Some thoughts after Montreal. It was important and rare so I feel like going it through one more time. I want to remember my favorites and what I loved most. Usually a new era starts with every new album but this time it seems to have started already. There was a long break before these performances and Montreal had a new vibe.

The orchestra was wonderful. After a couple of weeks I still can’t express how much I loved the whole symphony orchestra experience. So many different tones in such a harmony left me pretty much speechless. I had no idea it can be that powerful and have now a huge respect for Simon Leclerc for the arrangements he did for the songs and for his profession. I’m starting to understand why the conductor is so incredibly important. His authority!

You know all the stories about orchestra hierarchy? On television musicians are ready kill to be the first violin. I often wonder if it’s really that important. Oh it is important and they make a lot of little gestures to point it out. The important violin player comes on stage a little bit after regular musicians, is asked to stand up first and specially acknowledged after the concert. The etiquette is strict, it’s fascinating to watch.

The music was even stronger than I had expected. I knew that songs like Toy Boy, Underwater, Any Other World or Happy Ending will be perfect with the orchestra. Just adding Ida makes Happy Ending on a new level. However, I couldn’t possibly imagine how powerful Over My Shoulder can be (it’s already powerful when he sings it alone but became now even more colorful) and I certainly didn’t expect to love the orchestra versions for songs like Boum Boum Boum as much as I did.

Also, I had no idea Overrated and Heroes would be the most important songs on the setlist and they definitely were that at least for me. This is the way Heroes is meant to be performed. Doing it other ways feels small, it deserves a full orchestra. The song became a genuine master piece. Hearing Overrated as it was performed in Montreal was a long time dream coming true for me and for many fans.

The new songs sound mature. He is evolving as a song writer and it’s natural but still makes me a proud fan. The Last Party is above the other songs. It’s more my personal taste than the other new songs but also big in every way. It’s so depressing it actually makes me cry every time I listen to it (so obviously can’t listen to it on a repeat) and I still love the song more than I’ve ever loved a new song. Everything else coming with the new album is a bonus as I already got the song I wanted.

The most amazing thing in Montreal was to be able to hear Mika’s voice so clearly. It was a beautiful experience. In a normal concert performance the band and backing vocals make a mess and it’s not possible to hear everything. This time I could hear also Ida and Max and I really like them both so it was wonderful. Max is becoming one of my favorite voices, I often listen to him (you can listen to him here) and Ida is probably my favorite person to watch/listen on stage with Mika.

She is a classical singer and we can hear it but she is still surprisingly versatile, she can totally rock and her voice adds extra value to songs like Happy Ending. However, I probably like her because of the atmosphere she brings on stage. It looks she and Mika know and trust each other so she somehow makes the atmosphere safe and I love watching how she looks as proud of Mika as the fans in the audience.

The Montreal concerts and the Intimate US tour a couple of years ago were the best performances I’ve ever seen but if I look back and go through my personal memories I realize I miss theatrical shows almost equally much. The huge work behind the scenes – that we can’t even see – is impressive. I saw this picture and understood I’m looking forward to the artwork, illustrations and settings almost as eagerly as the new music and can’t wait to feel the usual band gig adrenaline.

I was happy to see the following Mika quote in the OSM concert program : I believe that songs are just recipes, and that interpreting them in different ways is what gives them life. So well explains the main reason to see many different kind of live performances.

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Back home from my Montreal trip. Feeling ordinary and a little bit worried it actually was the last party but pushing that thought away. At least it was the best time we ever had. (Edit: Just referring to his new lyrics which have been constantly playing in my head since I heard them!)

A little summary about the three Mika concerts I saw during my trip. I really felt a different vibe every night. I always get a separate pleasure from his voice as a sound and from the emotions his songs bring to me. On the first night I was totally focused on his voice. He was focused on controlling it. The performance was flawless and his voice sounded as beautiful and incredible as it ever can. For a short moment I was (for real) almost angry he made us wait for his singing this long. Lol, he put us through the misery again!

