Eminem: Live From New York City originally aired on the Showtime cable network back when it was first recorded in 2005. Now released on DVD from Eagle Vision, this concert DVD should help to tide over his fans until (or if) he decides to release a new studio album.
Professionally shot in Madison Square Gardens, this eighty minute concert captures Eminem at the height of his popularity as he storms his way through twenty-four tracks, all presented here uncut. Eminem doesn't go this one alone, however, as he's joined on stage by D12 for five tracks (Git Up, How Come, 40oz, My Band and the closing number, Lose Yourself), and joined by fellow D12 member Bizarre on one track (Rock Star). Obie Trice joins him for Got Some Teeth, Stat Quo joins him for Stay 'Bout It (Aqua) and The Set Up, while both Stat Quo and Obie Trice back him up on Like Dat. This show also marks the last time that Eminem would find himself onstage with D12 member Proof, who was shot to death in Detroit, appropriately enough on 8 Mile Road, not too long after this concert was recorded.
The stage is done up in typical Eminem fashion, inflatable middle fingers let the audience know what they're in for while an animated Marhsall Mathers III commits a crime or two on the video screen that makes up the bulk of the stage. Eminem and his compatriots roam around with anger and enthusiasm, delivering exactly what the crowd paid to see - a rough and spirited rap performance that takes the crass intelligence of Eminem's recorded works and brings it to life on stage. Madison Square Gardens is a long way from the small Detroit nightclubs where he got his start but Eminem shows here that success hasn't softened his anger or his temper, if nothing else, it seems to have given him more material to write about as proven with songs like My Band and Lose Yourself.
The track listing for this concert is as follows:
Backstage 1/Evil Deeds/Mosh/Business/Rain Man/Ass Like That/Puke/Kill You/Like Toy Soldiers/Git Up/How Come/Rock Star/40 oz/My Band/ Backstage 2/Stan/The Way I Am/Just Don't Give A Fuck/Got Some Teeth/Stay 'About It (Aqua)/The Set Up/Like Dat/Cleaning Out My Closet/Mockingbird/Just Lose It/ Backstage 3/Lose Yourself
It would have been nice to see some of the other acts that were on the bill the night this was shot (50 Cent, Ludcris and 'Lil John were also on the bill) but with the focus clearly on Eminem and not the other acts who joined him on the Anger Management III tour, it serves as a solid showcase for his live act. The emphasis is on the Encore album but there is a nice mix of tracks from the albums that came before and the performance itself stands up.
Eminem: Live From New York City arrives on DVD in a solid 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Though there are some mild compression artifacts present and there are a few noticeable instances where the stage lighting flares up a bit in the lens, this is quite a nice transfer overall. Color reproduction is good and there's a strong level of detail present throughout. Skin tones look good and there isn't any edge enhancement to complain about nor is there any heavy aliasing. Not reference quality, this is still never the less a very good picture and this release definitely looks better than most concert videos.
Eagle Vision has supplied three audio tracks for this release, all of which are in English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and DTS Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. No alternate languages or subtitles of any kind are included.
Both of the 5.1 tracks sound quite good on this disc with the DTS mix having slightly stronger bass. The lyrics are always quite clear and there's enough crowd noise in the mix that we know we're watching a live show but not so much that it takes over. Bass is strong and the high end is quite clear. The music comes from the front of the mix while the rears are used primarily for ambient and crowd noise. There are a couple of spots where a little more action from the rears would have pumped things up a bit but aside from that, this is a pretty active and well produced mix and this DVD sounds very good.
Aside from an insert containing a picture of Eminem grabbing his crotch and a brief essay from Rigo Morales (Senior Director of A&R for Shady Records), this release is barebones. Animated menus and song selection are included.
While the barebones presentation doesn't do this release any favors, at least the concert looks and sounds quite good. This isn't the release to turn you into an Eminem fan but for those who already know they enjoy his music, Eminem: Live From New York City comes recommended.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.