Arriving to Corsica one day before the concert was a bliss. I had had so much fun during the whole trip, but a “festival tour” means tight schedules and sleepless nights, cheap hotels and standing at festivals in a rain without any food. It was worth it and I really enjoyed every moment, but when I arrived to my last destination (before a small break at home) I felt I needed some sun and rest.

The first pic is the view from my hotel window, and I don’t want to sound spoiled but I needed it. I deserved it, lol! The second pic is a restaurant across the hotel. They had some fantastic salads, not to mention proper table lines, and yes, I deserved that too. In the evening I had time to have a dinner near the beach with my French friends and when I got back to the hotel I found Yulia and we went to see the venue near the hotel before having a good rest.

When I saw the venue I realized immediately it was not just another venue. The square was a local place for concerts but it couldn’t be a coincidental venue for a Mika show. He was planning to bring his show under the statue of Napoleon. Seriously, he was planning to bring his new French style stage setting to this square in Ajaccio and to perform in his silly pants and Napoleon style jacket under the statue of Napoleon! Too cute and adorable. I loved the whole idea. Things like this make him special, I really wouldn’t bother doing all this for any other artist. Just to remind you, see the statue one more time below.

We had a relaxed day before the concert sitting and chatting in cafés and we were let in to the concert area only a short time before it started (no supporting acts). I almost couldn’t wait to see the show. I always love the moment before it all starts, I love watching his team making the final arrangements – I’ve seen them doing it in so many places – and I love watching his sister checking the stage in her black dress (she is gorgeous, she must be one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen) and I LOVE hearing songs like this. I admit that just writing all this makes my heart beat a bit faster even I always say I’m not addicted.

It was a very good show. The Corsican audience was maybe not the kind of an audience that sets him on fire (like happened in Belgium), but he did definitely a very good performance. He was in a good and smiling mood, seemed to enjoy performing and interacted with the audience quite a lot. Well, he was speaking French so I couldn’t understand his stories, only some references, and after the show I made the same decision as always: I will learn some French before the next tour. Not sure that ever happens though.

The concert was at one of the most special venues I’ve seen but there are also a couple of other things I want mention here. Firstly, he took a long time to rehearse the new songs before the show and it was worth it, we saw the best versions for the new songs so far (BIOTW was even better in Paléo, I guess performing it several times makes a difference). I want to link Karen again, just because I love it so much. The beginning/the way he starts the song is my very favorite part (it’s absolutely beautiful!) and the chorus works perfectly live. I want to be grateful that I heard the song three times this summer but at the same time I’m afraid he will never sing it again (that’s what sometimes happens to my favorite songs).

Secondly, this must have been the best show from iMMa I’ve ever seen, she was partying her heart out with Ida, it was fantastic. Well done, girls, so much energy on stage!

It was good to see some familiar and some new faces from countries like France, Spain, Italy and Greece, and special thanks to Christie for making me smile (it worked!), to Vladimir for telling New York stories while waiting for the gig to start and to Yulia for keeping me company (it was fun!). Some pictures from the gig below.

I uploaded some pictures of the background paintings just to show how visual the Marie Antoinette setting looks. So if you haven’t seen the new stage setting or can’t remember all the details, just click the pics to make them bigger and have a look. The first picture above is from Ajaccio, Corsica and all the rest from Les Ardentes Summer Festival, Liege. I love it how the idea is so simple but also full of details at the same time and the new setting looks really impressive even at a large stage.

Everything looks really easy and simple but they must have put so much effort to this show. The whole show is like a huge theatre play. See how well the costumes fit together with the paintings? I feel so lucky I was able to see the show in Compiégne and Corsica, can’t think more suitable venues for the new setting and costumes.

The new show is a success. Yes, a success! Look at his face after the show at Les Ardentes Summer Festival in Liége, Belgium. Mika did a fantastic, relaxed performance and the Belgian audience loved it. What a great night it was. I’ve seen the new stage setting four times, in Compiégne, in Liége, in Corsica and finally last Saturday in Nyon. I saw it really well and properly for the first time in Liége, so I wanted to describe it with a few words in this Liége gig review post.

