D12 : Detroit St Andrew’s Hall

Eminem and D12 play their first show in support of their forthcoming Dre-produced album...

After four hours of waiting in front of St. Andrew’s Hall in Detroit, the natives are restless. Considering tonight’s D12 performance is a make-up show, (the last one was cancelled after some anti-Eminem violence erupted at an Everlast show here a few months back, the 1000+ fans outside get the feeling that Em‘s luck has changed and perhaps this one will be cancelled, too. Some have paid upwards of $120 to catch a glimpse of Slim and his longtime underground posse, the Dirty Dozen (a.k.a. D12). Finally, the crew pulls up in a Hummer limousine, circles the block for effect, and piles out. All part of building Mr. Mathers‘ bling bling-shrouded mystery.

Once the doors finally open, things take shape more rapidly. Following a pair of quick sets from locals Obie-Trice and special unannounced guests the Beatnuts, the dark-clad Dozen (actually a half-dozen) take the stage one by one, verse by verse. Slim enters and, despite his contrasting head-to-toe white attire, he’s uncharacteristically unassuming. Tonight’s not really his night, after all. It’s more a communal celebration of D12’s ‘Devil’s Night’ LP, named after the pre-Halloween eve where Detroit’s inner-city house-burning problem, or at least its overblown mythology, manifests itself each year.

While on stage, D12 swiftly becomes D30 or so, as glad-handers, friends, and family converge on the already small platform. The band previews a number of new tracks from the forthcoming Slim and Dre-produced album set for a June 19th release. Included in the set are ‘Purple Pills’, ‘Girls’ and ‘That’s How (People Get Fucked Up)’ culminating in a raunchy, yet very tight, performance. Much of the racially diverse crowd is obviously already familiar with D12’s latest batch, as each track garners thunderous applause. Slim breaks into ‘Quitter’, his unharmonious ode toEverlast, perhaps hoping to stir the crowd but it’s the band’s ‘Fight Music’ that riles them to near riotous proportions. “Who in Detroit loves to fight?” he queries. C’mon, Em. We all do, remember?

Ken Taylor