Iceland, Reykjavik

I have been procrastinating my Iceland report because I have no words for everything I experienced in the past few days. I fell in love with the country the first moment I walked out of the airport. Everything was perfectly simple and simply perfect at the same time. It was absolutely beautiful, the cold color in the air, the emptiness. I’m used to cold weather, darkness and ice, we have much more snow in Helsinki than I saw in Iceland and I’ve managed to see the Northern Lights just a couple of hours from my home but the volcanic nature in Iceland was something new and so different than anything I had seen before. The Icelandic nature is so powerful you can feel it around you. It’s absolutely fascinating. I had only little time to explore Iceland but I felt my heart belongs to there (it felt like home) and I can’t wait to go back and take my family with me. I left a small amount of local money in my wallet so going back will be easier. I saw the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, I wish I had had my proper camera with me but didn’t want to carry it while traveling so I don’t have any really good photos to show.

Reykjavik is a fantastic place in so many ways. The center is so small you can walk around it but it’s full of weird, colorful cafes and tiny stylish but still cozy restaurants serving incredibly good food. There are books everywhere (book stores, book cafes) and people are are friendly and they seem to be open-minded and liberal like in Nordic countries in general. I had breakfast here, lovely vegetarian curry here and delicious fish meal here. met Deb and Bianca as soon as I arrived Reykjavik and was so much fun to do things together. Deb and I both agreed we were very lucky to have Bianca as our guide to show us the best places to watch the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) and have a cup of hot chocolate in a lovely restaurant while waiting (the first pic below). A HUGE thank you for your company, ladies!

Harpa

Harpa is a large and modern venue with several concert halls. Mika performed at Silfurberg conference hall. The stuff was friendly and helpful and the building offered every possible facilities (restaurants, shop etc) we could hope for. I especially loved the view (see above)!

The supporting act

The supporting act was called Páll Óscar (or internationally Paul Oscar) and he literally almost blew up the venue – people went wild! We heard later he is one of the most famous and most popular artists in Iceland and at least the Harpa audience loved him. I loved his very entertaining and camp performance too (you can watch one of his old youtube vids here, but he is even better live, imo).

The Mika gig

The Harpa audience saw an old-fashioned Mika show with a simple setting/outfits and very high-energy performance. He didn’t much joke or interact with the band but told some stories (see the vid below) and ended the show with balloons (a very nice ending, the audience loved it). I really enjoyed the show especially the most energetic songs but felt a bit sad at the same time and especially during Stardust and Underwater (both breath-takingly beautiful once again) because it was the last concert of the tour, and this time it felt different, like he is not even planning to come back. I’m probably just overdramatizing as usual. The crew was very convincing when wishing merry christmas and saying “see you next year” and I already bought three festival tickets for 2013 so maybe I will see him again, we never know.
Still, don’t you just hate endings? It looked Mika was relieved to see the tour ending though. It was short but tiring and he wasn’t properly well in the past few weeks and sometimes had this worried look in his eyes. He was really sweet to everyone after the show, it was good to see him smiling and he even made a video to wish happy holidays to all his fans (see it here, thanks Deb for filming and uploading the video!). I gave him my Christmas card (I’m not very artistic, so it was embarrassingly very 5 yo level) and he promised to read it. I saw him at the airport and waved good bye and he gave me a very wide smile so I thought he probably either had read my silly card or just guessed that seeing him so suddenly in front of me was a highlight of my flight. So everything was really good and unforgettable and also a bit emotional at the same time. I came home and told my family how awesome Reykjavik is and that we could spend our next Christmas holidays in lovely cold Iceland and the kids burst in tears (because their class mates spend their holidays in sunny Thailand). Oh well, maybe they will get used to the idea.

And that was the European Tour 2012. Can’t believe it’s over. I collected wonderful memories. I met lovely people. It was a pleasure, really. Thank you everyone for your company while queueing, eating, traveling and partying at the gigs, for lovely chats and for all your help,  for making me smile and making me laugh (laughing is good, isn’t it?). I saw some fantastic venues in 10 different countries (really, it didn’t feel that many?!) and, of course, saw and experienced many very, very special Mika moments. Happy holidays, people. Bring on next year, bring on whatever it brings. xxx

Manchester was lucky to see Mika in his best stage mood last night. He did a great performance with a lot of contact with the audience (very loud one indeed), with the band (the musicians were having fun and genuinely seemed to enjoy being on stage, very different compared to London) and with the awesome Polkadot Choir (who definitely added some extra color to the show). There was so much energy on stage I couldn’t believe it. At the same time the show was probably the most random and the weirdest I’ve seen. Some of the jokes (ideas coming from the audience) were almost awkward in the beginning but he went on and on, the audience responded and in the end everything was absolutely hilarious and a lot of fun. He sounded good despite of his voice problems. A few times I couldn’t hear his voice properly but it didn’t matter, the atmosphere was so good and energetic. Mika seemed to be more relaxed than in London from the beginning of the show but he told afterwards performing felt more difficult than day before and he probably had to work very hard to be in a suitable stage mood (but he definitely succeeded in it).

I’m too tired to write a long report in English but wanted to share some images as soon as possible to remember the details later. Underwater was my favorite part of show. I’ve really learned to love the live version and the whole atmosphere with soft blue lighting was absolutely beautiful (some pics below). Lola is one of my favorites at gigs and he performs it in the way I’ve always seen the song with every little detail, it’s almost scary. Stardust with the audience singing along was touching: was so good to see his face when he was watching the audience singing along the new songs. The new album is his best so far, I wish he had decided to perform more songs from it. Especially Stardust, Lola and Drunk work perfectly at gigs!

The interaction between Mika and the band and between the band members was totally different than in London and a huge part of the atmosphere. Two action men figures were thrown to stage from the audience and Mika wasn’t sure what to do with them, but started to joke and continued and continued and in the end the whole band was playing with the figures, I saw even Felix taking photos of Max wearing a figure in his braces (in the middle of the show!). Last night was a huge circus from the beginning to the end with a lot of improvised and totally random details and you know, he knows how to do it. He is good. And I always dream about seeing an acoustic Mika performance and Mika singing, playing piano and concentrating only on his voice but I can’t help it, I love his circus too, he knows how to make people smile and have a good time even when he is not in a perfect and happy mood himself.

(“Mika” playing piano so well)
(Max feeling confident enough to steal Mika’s hat and almost falling off the piano)

I know that people who haven’t either seen the polkadot choir live or really experienced how good it can be can’t see the real purpose of it. It’s not supposed to be a cheap, fake “choir”. It’s a show element and it’s fans sharing their positive energy on stage, together with their favorite pop star. You should have seen it last night (guys, you rocked!).

I love this artist. He was so awesome last night, he created a hugely entertaining evening around his songs using weird, random ideas and the audience had so much fun. Very mixed feelings now though.  Off to London and Iceland: the last gig of the tour. How sad is that. I’m not sure he even wants to say good bye to his fans.

A quick update on my way from London to Manchester. Mika did a gig at Roundhouse last night and it was a very good show, I was very happy for him. He was struggling with his singing/voice and his mood (not surprising because he is having problems with his vocal chords after being ill for several weeks) but managed to do very well, imo. He wasn’t chatty or totally relaxed but didn’t look nervous either, was funny and teasing and the audience had a very good time. I was very happy to see Melachi after the show! She doesn’t look excited in the pic but she is very calm, well-behaved and used to people and didn’t seem to mind meeting the fans but rather took it as a duty (obviously trained for that). Great two days in London, especially pleased that I managed to see the BBC Christmas concert day before the Roundhouse show (a very lovely surprise)!