The heavy police presence around the Melbourne venue, including some on horseback, have a quiet evening...

EMINEM‘s first ever Australian tour has started peacefully in MELBOURNE, despite a heavy police presence around the venue.

Eminem has just walked off stage at the Melbourne Rod Laver Arena after playing the first of two dates in the country (July 26).

Eyewitnesses at the show have told NME.COM that the event passed off without any signs of the protesters who campaigned against his arrival into the country earlier this month.

Instead, fans going to the concert were greeted by a visible police presence, some on horseback, and a large number of journalists waiting for any events to unfold.

Ironically, fans inside the show were well behaved. One fan who attended told NME.COM: “I was searched on the way into the venue, but from then on everyone seemed perfectly behaved. They were just completely appreciative of the fact he had come to Australia and was playing live for us…even the queue for merchandise at the end was orderly!”

As previously reported on NME.COM, Eminem‘s visit to the country has proven controversial, with a number of family groups and MPs backing a campaign to have the rapper’s entry visa blocked.

At today’s show, Eminem remained relatively tight-lipped about the campaign, but made a passing reference to the Australian Government prior to and during the song ‘Criminal’.

Media hype has been growing since the rapper’s arrival in Australia earlier in the week, and as a result ticket sales for the shows both in Melbourne and in Sydney tomorrow (July 27) have increased. Fans described the 15,000-capacity Rod Laver Arena as “almost sold out”, although there has been no official statement on how well the show has sold.

The Australian media have been following the star, with his every move making the headlines. One fan told NME.COM that she thought the professional manner in which he has approached the shows has proven many of his critics wrong.

She said: “The media in Australia seem very conservative and like to pull up the bad boy to fill their pages. But Eminem has proven them wrong. They needed a target and with his slick performance he’s let them down.”