But there’s no way to push him. He does things when he feels like it, if he feels like it. And now there he was, directly in front of me. My seat was in the middle of the first row so I could easily see the sweat drops. He must have felt a huge pressure but we really couldn’t hear it. I listened to his voice and the combination it made with the orchestra music and was so shocked by the amount of pleasure I was practically shaking the whole concert and long after that.

The second night was more relaxed, probably to everyone. It was easy to focus on every song as a story and it seemed to be easy for Mika as well. And by saying that I don’t mean his singing wasn’t equally good it was night before even it wasn’t as controlled or careful. I’m simply saying he looked more relaxed and able to live every story together with the orchestra and that was a wonderful experience. I described it earlier as “making every song as a painting” and later read Mika talking about ”colors and patterns and bringing out the emotional range”. Whatever the words, it was beautiful and it was something I hadn’t felt this strongly before. I wasn’t shaking anymore, felt just quietly happy and content.

The third night was a bit of the combination of the the first two nights. I could both hear and see even better than earlier (if that’s even possible) and let myself be amazed by the orchestra and the acoustics that let me for once to separate every sound and voice. I could hear everything so clearly: Mika, Ida, Max, the orchestra. It was magical and something I had always dreamed about. I didn’t want to let the ”last night sadness” take over me. It wasn’t the moment to be sad, there’s plenty of time for that now. I just enjoyed and tried to listen to every lyrics as carefully as I could and was and still am more impressed by his new, thoughtful songs than I’ve ever been before. Now waiting for new music even more eagerly I did before!

He did a little speech to his fans after the last concert and reminded how we go to his concerts covered with mud and beer OR with make-up and jewelry and that his music is everything between that. A sweet little speech and a good way to end the Montreal concerts.

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An important part of the week was of course meeting fans from all over the world. We had a big fan club meeting on Wednesday and gathered for drinks and dinner in an Italian restaurant where the mama mod Deb and the Canadian fans had made all the arrangements. In the end of the meal the restaurant brought us a special surprise from Mika. A beautiful cake decorated with exactly the same illustration as in the official concert poster. More a piece of art than a cake. So special and made me think he wants to do everything (even cakes!) with his own style: beautiful and sophisticated with a creative, colorful twist. Like his elegant navy suits decorated with little flowers, letters and hearts.

I arrived Montreal late Saturday night so I had Sunday and Monday for sightseeing and decided to visit Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and their orientalism exhibition. I love museums. I love them as places, I love the serene atmosphere and people focusing on art or science. I’m not specifically into arts but I enjoy visual beauty and find it fascinating how art describes our society across time the way artists have seen – or wanted to see – it. It makes me think of what kind of life they lived, their working environment and their social circles that always seem to been so small and wonder if it’s similar these days. If it’s similar for Mika. Just think of all the people he knows (Dario Fo, for example).

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I visited the Montreal chocolate festival and Notre Dame Basilica (beautiful and definitely worth visit) and did small walks in Old Port (tbh not so interesting this time of the year.) The weather wasn’t cold and dry as I had expected and as it is in Scandinavia but nasty and brutal with wet and salty streets so I stayed underground more than had originally planned. On Thursday we went to Grevin wax museum as a big group of fans, took pictures of wax Mika and just had fun.

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Montreal is an easy-going place. It’s French speaking but everyone speaks also English. It’s easy to walk around underground and find all kind of food (makes the quality of my life always better). It’s expensive though. Well not more expensive than Europe but it feels like it because you never know how much you need to pay (taxes or services are not included in prices). People are kind and polite and pay attention. A huge thank you to the Canadian fans for their help and for letting us to invade their country and thank you all the lovely people I met during my trip. Thank you Mika and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra for the amazing performances. Can’t express how grateful I am for being able to see these three special events xx

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The three concerts with OSM turned out to be a success hard to describe. The audience simply adored him, the Montreal press is praising him as one of the best artists in the world and his fans had an experience that can’t be easily topped.

I got my dream concerts. Nothing – absolutely nothing – was disturbing the experience. Not on stage, not in the audience. Eagerly waiting for future tours, acoustic settings, theatrical elements, imaginative outfits and wild party in the audience but had my dream come true in Montreal. Listening to Mika without a slightest distraction.

