He likes to make things look a bit darker though, maybe in order to have some contrast in his shows, and the effect is always surreal and magical. The first three pictures are from the Parc des Princes concert (7/2008 and then the clown stage setting from Cattolica (8/2010). Btw, I would love to know how he feels about his own modern touring life.
People often want to make clear that they travel around the world to see Mika concerts only to meet their friends or/and that they would have travelled to those destinations in any case for holidays. Usually I don’t bother to explain myself. I love seeing these concerts and I’m an adult, so I can use my time and money for this if I like (and I do like). Still, seeing fantastic places/some of my favorite cities, meeting friends and local people and having an opportunity to watch around and observe things in different countries, yes, it’s definitely a bonus! Italian sun set in the first pic, so pretty!!
The Cattolica gig in Italy in August 2010 was one of the most entertaining concerts I’ve seen. So much fun!! Mika was in his funny and relaxed mood and telling random jokes. After only a few words in the beginning of the gig Nezza (who was next to me) and I looked each other: This is going to be a good one!!!! (I know, I know!!). A few words can tell so much. I love his random silly mode, it’s like an order to the audience to relax and enjoy. Music should not be taken too seriously, life should not be taken too seriously. Smiling, laughing, enjoying the music, having fun. Good things.
The gig was day after Mika’s birthday, and Italian fans wanted to give him a cake and sing Happy Birthday. I was so pleased they generously let us foreigners to take part of the surprise. It’s always good to be a part of the group and not an outsider. To tell the truth, I’m not always so keen on different surprise projects. Too often they turn out to be too competitive (you know what I mean, fans do things to get his time and attention). Sometimes I even find these projects a bit disturbing (Happy Ending is one of my favorite songs, I want to be able to concentrate on listening to it properly, without being worried what’s happening in the audience). Sometimes these surprises are a great success (like simple bubbles in Tallinn, loved it) and in Cattolica everything felt really appropriate. After all, it was his birthday just day before the gig! It was fun – cake, flowers, confetti, balloons!! See the vid below both giving the cake and eating it.
Birthday surprise and Happy Ending:
Eating the cake:
Going to Italy is always a major culture shock for me. People are so friendly and helpful I can’t believe it. As soon as I get the idea of traveling, someone is already emailing me maps, timetables and even addresses for suitable restaurants. If Italians are not keen on the idea of foreigners coming to their gigs they don’t let me feel it, because it’s just against their nature, they seem to be proud of their generosity and hospitality.
When I’m finally in Italy, someone will tell me where to go, translate everything important and even bring me some water before I have time to realize how badly I actually need it. People take care of each other, share and communicate. In Finland old people can die on a street in the middle of the day and no one takes a notice. Sometimes I feel Finnish people take a contact with their neighbors only to check the value of their house, car or television in order to feel superiority or jealousy (and how sick is that). I’m exaggerating of course, but there are some clear cultural differences.
I always enjoy being in Italy and I think Mika enjoys being in Italy too, at least all the Italian gigs I’ve seen so far have been more than successful. My trip to Italian summer festivals in Rome and Udine last July was beyond amazing, not least because of our very special bus trip across Italian countryside. The venue in Udine was one the most beautiful venues I’ve seen. Mika loves using extraordinary venues (churches, old theaters, castles, sea side areas…) and it often makes his concerts even more special.
I linked below Kick Ass and Blame It on The Girls from Rock in Roma and Blue Eyes from Udine, so it’s easy to see two different stage settings he used during the Festival Tour (must be easier with two of them, one in use and another one on it’s way to the next destination), he had a setting with trees and another one with flowers and simple letters M-I-K-A. He is awesome, isn’t he? Bello bellissimo grazieeeee!!!!! That’s all my Italian.
Seeing Mika live for the first time is a surprising experience for many people, he is brilliant on stage and takes all their attention. People can hardly see the band/the audience/the stage setting/anything else. I saw my first Mika concert Feb 2008. The amazed feeling has never left me but gradually, after seeing more concerts, I started to understand and see the magical world he has built around his songs (with stage settings full of details and song characters living in their weird costumes). I started to observe the whole show dynamics and it made everything even more interesting. The main reason I go to see his concerts is still very simple and something I learnt when I saw him for the first time: he is brilliant on stage.
When the majority of the audience is sharing “the first time experience” the group effect is so fresh and strong it’s difficult to describe. That’s what happened in Riga, Latvia and Tallinn, Estonia (8/2010) during the Baltic Tour. I had already felt something like that in Helsinki, but in a smaller scale, because the venue was a night club (a big one, but still an intimate and closed venue compared to arenas and outside areas). I didn’t know what to expect from bigger Baltic city concerts. I learnt later that singing along is somewhere very deep in Baltic culture. The way the Baltic audience was taking part of these shows was very natural and effortless. People concentrated on the performance and enjoyed, many of them knew the lyrics and sang along, and the atmosphere was fantastic.
I loved it. I let myself concentrate on the most important things, his voice and energy, just like everyone else. I loved the atmosphere and watching Mika’s face when he realized he is doing some of his best concerts for a long time in cities like Riga and Tallinn. Who would have thought in advance? I didn’t, and I don’t think he took it for granted either.
The Tallinn concert will always be remembered as the bubble gig. Estonian fans gave bottles of soap to people in the audience (to make bubbles) and when Happy Ending started the whole venue area was filled with bubbles, in twenty seconds! The Estonian night was not too dark, and the bubbles looked beautiful, it was like magic! The first vid below is the bubble vid, and the second one is Rain from Riga. He takes his shirt off (“thanks for being a great audience, I had fun”), and the way he screams “baby” and starts jumping (like back row girls at an aerobic class) is beyond adorable. My favorite part of Rain. Must love him.
Happy Ending from Tallinn:
Rain from Riga: