways for people to navigate between stages, bathrooms, dressing areas, trucks, etc. IT WAS CHAOS. Yet this guy is giving Em the business about some kerfuffle, which he probably couldn’t help or control, and I’m texting Lainey—Who talks down to Eminem?! After a couple more minutes the guy wanders off and leaves Em alone for a few moments. I’m an eye-roller, I admit it, and I know it bugs some people. But to me, the eye roll is an exquisite way to communicate a particular brand of disgust. So without really thinking about it, I massively eye-rolled that guy as he walked by me. The eye roll was aimed at D, really, since he was watching with the same sense of disbelief, but when I glanced over I saw Eminem looking right at me and laughing. And I responded by doing some unbelievably spazzy half-shrug, half-wave thing that I can’t even talk about, it was so uncool.

So what was that? A meet? Or a see?

(Lainey: Who gives a sh-t, meet or see??? Why didn’t you do as I begged you and hold hands with him???)

Photos from Wenn.com