I thought in advance that a giant symphony orchestra on stage could be a bit distractive. That was not the case. Amazing that more than 100 musician can play in such a harmony. Not a single disturbing sound, pure bliss to my ears, so easy to separate Mika, Ida and Max. Wonderful acoustics. Never ever experienced anything like this. I love the band but it is a distraction (unless done in a small way like the Intimate tour).

About the third night. The setlist was naturally the same. He started with Toy Boy, a gentle start as the change to the original version isn’t that huge. Continued with Underwater that got even better night after night. Then Boum Boum Boum which was one of my favorites on the third night. Ida was rocking, loved it! Somehow can’t remember Rain, I was mentally preparing myself to Last Party, my absolute favorite at the moment.

A bit worrying that something that depressing can totally take over my mind. I love everything in the song: the dark lyrics, the melody, the atmosphere and the way it’s performed. It’s a huge song, really can’t wait it’s out there for everyone!

Then Karen (one of my favorites even without orchestra) and finally Overrated, one of the biggest surprises and highlights of the week. Any Other world, Drunk and Ordinary Man. Ordinary Man is a thoughtful song and I enjoy listening to the lyrics even the song lacks passion for my taste, he is pondering the situation, feeling a bit sorry for himself. It’s very thoughtful and mature, and I can see a lot of people liking it and I will surely love hearing it live especially when the setting is suitable.

Before the break Heroes which was definitely one of the most important songs on the whole set list. So strong, so powerful. After the pause Grace Kelly. Not the best option with an orchestra (imo) but his most popular song and could see how the audience liked it. Over My Shoulder perfectly performed. Then Good Guys.

Loving the song more and more. The lyrics felt cynical at first – all the icons can’t be gone – but impossible not to love it after seeing the smile on his face while singing it. He looks pleased with the song and must say I adore the melody around it. Then Make You Happy, maybe not my favorite version (nothing tops the version from LA) but still extremely good. Outstanding Happy Ending with Ida once again. Origin and then Relax with some tears in my eyes. So grateful Relax was done this small and fragile way.

In the end partying with EMD and Love Today and as an extra treat Toy Boy and EMD one more time (the audience was allowed to dance!). Then massive applauds and hugely smiling star. Super special week. Brilliant arrangements by Simon Leclerc, we can’t thank him enough for making this happen.

All three nights were equally good in their own, slightly different ways. The first night was the most powerful, almost shocking experience for me. The second night more relaxed with a different vibe. On the third night I remembered the set list well and focused on details and my own favorites. Now on my way home. Time to have a little break. A huge thank you to everyone I met, will post pictures etc later. xxx

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Another incredible night watching Mika and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. He came on stage wearing a navy, letter appliquéd suit, Ida and Max located on his left side, Ida looking breathtakingly beautiful in her magical, flower decorated  white dress. My seat was a bit on the right side but I had a good view and could easily watch the performance and observe Mika and the peculiar little movements he does with his fingers when he is concentrating on his singing very carefully.

He wasn’t technically as careful as he was on Tuesday, he rather seemed to be somewhere deep in the story while singing the songs and it was incredibly wonderful. I already knew what to expect from the night and could therefor enjoy the concert on more detailed level than I did on the first night.

With a symphony orchestra every song becomes like a little painting or small film. The orchestra illustrated every single song; I could literally see proper landscape images in my head while listening to it. The wavy sea and burning sky during Underwater. Dying autumn nature at the very moment the first snow arrives on Over My Shoulder. I’m lacking words but the whole experience was incredibly powerful and special and seemed to have an effect on Mika as well, he was totally putting his soul into every song! He looked a bit tired in the end and relied more than night before on Ida who was fantastic. So happy to see her on stage again!

Underwater was – if possible – even more powerful than it was on the first night. I gave special attention to Any Other World, Karen and Origin as I wasn’t concentrating on them enough on Tuesday and really enjoyed them all. I was extra grateful for hearing Overrated and Heroes for the second time. The most important songs on the setlist. My personal favorite (along Relax) was a new song called Last Party. It’s so extremely sad and depressing that the feeling really becomes a pleasure. I love it, it’s my new favorite song.

