Voodoo Experience Day 1

I had things to do, and was late getting out the door (is that not always the case with me and the first day of a festival? Why would I ever think it would be different?) but the one artist I wanted to see for sure fer shur today was Eminem. Yes, Eminem in his only concert this year. Me, the non Eminem fan, thrilled to see him.

It was raining when I left, so the less time spent outdoors, the better. It continued to drizzle, with spats of heavier rains, but no actual downpours. So wet feet, wet jeans, and cold, but not miserable. I bought a heavy duty rain poncho for the downpour, but the deluge did not come, perhaps because I bought the poncho for the downpour and thus jinxed it.

I walked in and Justice was playing. Because of the rain and cold, the crowd was thin-ish, but no less enthusiastic. The nice thing about the main stages at Voodoo in City Park, is the audience gets to stand on a paved track, so it may have been muddy elsewhere, and treacherous footing where the lighting was insufficient, but here it was solid footing, perfect for dancing. And dancing there was. In fact, the Man from Burning Man was there, a larger than life marionette, done up in El Wire. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, since Burners Without Borders were originally formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Burning Man participants wanting to come down to Louisiana and contribute enthusiasm and work to rebuilding the devastated communities. They specifically helped rebuild a Buddhist monastery, in a documentary I saw detailing it. Anyway, here’s the Man enjoying Justice. Justice was cut off, their sound turned off, but you could tell both they and their fans could have easily gone on for another few hours. Besides, dancing in the rain kept one warm!

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The Burning Man Man Dancing to Justice

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Another nice feature Voodoo does is specifically geared towards large crowds and camping in front of one stage exclusively: cameramen capture the main act playing, and project it onto the screens of the other stage. For Justice, with an excessive amount of fog/smoke from machines, I rarely could even see the two artists. But I could usually see the cameramen, because their white bags protected their cameras. But if I turned around, and looked at the other stage, I saw a perfect image of what I could not see!

And then it was time to move over to the other stage and watch Eminem. Perhaps it is a good thing I am not a huge fan, as everything was new to me. His visuals were great, showing videos throughout, and his band was dressed in skeleton costumes. The opening were a few quotes that I didn’t quite catch, and then it launched into a video involving blood and death and corpses, appropriate for Halloween horror. Other videos had a comic book theme, toy soldiers by computer animation, computer graphics, etc. They may have been videos aired on MTV, I have no idea, they were all new to me. The advantages of being a casual fan.

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I can’t help it, I like Eminem. He makes me laugh. I can’t take him seriously. Despite his bravado and bluff, what lyrics I catch just amuse. “The FCC / won’t let me be!” Sure, he swears a lot, is offensive on purpose, but given the subject matter of some of his songs, it is obvious this is all just for show. It is his stage persona. What with him having the numerous alter egos Eminem, Slim Shady, Big Proof, etc., it is obvious that he is clear he as a performer is not the same as he as a person. “Ever since I broke up with / What’s-Her-Name…” Sure, we know more about his personal life because he is a celebrity who has had relationship issues, but chances are for most of us that if we were celebrities, people would know far too much about our relationship issues too. Why should he be different?

Anyway, he did not disappoint. I continued dancing the night away, and he ended the show. With an encore. (Come on people, if the house lights and roadies do not come out, the show is not over yet!) Eminem, with his sad, world weary, mischevious eyes, willing to play with different musicians, musical stylings and dance styles, put on an excellent show. I am so glad to have had the chance to see him.

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And off we all trudged, through the mud towards the other lights and music, to see the last song of Ween on the way out.

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Ween Performing the Last Song of the Day

More tomorrow, as tomorrow is KISS. Thank you Henry Rollins for putting the image of KISS Nation in my head, making me curious to want to see The Nation.

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