Eminem: Live From New York City, recently released on Blu-ray from Eagle Rock Entertainment, features a 78 minute concert by Eminem. The show was taped in 2005, while Eminem was promoting the weakest album of his career, Encore.
The emphasis on material from that album diminishes what is already a rather dreary performance. Most of the big hits in the setlist are severely truncated, with favorites like "Stan" and "Cleaning Out My Closet" shortened to a single verse. And if you aren't a fan of D-12, be prepared for a rough middle patch as the group dominates that portion of the show.
So what is good about the release?
I would have to say the most entertaining aspect is the audience reaction shots. Usually I can't stand excessive cutaways to the fans cheering and singing along. But there's something amusing about watching the young men and women rapping along with their idol. They seem mesmerized and extremely serious about what they're watching. Many of Eminem's best songs are outrageously funny, but for the most part the audience bumps along without cracking a smile.
I would've preferred more unintentionally funny audience reaction to Eminem's dour stage persona. When the various members of D-12 take the stage, they come across more amped up than the star of the show.
What works on an album doesn't always work on stage. Most, if not all, of these songs are better in their recorded form. From the sound of it, Eminem is rapping along to his own prerecorded track. I can understand the teleprompters that are easily visible near the bottom of the stage - he's got a lot of words to remember. But there's not much spontaneity in hearing a guide vocal in the background. Incidentally I did not detect any prerecorded track when D-12, and other guest performers such as Obie Trice and Stat Quo, were rapping.