I’m not yet in love with Ordinary Man as there’s no passion in it and it reminds me of Pick Up Off the Floor which never was my fav song. I do like Good Guys but don’t properly catch it yet. The French speaking Montreal audience loved Boum Boum Boum and EMD and Mika was thrilled to perform Drunk with an orchestra the same way he is always thrilled to perform Billy Brown in a church.

I was so proud of him tonight. I know he is amazing and incredibly talented and I never doubt it, I wouldn’t otherwise do all this, but sometimes the world doesn’t seem to know it. I prefer him being the kind of artist he is – not someone who wants to be popular at any cost – but I want him to feel valued and supported and a big part of joy during the OSM concerts is the atmosphere and to be able to feel how the whole audience is holding their breath and following every detail he does, listening every single note and spontaneously showing their appreciation to him throughout the concerts.

During the first night loud clapping from the audience was really disturbing me so this time I loved watching how Simon Leclerc silenced the people with a tiny hand movement. He is my new hero, I hope he will do the same again tomorrow. One more night to go, can’t believe this dream is almost over and I won’t see Mika performing for a while. Already preparing myself for missing him again. Loved the amazing cake he sent to the fan meeting (below). More pics and a report about the meeting later.

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The first night with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra was by far the most amazing thing I had ever heard or seen. Mika did a magnificent performance, his voice was in a perfect shape. I still can’t decide if I should be angry at him for doing other things instead of performances like this for two years or if I should be grateful that he was doing other things and became motivated enough to do a performance like this now. I guess I choose the latter one.

The symphony orchestra concept is a dream come true for a fan but also much more I knew to expect in advance. New arrangements for old songs made them all new and fresh experiences and we heard even three new songs (Last Party, Ordinary Man, Good Guys) from the fourth album. The evening felt like a live version of album pre-listening event. Such a privilege to be there.

The orchestra itself was a mind-blowing experience especially to someone who is not used to hear live orchestra concerts. It was huge and made Mika look tiny on stage. However, he handled his role so well. I wish we could hear him with an orchestra more often, his songs deserve to be performed this way, it’s like giving every song performed an extra honor. I assume Simon Leclerc is the person to thank for the arrangements, loved watching him and Mika on stage, their chemistry seemed to work well.

I can’t even try to list every magical moment, the concert was pure firework from the beginning to the end. I’m still slightly in a shock and physically exhausted after being nervous for hours before the show. Mika must have been nervous as well but we really couldn’t hear it, just saw how he breathed relieved between some songs. He was smiling a lot and surely a bit touched while watching how much people loved him.

He started with Toy Boy (always a lovely treat) and continued with Underwater which felt an obvious choice with an orchestra and was as beautiful as I had expected. I can’t remember the exact order for the songs but the first of the new songs was called The Last Party and was my favorite of the new songs. The lyrics are dramatic and tragic and I wonder if the album version will be a party song with black lyrics (very much his style) or something else.

He performed almost equally many songs from LICM (AOW, GK, OMS, HE, Relax, LT) and TOOL (UW, Karen, Overrated, Heroes, Drunk, MYH, Origin, EMD) and just a couple of songs from TBWKTM (Toy Boy, Rain). Overrated was definitely the biggest highlight and Heroes outstanding and so suitable to be performed this way. Boum Boum Boum and Drunk were lighter and funnier in the middle of some serious songs and Happy Ending probably his best ever performance (the audience rewarded it with a deserved standing ovation). My personal favorite was Relax. Surprised and happy that it was kept so gentle.

I wish I could share photos or videos but both were officially forbidden by the venue and didn’t want the security to disturb the concert and kept my camera in my bag. It was lovely to meet so many other fans. Looking forward to the second concert and a big MFC party before the gig. Definitely going to blog about the party and give quick comments about the the second and third concert but will probably leave proper reports to write them when rested and thought everything through.