Eminem and Rihanna are playing only three cities on this tour. The other two were Pasadena, California, and East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Christopher Polk / Getty Images)
Two superstars. One Monster concert event.
Eminem and Rihanna bring their “Monster” tour to Comerica Park Friday and Saturday. It’s one of the biggest concert events of the summer: The dynamic duo — who have joined forces on two smash No. 1 singles — only played three cities on the tour, and the two Detroit shows (which follow concerts in Pasadena, California, and East Rutherford, New Jersey) close out the short six-date pairing.
Hometown superstar Eminem hasn’t played Detroit since he linked up with Jay Z for back-to-back shows at Comerica Park in 2010, and his concert dates in the time since have been mostly festival appearances.
Expected attendance at the shows is 45,000 per night, second only this summer to last weekend’s One Direction blockbusters, which brought roughly 50,000 fans per night next door to Ford Field.
Expect both artists to present career-spanning sets of 20 songs each, and to come together for about 10 songs, adding up to a massive set list of around 50 songs.
For Rihanna, who has performed shows at Joe Louis Arena, The Palace of Auburn Hills and DTE Energy Music Theatre, these mark the biggest Detroit shows of her career.
But Eminem has been doing stadium business in Detroit since he headlined Ford Field for back-to-back nights in 2003.
Here’s a look at Eminem’s hometown concerts since “My Name Is” first made him a household name 15 years ago.
May 23, 1999, State Theatre: This hometown headlining show came three months after the release of “The Slim Shady LP.” Special guest Dr. Dre came on stage during “Guilty Conscience,” and Eminem closed the night with an encore of “As the World Turns” before uttering “rest in peace, Detroit” as he walked off the stage.
July 25, 1999, Phoenix Plaza, Pontiac: Why didn’t Eminem play Woodstock ’99? He was on the Warped Tour at the time, and this local stop found him sharing the bill with Ice-T, Pennywise, Blink-182 and an emerging young rap group called the Black Eyed Peas.
Nov. 26, 1999, Royal Oak Music Theatre: This was one of the last times local fans were able to catch Eminem on a small stage. By the time this concert rolled around, “The Slim Shady LP” had sold 2.6 million copies and Eminem was well on his way to superstardom.
July 6, 2000, Joe Louis Arena: This date, part of the successful “Up in Smoke” tour, saw Eminem sharing the stage with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube. This show was mired in controversy when Detroit officials blocked the showing of a graphically violent video that introduced Dr. Dre’s set.
July 7, 2000, The Palace of Auburn Hills: The controversial video that was blocked the night prior was shown, but this show made headlines for other reasons when Kim Mathers, Eminem’s wife at the time, attempted suicide in the couple’s Sterling Heights home following the concert.
Oct. 29, 2000, The Palace: This date, part of the inaugural “Anger Management” tour, found Eminem sharing a bill with Limp Bizkit, Papa Roach and Xzibit.
Sept. 8, 2002, The Palace: Two years later, the “Anger Management” tour returned, this time with Papa Roach, Xzibit and newbies Ludacris, the X-ecutioners, D12 and Obie Trice in tow.
March 13, 2003, Saint Andrew’s Hall: Eminem’s “8 Mile” DVD release party featured a short performance by the rapper, as well as appearances by Mekhi Pfifer, D12, Xzibit and Funkmaster Flex.
July 12-13, 2003, Ford Field: These two monster concerts — Eminem’s only North American tour dates in 2003 — saw about 100,000 fans representing 45 of the 50 states celebrating the height of Em’s success. Missy Elliott and 50 Cent opened the shows, which featured a video intro including cameos from Kid Rock and a pre-scandal Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
June 29, 2005, Center Parking Garage roof, Detroit: There once was a time when Kwame Kilpatrick had pull in this town, and at the behest of the then-mayor, Eminem performed “Lose Yourself” at the Rockin’ the Rooftop fundraiser for the Detroit Parade Company prior to the International Freedom Festival Fireworks spectacular. Spotted in the audience that night was Em’s ex-, Kim Mathers, whom he would remarry six months later (and divorce again less than three months after that).
Aug. 12, 2005, Comerica Park: It was clear something was off with Eminem during this show, part of his “Anger Management 3” outing with D12, 50 Cent, G-Unit, Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz, Obie Trice and Stat Quo. He appeared bloated on stage and gave a sloppy performance, and less than a week after the show, Eminem called off a European tour and checked himself into rehab for drug addiction.
Feb. 4, 2006, State Theatre, Detroit: The Shady Bowl Super Party, a tie-in to Super Bowl XL, at the time made headlines when Em mooned cameras during a photo op in the State Theatre lobby. On a grim note, this concert marked the last time Em shared a Detroit stage with his best friend Proof, who was gunned down in an after-hours club in Detroit two months later.
May 20, 2009, Sound Board at MotorCity Casino: This free release party celebrating Em’s “Relapse” album saw the rapper perform an eight-song, 35-minute set for about 2,000 fans.
Sept 2-3, 2010, Comerica Park: Em kicked off his two-city “Home and Home” outing with Jay Z at the Tigers’ home, and the blockbuster concerts included appearances by Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Drake, Lloyd Banks, D12 and Trick Trick. At one point Em got the crowd to chant for Dre’s long-delayed “Detox” album, and as Dre left the stage, the reclusive star promised, “I’m comin’!” Update: We’re still waiting.
March 24, 2011, Royal Oak Music Theatre: Eminem joined his Shady Records crew Slaughterhouse on stage at this show, performing “2.0 Boys” with the group and Yelawolf.
Eminem and Rihanna: The 'Monster' tour
7:30 p.m. Friday
2100 Woodward, Detroit