Gig reviews: Mika @ Rock Oz’Arènes Festival in Avenches, Switzerland

The venue
Korean fans

The last Mika concert for the summer was at Rock Oz’Arènes Festival in Avenches, Switzerland. The gig was night before his 30th birthday so I bought my ticket in good time and wouldn’t have missed it in the world. So happy I was able to do this festival. It was one of my favorite ever shows and we had so much fun during the show and after it. The venue was quite small (as a festival venue) and probably had a great view from the seated area. However, this was a special night so even the stage was high I wanted to be as near it as possible and to enjoy watching everything from a close distance. A lot of fans had arrived to see the gig and I loved meeting my MFC friends (thank you everyone, you know who you are). The gates were opened at 4 PM and the schedule started at 6 PM.

The line up wasn’t anything special. The first band was a good party band but to tell the truth I would have enjoyed their music more without their female vocalist. The sound was so poor I couldn’t even recognize the language she used. Could be French, could be English, I have no idea. I loved a couple of the musicians though, they were totally on fire.

The second band played rap/electronic music and the front row filled up with young boys and girls. I let a 11 yo boy come in front of me and he seemed to enjoy almost as much as I enjoy Mika shows. I mostly concentrated on watching the audience and their contact with the band, the music wasn’t my personal taste and I couldn’t understand the lyrics but they weren’t bad on stage at all. Later I was told their lyrics are actually really disturbing and even homophobic. I was so disappointed, I almost couldn’t believe it. It’s one thing to have ignorant, narrow opinions and another (even worse) thing to teach them to innocent kids. The audience was mostly kids and preteens. How come the parents didn’t seem to care? How come any respectable festival hires bands like this? What’s wrong with this world? I don’t like it that I need to come down from my soft, happy Mika cloud and face ugly things like this.

The people working for the festival looked almost as excited about Mika’s birthday surprise as we fans and they were nice updating us several times before it was Mika’s turn to be on stage. We had bought little lighted balloons to wave them exactly at midnight and the festival staff promised to show time on the screens and ask the whole audience to show their mobiles with lights (so everything would look nice and lighted to wish Mika happy birthday). They also promised to bring us a Happy Birthday banner and told they have a little cake to give him at midnight. See everything happening on the Origin video below, it’s from my point of view so it’s not possible to read the banner of course. Loving the festival style ending for Origin, btw.

He came on stage and started with the French ballad and as I’ve said I have mixed feelings about this decision (sometimes it’s not strong enough for the first song) but I loved it in Avenches as much I did in Albi, it was a beautiful contrast to the noisy rap band before him. I was quickly back on my cloud and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. The concert was fantastic and probably my favorite for this summer. He didn’t do any extra songs or didn’t add anything special to the songs (anything I hadn’t heard before) but he did a really intensive show and was focused all the time, taking a lot of contact with the audience and adding funny little details to his performance. He had fun with hats, balloons, confetti and the cake he got at midnight and he teased the band and made them do funny things (lie on the piano, wear cake on their head) and the band naturally let him have his fun (well he is the boss and it was even his birthday, lol). The evening was emotional and during Underwater I felt tears in my eyes, I couldn’t help it, because it was so beautiful and because I realized I won’t hear it again for a very long time. The front row was full of Mika fans and the security looked surprised to see our dance moves for every song (Billy GK, Brown, Drunk, LT etc) and I think Mika saw how many fans had come to celebrate his birthday and he gave us a lot of attention and smiles. And even it was the last show for the tour and his birthday (and he must have looked forward to some private partying) he didn’t show any hurry on stage but concentrated to the audience and generously let us be a part of his birthday celebrations and have fun with him and it felt really good and was important to every fan who came to see the show.
Comme un Soleil Mal Luné
Billy Brown
“Your tiny balloons, my HUGE balloons…”
Celebrate balloons
WAG confetti
Lollipop (hat from the audience)
The band surprising Mika with some noisy confetti after the show

I don’t think we could have had any better way to end the tour. The situation after the show was very crowded but his team knew we had a collective present to give him from his whole fan club and was very helpful (even they were busy) organizing us a possibility to go to back stage. See the video about Mika receiving his gift here. Not sure if it really was a surprise to him or if there was a bit of acting but it was sweet and kind and definitely good enough for me and I think he genuinely appreciated the gift (a huge thank you to the fan club moderators who organized the gift and made it possible for everyone to take part, loved the idea behind it). It was too crowded to have proper personal conversations with him but I really appreciated a possibility to congratulate him on his birthday and I think his team was very generous tolerating such a big group of fans. For him ending the tour means moving on from one exciting thing to another exciting thing whereas for his fans it means waiting and missing him and his shows. And I’ve always thought it’s not possible for him to understand how important his shows can be for a fan (how could it be?) but the special and kind moments he gave us during the past few weeks made me think he might understand after all. He is a very kind person. Now we have so many lovely concert memories to remember while waiting for new music and new shows. Of course it’s not that I will just sit at home and feel depressed. Ending the tour means also concentrating on some other good things in my life. Still, there are so many different things that remind me of Mika and make me miss his music. Things like practically every country and city I’ve ever visited, traveling in general, trains and planes. Food, wines and breakfasts I’ve had while traveling to gigs. Dogs like Mel, chandeliers, balloons and colors, some clothes I’ve been wearing at his shows, my green lucky shoes, some books and movies, and – especially after his instructions – pouring champagne.