Liepaja Summer Sound festival had a fantastic beach location, the main stage was literally next to the water. The sand was white and soft to walk without shoes, festival goers spent their days swimming and sunbathing and the atmosphere was (slightly put) very relaxed.
I traveled with my dear friend Salla who is not a Mika fan but likes his music and who was curious to see her first Mika show. I usually travel alone but we often spend weekends together so she knows me well enough to tolerate my traveling routines and as usual we had a lot of fun together. We arrived day before and as the tickets were for two days we headed to the festival and were on time to see the most beautiful Latvian sunset. Breath-taking and worth traveling to see that alone! We met Vladimir (met him in Corsica 2011) who had arrived to see his favorite band Prata Vetra (a famous Latvian band internationally known as Brainstorm). I very much enjoyed Prata Vetra on Friday! They are a great live band, and loved listening to their Latvian singing (however, if you like to hear them singing in English, check out for example this).
Salla and I spent Saturday enjoying the sun/napping on the beach and met Vladimir in the afternoon before the festival program started. It wasn’t too hot but is was warm and sunny, the white sand was softest I’ve ever seen or felt and the festival area sold food, ice cream and coffee. We had bought VIP tickets to have an access to proper toilets so we had practically everything we could ask for. The performers before Mika were not as good as Prata Vetra. The first one (my favorite of these three) was a local artist from Liepaja and everyone (except us) knew the lyrics to his songs. The second one was simply too loud, can’t remember their name. The third one performed in English instead of Latvian, with those lyrics not an advantage to her. Then the sun went down, the stage was prepared and the audience was ready for Mika.
A few words about the show. Mika was quite chatty. It was good to see he still has his old habit to learn a few words local language before going to stage. It makes me a bit jealous (as it always means I listen to him talking languages I can’t understand) but it tells the audience he appreciates them and helps creating a contact with them. So he talked a bit Latvian and people went wild and he talked a bit about Latvia in English (Latvia joining the Euro etc) and it was a very nice gesture as always. The audience was good as in Baltic countries in general and participated and the whole atmosphere was very much beach festival style. The sea was absolutely beautiful and I loved feeling the soft white sand under my toes while listening to Underwater, don’t think that has happened ever before! The lighting during Underwater was partly red and despite of “a blood red sky” I found it confusing and it took my attention for a while (lol, almost felt like eating a blue food because Underwater is a sea color song, isn’t it). He asked all the lights off though and made the audience sing as loud as they can (impressive, watch it here, around 3:00).
He has (very successfully, imo) done some fresh little changes to some of his old songs and must say I haven’t enjoyed Relax or Lollipop this much for a long time (naturally not talking about the brilliant acoustic versions he did in the US), so beautiful intro and ending! He did Emily in English but didn’t remember the lyrics properly and changed to French. It was interesting to hear the English version again, I still definitely prefer EMD (as everyone, I guess). We heard Live Your Life and I’ve been addicted to the song this summer but can’t catch much feeling in it when he sings it live, so I would love to hear it a few more times. My favorite song in Liepaja was Origin once again, and I love the fact that I enjoy TOOL songs live this much, all of them, and I still hope we will hear more songs from it in the future.
Liepaja probably wasn’t my favorite concert this year but I really enjoyed the show and the whole festival and had a lot of fun with my friend. We walked back to our hotel and I saw the whole team Mika in the lobby and I felt an urgent need to spend some time at the reception booking a taxi for the morning. But I didn’t, of course. I went quickly to my room (even I was a customer and allowed to be there) because that’s where my limit goes. It’s enough that I travel to see so many gigs around the world. I say hi to him if see him somewhere and sometimes chat with someone from his team (if they are right in front of me and seem to recognize me) but it wouldn’t come to my mind to go anywhere near his hotels etc on purpose, he needs to be able to decide when/if he meets us. For me it’s anyway far more valuable if artists choose to share things with their fans, asking them to stage and organizing album pre-listening sessions (it’s been exactly one year since the Milan pre-listening, so I was thinking about it the other day, it must be my most special Mika event ever, very happy memories from Milan). Salla and I had a few hours of sleep and took a bus to Riga and flied home. She said she was very impressed by the show and that she would love to see another Mika concert some day – I was expecting it!