The people at Eminem’s set at Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tennessee on Friday night, probably anticipated the hallmarks of an Eminem set. Like rap growling performed under a brimmed black military hat, or possibly a mention of Detroit. What they didn’t expect was the sound of gunshots firing around them. According to Eminem, everyone can calm down, because he wasn’t traumatizing the audience with the sound of gunfire.
During Eminem’s performance of Kill You,” a lot of people thought they heard gun shows when he rapped the words, “bitch I’ma kill you.” In the video, the gunshot sound effect causes people to freak out.
— EMINEM_TOUR_UPDATES (@Eminemreviv1) June 10, 2018
People says that shortly after the show, several people expressed on Twitter that they thought it was extremely tasteless that Eminem’s set would include the sound of realistic gunshots literally less than a year after the deadly concert shooting in Las Vegas. One person reportedly tweeted that they and everyone around them ducked and panicked when the sound effect happened, adding that they felt traumatized by the experience. Another festival goer claims the sound happened at least three times. Some also called out Bonnaroo for allowing what sounded like a gunshot to be part of the festival.
One fan claimed that Eminem has been using the sound effect since 2001 when he first started performing the song live, and that it’s not anything new.
But apparently what the crowd heard and got scared about allegedly wasn’t even gunshot sounds. A spokesperson for Eminem confirmed to People that, yes, he has been using the sound effect in his set for years now, and that it’s actually just the sound of pyrotechnics.
“Contrary to inaccurate reports, Eminem does not use gunshot sound effects during his live show. The effect used by Eminem in his set at Bonnaroo was a pyrotechnic concussion which creates a loud boom. He has used this effect – as have hundreds other artists – in his live show for over 10 years, including previous US festival dates in 2018 without complaint.”
Regardless of whether it’s a concert standard for him, a pyrotechnic boom that just so happens to sound almost exactly like a gunshot, that happens during a song called “Kill You,” set off in a densely-populated public space is kind of a recipe for terror. I have a feeling that karma’s going to get some payback on Eminem with a sound so terrifying it will cause him to duck and cover. The sound of his dressing room door creaking open followed by Mariah Carey whispering, “Hey gorgeous.”