It all started 10,000 metres up in the air, when I saw an ad in the newspaper announcing Eminem’s Australian tour. The words “Eminem is back” hypnotized me. I just HAD to go to one of his shows in Melbourne or Sydney. The only problem was, I was on a plane to Brisbane, over 700 kilometres away from Sydney and even further from Melbourne. For me, as a European, those distances seemed insurmountable.
I started a fruit-picking job on a zucchini field in Bundaberg and for the next few weeks, while I was walking with a stoop for eight hours straight a day in the sizzling Queensland sun, I couldn’t think of much else other
than the upcoming concert.
Should I scrap my initial plan to travel up the east coast, just because of a concert? Then again, it wasn’t just any old concert, but the first Eminem show in Australia in 10 years.
I decided to ask my fellow backpackers for advice. As I was about to mention my initial plan, an Irish traveller interrupted me and said: “Wait, you’ve got to remember the unwritten backpacker rule!”
“And what is that?”, I asked. “Plans never work out over here. You don’t plan as a backpacker,” he said.
Those words of wisdom convinced me. I was going to see Eminem live in concert, no matter what! The first show was only days away and I still had no ticket and no idea how to get to…? Wait a minute, where was I going anyway? First off I had to answer the age-old question for myself: Sydney or Melbourne?
While people could probably debate over that question for hours, I decided in the blink of an eye: Melbourne.
I wanted to check out the “most liveable city in the world”. I quickly arranged a ticket to the Eminem show online and booked a return flight to Melbourne.
Twenty hours later I was napping on the bus to Brisbane airport and I awoke to a loud bang. The bus came to a stop and the driver announced that we had a flat tyre.
Great! Would this mean I was going to miss the flight that would take me to the Eminem show? I immediately remembered the backpacker rule: plans never work out. But this was way too spontaneous to be considered as a real plan, right? It turned out that I was right and after we waited half an hour to change buses, I arrived dead on time at the terminal.
As I made my way to Melbourne’s huge Ethihad Stadium, thousands were already waiting for the gates to open, some of them had been standing in the line for nearly 24 hours!
After the Hilltop Hoods, Lil Wayne took the stage for the first time in Australia and told the crowd: “Melbourne is fucking awesome! I had to agree. After an hour of performing chart-breaking hits and even some skateboard tricks, it was finally time for the ‘Real Slim Shady’.
As he entered the stage you could literally feel the intense energy in the stadium. The crowd was going crazy and Eminem didn’t disappoint. He performed a firework of hits and ended the six-hour concert with an energetic version of “Lose Yourself”. The whole stadium was rapping along: “Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip?” I’m glad I seized the opportunity to be part of that memorable night.
I was supposed to leave Melbourne after the concert, but I fell in love with the city and I’m still here. Plus, you know how it is with backpackers and their plans…
February 24th, 2012