It was the rapper’s first public performance since his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction last November in Los Angeles, joining the latest stop of Sheeran’s Mathematics Tour for a two-song surprise guest spot deep into the show.
“I’ve always been excited to come and play in Detroit,” Sheeran told the crowd of more than 65,000 at Ford Field, noting that Eminem is “one of my favorite” artists and talking about sampling the fare at the rapper’s Mom’s Spaghetti takeout nearby. “I wonder if I can play a cover of one of his songs for you?”
Sheeran — who’d also shouted out his love for Em during a Friday night (July 14) Subtraction Tour show at the suburban Royal Oak Music Theatre — and his five-piece band then began playing Eminem’s award-winning hit “Lose Yourself,” singing the opening lyrics until Eminem, sporting a dark hoodie and baseball cap, joined him to the roof-raising delight of a crowd Sheeran had already pronounced the loudest of the tour so far. The two worked through the first verse and chorus of the song, with Eminem commanding the already-on-its-feet crowd to “stand up!”
Sheeran then told the fans that Eminem “was gonna come on and do one song, and I said, ‘You can’t come on in Detroit and do just one song. Do you want to hear another?’”
The two then recreated their Rock Hall performance of Eminem’s 2000 smash “Stan,” with Sheeran covering Dido‘s sung parts. The two shared a couple of hugs, with Eminem saying “Thank you, Ed. I appreciate you, Detroit. I love you. Peace!” before leaving the stage with a middle-finger salute to the audience.
“I don’t know about you, but that was pretty awesome,” Sheeran said before rolling into his next song, “Perfect.” He later gushed, “This has been such a memorable night. I will never forget it,” and for the encores, Sheeran paid further tribute to Eminem during the encores by wearing a Detroit Lions jersey with the number five and the name Mathers on the back.
The two have been regular collaborators over the years, of course, Sheeran guested on Eminem’s single “River,” from his 2017 Revival album, and also with 50 Cent on “Those Kinda Nights,” from 2020’s Music to Be Murdered By. Eminem, meanwhile, appeared on “Remember the Name,” from Sheeran’s No. 6 Collaborations Project in 2019.
Prior to the Rock Hall induction, Eminem performed at last August’s MTV Video Music Awards and with Snoop Dogg at ApeFest 2022 in June. Those came after being part of the Emmy Award-winning halftime show at Super Bowl LVI in Inglewood, Calif. Eminem hasn’t performed a full-length concert, however, since October 2019 in Abu Dhabi, one of seven international shows he played that year.