MANSFIELD -- When psychiatrists use the term ''anger management," they're not talking about the ''Anger Management Tour" guided by Eminem and 50 Cent. This was more like ''anger unmanagement," as the cream of a couple of posses -- from Eminem's Shady Records stable and 50 Cent's G-Unit -- combined to unleash more invective and outlaw rapping last night than the Tweeter Center has seen in a while.
Eminem had the upper hand (or should we say largest middle finger?) in performing by far the best angry set of the night. He was the Rock of Gibraltar compared to 50 Cent's messy, anticlimactic effort in which 50 cut two numbers short and talked about being persecuted for a curfew violation that cost him $2,000 a minute for running overtime. Which was ludicrous, because 50 Cent was opening for Eminem and it was well before the Tweeter curfew of 11 p.m. Apparently, he has used a similar mock-curfew stance elsewhere on this tour, but it went over like a lead balloon last night.
Eminem was the life of this party from the minute he went on stage in an oversized tuxedo jacket and pants, rapping ''Evil Deeds," a confessional track with the line, ''I did not know that I would grow up to be my mother's evil seed and do these evil deeds." Behind him was a towering front of what looked like a cathedral with ornate doors and a Jumbotron screen at the center showing a stained-glass window. The ironic imagery was extremely effective.
Say what you will about Eminem, but he has become a riveting entertainer. His lyrical flow, his catlike movements, and his absolute command are second to none in the hip-hop world. And he even got political. He followed ''Evil Deeds" with ''Mosh," a tough number that takes an anti-George W. Bush stance in the verse, ''Strap him with an AK47, let him go fight his own war." One of his posse also wore a Bush caricature mask during the song.
Of course, Eminem's brand of entertainment has its inevitable shock-hop tendencies. He ripped Mariah Carey for ever thinking he was interested in her romantically, then illustrated his venom as a toilet bowl dropped down from one of the church doors and he pretended to vomit in it during ''Puke," which has the line, ''You don't know how sick you make me." And he mooned the crowd at one point, but he also smartly dismissed rumors of any impending retirement when he said he might just change his name from Eminem (or his alias, Slim Shady) to ''Rain Man," which he then performed. And his subsequent teaming with hip-hop crew D12 was electrifying.
The show began earlier than advertised, causing me to miss opener Lil John & the East Side Boyz, along with thousands of other frustrated fans. But I arrived in time to see 50 Cent jumping down from the rafters in a harness to begin his wildly uneven set. He had strong moments with some G-Unit members -- notably Olivia, who joined him on ''Candy Shop" and the sexy ''Just a Little Bit" -- plus the energetic Tony Yayo and old-school Mobb Deep. But then came the set's anticlimax and a nasty ''[bleep] the police" reference, stemming from posse members Young Buck and Lloyd Banks being arrested on a gun possession charge Monday after the Anger Management show at Madison Square Garden. Not very cool.