A show can be created in two ways. The first way is to have a huge amount of small ideas and elements, gather them all together and combine them as one big colorful show. He did that at his previous tour. It’s a bit messy way, but not actually bad, just unstructured needing a lot of work. I loved some of those show elements a lot, I still do and would do everything to see them again (the drumming scene and the space walking with the news flash just to mention a couple of these elements). It was fascinating especially for a fan to watch many shows in row and literally see in front of your own eyes how the show evolved and got better time after time. Loved the whole process. 

Another way is to take one clear basic idea and to build the show around it adding smaller details all related to the main idea. This is what he has done with the new Marie Antoinette theme and it’s a very structured way to build a new show and makes him look organized and more mature. The audience can follow the show more easily and it makes the show successful from the start, there’s a big difference. I genuinely think this is the best show he has created. I realized it already in Compiégne but seeing it better in Liége made me very proud of him, really. 

The new stage setting is very simple in a good way. There are a few big canvases with painting motives in them, hanging in two rows: Marie Antoinette, Napoleon, fighting scenes etc (some of them creepy, lol) and two big chandeliers. That’s it, and it works perfectly both at historical venues and at huge festivals. I’ve seen his awesome team building it up very quickly, and not sure if it is really that easy but at least they make it look easy. It’s simple, but there are numerous small details in the painting pictures, and you don’t get bored with it during one tour. Two big chandeliers are my favorites (just because I love chandeliers). See the stage in the picture below. I have more pictures of paintings, I will post them as soon as I have time to organize my pics. And see, he has gathered a court around him! 

On the (Marie Antoinette style) background he has added fantastic costumes by Mrs Penniman and some relevant theater elements: undressing Ida’s and iMMa’s huge skirts and showing their fabulous, colorful “underwear” under them (they both look gorgeous/this is not about the Victorian age so why not), the horse mask scene with iMMa and playing Napoleon in his dark jacket. Finally, there are two new French songs and one very theatrical new English song and the setting is more than perfect to them all. The new show is very controlled, really enjoyed it.

The Liége show was well done without any of those technical problems we saw/heard in Compiégne. It’s always amazing to see a big festival audience who doesn’t necessarily know his music so well enjoying his show this much. And even I think he did especially BIOTW better in Corsica and Nyon I still enjoyed all his new songs in Liége. Watch Karen below: 

Mika dedicated his show at Paléo Festival (in Nyon, Switzerland) to Amy Winehouse, who was found dead at her home in the very same morning. He was replacing Amy at the festival due to her show cancellations (and therefore many people at the festival had originally bought their tickets to see her) so mentioning her name was a respectful and appropriate thing to do. She was a talented young artist and her death was tragical from every point of view so he must have been genuinely very upset and shocked. I was worried that replacing AW in this situation would be very difficult for him, but despite of the tragedy the Paléo audience wanted to see a good show and surprisingly Mika did one of his best gigs this year.

The absolutely best thing (imo) in this performance was incredible energy circulating from Mika to the huge audience and right back to him. He took a lot of open contact to the whole audience (the place was ideal for a big crowd, it was naturally sloped and the whole crowd could see him and he saw the whole audience).  He seemed to clearly enjoy the easily-responding festival audience and I was happy to see the best versions for a long time for some of his energetic songs like Rain and Love Today. He did his new songs Elle Me Dit and BIOTW but no Karen (and I really wanted to hear especially that one, but I shouldn’t be this greedy, I’ve already heard it live three times).  I chose some pictures above to show his energy, but it’s difficult to describe it with pictures or words. Also, Mika seems to feel very comfortable performing together with Ida and it’s was a pleasure (as always) to see her on stage again. The band was more restrained than usually and gave a lot of space for Mika.

I had the most pleasant and comfortable short visit to Geneva, Lausanne, Montreux and Nyon thanks to Nanou, who generously let me stay at her home and drove me and the other foreign fans around these cities/towns showing some extremely beautiful views. I feel quite stupid admitting that I had no idea how beautiful country Switzerland really is with the lake and mountains. I had a great time indeed, so why do I feel this empty? So many sad news around us and I need some time to rest after traveling. I took only a few vids ( I wanted to enjoy this show without using too much camera), the vid below is BIOTW.

