American rapper Eminem returned to the UK for a three-night-only string of gigs at the weekend – and stunned fans in Glasgow, Reading and Leeds with his amazing – and sober – show. His performance was jam packed with all of his biggest hits, but while his Slim Shady alter ego featured on his set-list, the Marshall Mathers who appeared on stage was a long way from the Eminem of old! Now 44, the rap star has adopted a clean living lifestyle, and relied on nothing but water to help fuel his energetic performance.
The rap icon rocked Reading, and then the Leeds festival over the bank holiday weekend, headlining Saturday and Sunday nights respectively. And, joined by his on-stage sidekick Mr Porter, the duo literally brought the house down as they encouraged the 90,000-strong crowds each night to join in with their raps.
Eminem recently talked about his journey to sobriety and admitted to Men's Journal that in the course of overcoming addiction he got very seriously into exercise. "I got an addict's brain," the rap star told the publication, "and when it came to running, I think I got a little carried away."
"I had trouble sleeping," he explained of his detox process. "So I started running. It gave me a natural endorphin high, but it also helped me sleep, so it was perfect. It's easy to understand how people replace addiction with exercise. One addiction for another, but one that's good for them."
But while a tee-total Eminem (sporting the same beard that set Twitter alight when he first revealed it back in June) might not have been what the crowd expected, they were very happy with what they saw. He churned out hit after hit (from Toy Soldiers to Love the Way You Lie, with Ebony taking Rihanna's part) before ending the night on a high with Lose Yourself.