Eminem delivers to the marshalled masses
Hundreds of gardaí, body searches and booze bans - all in a day’s work for Slane
Eminem aka Marshall Mathers: Commanded the stage at Slane Castle.
With over 700 gardaí on duty, hundreds of private security staff, 500 local stewards, Coast Guard units, and with the centre of the village ring-fenced with metal barriers, Eminem’s Slane Castle gig was heavily protected against what many clearly perceived to be a potentially threatening demographic - all 80,000-plus of them - attending the venue.
To this end, there were security checks on official shuttle buses leaving Dublin for the venue - slabs of beer were confiscated - but not even the best efforts of the Garda could check the contents of every vehicle. Hence, on the approach roads to Slane via Navan, the regular sight of obviously inebriated young men urinating against house walls and hedges.
So it goes.
The approach to the venue site itself was akin to running a security gauntlet - ticket holders were firmly but politely subjected to numerous searches for alcohol, drugs and anything that could be practically transformed into a weapon. The atmosphere was, therefore, more like a boisterous sporting event than what visits to Slane Castle gigs usually are: a pleasant day out.
In what also was a first - at least in this writer’s experience- entrance into the VIP compound was accompanied by what could be politely termed a very thorough body search.
Out in the actual site, away from the rather more civilised VIP area, where the likes of singer Mary Coughlan, entertainer Twink, and high profile solicitor Gerald Kean relaxed to the strains of pummelling hip-hop in the background, the rain had caused its usual sloppy havoc. Shoulder-to-shoulder, mucky-boot to mucky-boot, the capacity audience - which often resembled a surreal blend of Topshop customers and medieval peasants - seemed to be bearing up well to the demands of the day.
“We don’t care about the mud or the wet,” said 19-year-old Shauna Devine, from nearby Lobinstown. “Eminem is a legend and I’m just delighted to be here.”
Similar sentiments were shared by 28-year-old Larry Kehoe, who had travelled to Meath from Wexford. “I was all set to go to Eminem at Slane eight years ago and was gutted when he cancelled. I’m here now, though, and I can’t wait.”
Unscientific observations at various points throughout the afternoon and evening indicated that the weather could do what it wanted to do; people were here to - as an Eminem song would have it - lose themselves.
On that front, the Detroit rapper certainly delivered.
Coming on stage over an hour after his official start time of 8pm, Eminem and his crew made sure that there wasn’t a secluded square foot on the pitch.
To say he commanded the stage as he ran through a slew of his hits - including The Way I Am, Stan, Lose Yourself, Like Toy Soldiers, Cleanin’ out my Closet, and Love the Way you Lie - is an understatement.