The best thing in Compiégne was to see so many familiar faces, hadn’t seen most of you for ages, it was absolutely a pleasure to meet everyone again! The new show was incredible. My first thought after the gig was that this must be the most amazing thing Mika has ever created, and I still think so. The new Marie Antoinette stage setting is a perfect background for the new fantastic costumes and also his new songs. Seriously, this is the most stunning pop theatre we can find (and if “pop theatre” is not an English word please just correct me).

The sad thing is that the organization of the show in Compiégne was at a poor level and it had a lot of impact on the atmosphere. It’s not a secret that Mika is a magnet for unprofessional business partners. Most times I find it sweet because it gives the impression that he doesn’t care for money as much as many other artists (and I appreciate it). This time it made me a bit sad for him, because the new show deserved only the best things around it. The local organizer was a total beginner causing some almost nightmarish effects.

First of all, they didn’t promote the concert properly. He sold several as big concerts as this in France just a year ago, and even he has been on a short break they should have easily sold one concert in his strongest area especially with a brand new setting, three new songs and this beautiful, special venue. I’m not sure who was responsible for the poor advertising (concert organizer, local record company, other business partners??) but either they didn’t realize they need to work for selling the gig, they realized it too late or everything was just really badly coordinated.

They ended up giving a lot of tickets away for free. I (like many other fans) bought my expensive category 1 ticket as soon as the gig was announced, but in the end thousands of people with cheaper category 2 & 3 or even free tickets were let in before me and everything was a mess. The whole situation was chaotic. I couldn’t notice any normal, professional security, only young girls and a couple of armed men with dogs. All the gates were opened at the same time, the organizers didn’t care if people had queued or not, and the situation was not only unfair but also dangerous – some of my friends needed medical help in the crowd.

Despite all this the show went really well. Mika was a bit nervous during it. I don’t know if he knew what was happening in the crowd or if he was only concentrating on his own performance and was nervous because of some technical problems (they had some). Personally I couldn’t see the show properly in Compiégne and I was momentarily disappointed, but for me it was only one show (I saw the same show the next day in Liége, it was so awesome, more details later!). The situation just made me angry because it’s about his reputation and public image.

Hahah, rant over. I was really happy I was there. Not only because I met so many friends but also because I really wanted to hear his new songs for the first time and I really wanted to see this beautiful historical venue (and it was even more special than I expected). I totally fell in love with Karen. The new show is spectacular, can’t wait to describe everything in my Les Ardentes gig review, he was in the best possible form in Belgium.  Some pics above.

Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in the world so there was no question if I could possibly skip Balaton Sound festival a couple of hours jorney outside Budapest at Lake Balaton. I arrived to Hungary a day before in order to have some time for sightseeing. My friend showed me the city and some interesting places, cooked us proper Hungarian food (delicious!) and made me feel really welcome in general so I had a fantastic time, can’t thank her enough.

We traveled to the festival by train in the festival morning and I was really surprised to see the area. The stage was only two minutes walk from the beach, the place looked beautiful and people were starting their beach party wearing bikinis and swim suits! They had obviously come to see their friends and to party, not actually to see artists, so the whole day and night was relaxed, there was no pushing and we could easily leave our front row places to buy drinks or use toilets. (Budapest roofs in the first pic and Lake Balaton in the second.)

Balaton Sound was a proper festival and we watched two artists/groups before Mika. The first one was a local party band, I never even caught their name but they were great, I loved them! The second one was a rap artist called Big Boi, and rap artists (grown-up men wearing safari outfits and heavy, golden jewellery, touching their manly parts while dancing…) are so not my style, but actually it was a lot of fun live and I enjoyed the show. We met the most amazing and helpful Hungarian guy called Balázs, who came to see Big Boi but decided to see Mika too and kindly offered to film Mika songs with my camera so I could take some photos with my another camera. The quality is really much better than usually in my vids (all credits to Balázs for that) so I naturally want to have a full-time cameraman at gigs with me for now on, lol!

Mika started his show with Relax as usually and he kept his eyes closed at first. I bet he was a bit unsure how the audience would be like (I heard the audience wasn’t so good in Budapest a year ago) but he opened his eyes soon and saw that the audience was happy and warm and partying with him. Watch Relax below:

I really enjoyed it that everything in the show was kept really plain and simple. Mika had his old flower curtain as a background and he was wearing white clothes and took a lot of contact with his audience, and this is how I like him best. We can always read a lot of emotions from his face and he looked almost touched when he noticed that the audience knows lyrics for songs like Happy Ending even he is not really popular in Hungary. The vid below shows two songs, Happy Ending and Love Today (Mika in his new red jacket).

