During Eminem’s Bonnaroo performance on Saturday, June 9, fans were sent into a panic after hearing what they believed to be three realistic gunshots at the conclusion of the artist's headlining set.
Following numerous erroneous reports from media outlets, Eminem’s manager, Paul Rosenberg, took to Instagram late Sunday evening to clear the air about the effects used on stage.
“Contrary to inaccurate reports, Eminem does not use gunshot sound effects during his live show,” Rosenberg wrote. “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.”
While Rosenberg's clarification makes perfect sense, here’s the rub: this is not unfounded outrage. People who voiced their unhappiness with Eminem’s performance, gunshots or not, are really speaking to their larger anxiety over the state of the country. When mass shootings are taking place in all settings at a startling rate but reformative legislation is being crafted at a snail’s pace, concertgoers are understandably concerned.
Last October, 59 people attending a country music festival in Las Vegas were killed when a gunman opened fire from his hotel room at the Mandalay Bay. It is the worst mass shooting in modern American history.