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.