This was really a very basic show, meaning no new songs or not many show elements. It was mostly the audience (so much better than I expected) and Mika’s relaxed singing what made it so special, and although I was dying to see his new Marie Antoinette show and to hear his new French songs I really enjoyed this last “old show” with BGs and LPs (I will make another post with pics of fans on stage). In the end of the show a random guy from the audience (not a fan but an average festival visitor) shouted “Mika, you rock!!” and it made me smile so much, such a great and well-deserved feedback!

I was hoping to see Mika after the show because I had promised to Mana (who was the editor of the MFC yearbook 2011) to give Mika his copy of the new yearbook. It was heavy and it really didn’t suit well into my suitcase and I just generally couldn’t wait to give it. His sister promised he might meet us after the show if he has time but didn’t tell when and where and the festival area was huge, but luckily he saw us before leaving and came to say hi and I was able to give the book (which looked awesome, I was so proud to be one delivering it!). He was pleased to have the book and he took a moment to admire it.

After that  we talked a few words about the show next day and he assumed I was not coming, because I guess he was (for once) practical enough to understand it was middle of the night at countryside in Hungary and it might be more challenging for me to be early enough next day somewhere outside Paris than it was for him (with a driver and people taking care of him). I told I was coming and we did a high five for that, lol. It is sweet he seems to think it’s perfectly natural for his fans to travel where ever his next show is and that only tiny practical issues with timing can stop us. He is so spoiled but he is right, I wouldn’t have missed his new show and took a train to Budapest and I was on time at the airport for my flight to Paris and Compiéne.

Sometimes Mika wants to share something personal during the concert and it always makes the audience feels special. He can tell small stories or memories, and though we can never be sure if they are true or not (because we know how he likes to tell some wicked things to journalists if he is bored) they are usually really cute and funny. Sometimes he asks the audience to take part of the concert like he did at Balaton Sound.

At some point in the middle of the concert he took his mobile and asked the audience to sing Happy Birthday to his sister Paloma who usually tours with him but is still at the hospital after her serious accident 7 months ago. It was really touching, because Paloma has been in our thoughts since the accident happened, and it was also a sign he liked the Hungarian audience (otherwise he would have just forgot the birthday song).

He filmed the song with his mobile and look, there is Moomin character in his phone. No idea if someone gave it to him or if he got it himself, but I hope it’s his own mobile, because after trying to educate him with Moomin stories for years it feels like small victory, lol. See Happy Birthday song below:

Marie Antoinette style Mika gig under the statue of great Napoleon – the most suitable venue! A good gig with lots of funny details! Maybe not with as amazing audience as in Liege, but definitely a good one. Especially the girls rocked! The new musicians are a bit invisible on stage, they seem to feel almost uncomfortable, but gorgeous iMMa made it up for sure, by partying even more than usually. Just a few random pics from my camera, will blog more (with vids) at home. Karen was lovely, it’s already one of my favorite ever Mika songs.

First of all, I can’t describe how much I love the new stage setting, the costumes, the light show – the whole Marie Antoinette theme. I saw it already in Compiégne two days ago and it looked magical next to the beautiful old buildings. However, the situation in Compiégne was a bit chaotic, and I didn’t see the stage properly, so I was more than pleased to see it again last night in Liége, Belgium.

I will blog about these both two gigs later, but wanted to show a few pics about the new theme. Love it. I was also so happy to hear the new songs again in Belgium (will upload the vids as soon as possible). Karen might be my new favorite song and the duet with Ida is the most beautiful love song I have heard for a long, long time.  He couldn’t choose a better artist than Ida to sing with, they are gorgeous together. Happy, exciting times!

What a great time I had in Hungary! I have so much to tell and a lot of pictures and videos (I will upload more as soon as I get home).  A few pictures above just to show his smiling face in front of the Hungarian audience. I met him briefly after the show and gave him the new MFC yearbook and he was really sweet even he was in a hurry to France. The cutest popstar ever (*fangurl face*).