I spent my weekend in Naples and absolutely loved the city and its shabby beauty. Hysterical safety warnings before my trip were highly exaggerated. Well I do believe the criminal rates are high and wouldn’t walk alone in some parts of city not recommended for tourists but the centre felt safe and reminded me of any Italian city I’ve seen (okay, I saw one street fight but it looked like a cat fight and totally private issue).
I was glad my plane arrived early on Saturday so I had time to walk around a bit. I went to see the square and saw the band on stage. So nice to see their familiar figures, immediately noticed Max, Curtis and Tim from far away! I met some Italian fans and we walked down to the sea to watch the beautiful view. A huge thank you to Eugenio who took time to show me the castle and told about Naples, he is such a kind person! We took a traditional photo together, see it above. I wish I could have seen Vesuvius as I find volcanos extremely fascinating and would love to see it some day. A bigger group of fans met later on Saturday to eat original pizza Margherita and I can’t eat pizza but had lovely gluten-free sea food spaghetti instead. Very much enjoyed meeting people from so many different countries.
I went to the venue next morning to meet the others and not sure what I exactly had in mind (a lazy picnic style fan gathering in front of the stage while waiting for the gig…?) but it didn’t happen. The place started to fill early in the morning and as there was no proper queue at all – only a crowd – people were just let in and the places in the few first rows were quickly taken. I managed to have a great first row spot but noticed soon that it would be very hard to keep it. Everyone was pushing (quite aggressively, actually) and people were so close to each other it was difficult to even breath. I saw it was not possible to leave our places without losing them and that buying food or going to the toilet was not an option during the day.
We used all our strength to keep our places (I bet everyone’s muscles are hurting!) and it felt uncomfortable but I’m used to festivals and big crowds and just took my space and waited everyone to calm down which will always happen until the moment Mika starts when people get excited again. I don’t think people around me were pleased with me either, I’m stronger than I look. The situation did calm down and I survived through the day easier than I thought in the morning. I really wanted to see the show and was later happy that I decided to travel and didn’t let the huge crowd to keep me away. Maybe it’s just me but I think life is more adventurous if we tolerate some discomfort and sometimes it’s just worth to pay the price.
It was really disappointing though that a huge free concert like this was organized with such poor security arrangements. There were a few “security men” during the Mika show but a young boy we asked for help and instructions when people were seriously afraid to get hurt at front in the morning told us it’s not his problem and that his job was only to keep the stage safe. I’ve seen numerous big festivals and events and this is not the way things should be done, it’s important to keep the audience safe as well.
Waiting at events and festivals is easier if something is happening on stage during the day. I loved the hosts and the party band entertaining the audience before solo artists (they were actually quite good and I enjoyed the hits they played) and found a female artist called Arisa a surprisingly good singer (even I naturally didn’t know any of her songs). Everything was filmed on screens and between songs and Nutella adds/films we could watch ”kiss cam” and ”dance cam” which meant that people who were filmed were supposed to either kiss or dance and most people joined the fun. I kind of forgot that everything was streamed via internet and feel embarrassed thinking people could watch us during the whole gig and before it (I must have looked as exhausted as I felt, lol) but I got some lovely worrying and supporting tweets, thanks everyone!
We didn’t get any Nutella (I think they gave out Nutella at some stands but wasn’t possible for us to queue for it) and I was craving for it during the whole day while watching Nutella pictures and adds. Just before the gig some Nutella and bread were offered to the front row, they smelled heavenly – I couldn’t eat them but was happy for my hungry friends – and I’m tempted to have a another Nutella party at home. We heard some familiar pre-gig music after 9 pm and finally the stage was ready for Mika, the band took their places and the Origin of Love intro for the gig started. Mika appeared on stage in his new red pattern jacket and started Relax and I loved the moment and had waited it for a long time and thought it’s always worth traveling and waiting.
About the show. Everyone was able to watch it online and it’s possible to see the songs here (thanks to Berenike for uploading it) so I’m just writing a few thoughts about it. First of all, Mika had invited Chiara as a guest and I love their version of Stardust and was pleased to finally see them performing it live! I would have preferred the original version of Origin as its an important song for me and I had looked forward to it and was a bit disappointed to miss it. I understand Mika wanted to give her time on stage though and I didn’t mind she joined to Lollipop which is more like a party song and not personally important to me.
I loved watching the concert. It was amazing to see him on stage after all the waiting! The sound was poor, and even I could see his strong usual self during some songs I thought several times that he needs to practice and sing and perform more. He was still smiling and it seemed he had genuinely missed performing and long breaks without any extra time to practice/prepare are expected to be seen and heard so I didn’t mind. The audience was massive! I read 60 000 people came to the square. He didn’t take as much contact with the big crowd as I’ve sometimes seen him doing but he chatted a lot in Italian (I naturally couldn’t much understand, thank you so much to Iola who patiently translated me during and after the show!).
A couple of videos I took below to show how it all looked from my point of view (Stardust and Underwater). As you see it wasn’t easy to hear their singing, I took the vids with my mobile but they give a realistic example of the sound (and the screaming audience, lol!).
I cried a little bit during Happy Ending and I don’t think I was the only one. It’s hard for fans that every new event is a new ending and I can’t help but thinking he needs a strong new start because what was there is not enough in the future. I read a translation of an interview he gave before the Naples gig (where he says he doesn’t care about success) and I hope – from a bottom of my heart – that there won’t be too much pressure from his record company and that he will use as much time as needed to make the new album look and sound exactly him and creates music that tells what he thinks and how he feels at this time and age because doing a new album only to use the publicity created in France and Italy is the worst option I can think atm, I think he needs something he can be genuinely pleased with, something important and interesting enough (for him) to use as a material (for example for a new show concept). I often sound impatient and I admit it’s difficult to wait for new tours and shows but – rationally thinking – he should take his time.
Just my thoughts. Each of these new endings are somehow bittersweet experiences. I LOVED seeing him on stage again. There’s nothing I rather watch, there’s nothing that gives me the same energy. I prefer televisions shows and random festivals over silence/nothing at all but it takes always time to get over another ending (however, I will be here waiting). A few less emotional comments. It was so good to see the band again!!! I took a few pics. Awww, see Curtis below. And Tim. And them all. Loved Mika’s new boyish haircut. Very much enjoyed our meetings with Italian fans on Sat/Sun/Mon and eating gelato. I met and chatted with awesome people! Thank you everyone, you know who you are. Good memories. xxx