With Jay Z and Beyoncé‘s joint tour dubbed the On the Run tour, Eminem and Rihanna‘s competing stadium Monster jaunt is akin to a musical drive-by. Like two mercenaries coming together to build on their mutual notoriety and string of massive hits, Slim Shady and RiRi have birthed the perfect beast, which kicked off last night (Aug. 7) at Pasadena, Calif.’s iconic Rose Bowl.
Between Eminem’s legendary but reclusive rap status and Rihanna being one of pop music’s most consistent hit-makers of the past decade, the Monster tour launch drew an impressively panoramic cross-section of 60,000 fans. From family scenes of tweens with parents in tow to packs of twenty-something men and women to a middle-aged contingent who bought The Slim Shady LP when it first debuted in early 1999, there was a festive, communal energy around the stadium.
With the sun setting in the distance, the show started with a short film with Eminem as a Hannibal Lecter-type character in an isolation chamber and Rihanna as his Clarice Starling, leading to the pair hitting the expansive stage to open with “Numb,” their collaboration from her 2012 album, Unapologetic.
Shifting into a version of Jay Z’s “Run This Town,” the pair performed a handful of hits together including T.I.‘s “Live Your Life” and “Won’t Back Down” before Eminem disappeared into the shadows to allow Rihanna to perform an extended set of her icy electro R&B hits.