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Mika was one of the performers for Casino Night Under The Stars in Monte Carlo on Saturday and I felt tempted to go as I had always wanted to hear Grace Kelly live in Monaco (one of the places where I hadn’t seen a concert yet) and booked a trip and then took part of every possible competition on the Casino Facebook page to win one of the dance floor passes. I was finally lucky to win a pass (most of the fans I know had already won one) and it gave an access to an exclusive area in front of stage so it was possible to see the show properly and from close distance.

The pass offered also drinks and a free game at the casino so I ended up having a very cool and unusual gig experience first watching the gig outside in front of Casino and then having a little game session inside. I’ve never dared to try those machines before but it’s actually very easy. You just push the button and then either win something or lose your money. Saskia and I won some money! We were naturally thrilled. Lol!

As so typical for big free events organized by companies for sales promotion purposes the event was quite poorly organized security wise. I always find that annoying and pay attention because companies should take responsibility of people’s safety, have a proper plan and enough professional security routines to control also big crowds. After getting in the dance floor area everything went well though and I was in a better mood as soon as the first artist (Charles Pasi) started. He was good! I liked his performance and felt entertained while waiting for Mika.

It wasn’t a proper Mika show so he didn’t have his normal stage set or light show and for some reason had some technical troubles on stage. It didn’t really matter though. He managed to keep up his usual good energy level and positive atmosphere and the audience had a lot of fun. I had a lot of fun and I really enjoyed the evening. His performance felt short (it was probably shorter than planned) but the special venue and visiting the casino after the gig made it up and I was generally really pleased with my trip. Before leaving to the airport Saskia and I had a little chat with a couple from Manchester who happened to be in Monte Carlo that night and was still listening to Mika songs happy and high after the gig. I always love seeing how much people enjoy his shows. A few pics above, might post more later.

My family and I had planned holidays in Sicily for years and finally booked a trip for June. Soon after that Mika announced a show at Teatro Antico in Taormina for July. As I had dreamt of seeing him at that particular venue as well skipping the gig wasn’t really an option so eventually decided to do two trips to Sicily. This way I could fully enjoy both my holidays (looking forward to the Mika show in July) and the gig (being already in love with the place).

In June we spent 10 days in Sicily visiting three different places. First 4 days in Catania doing day trips also to Taormina, Syracuse and Etna and then three days in a small salt area called Torre Nubia in Trapani admiring pink salt pans and the view over them. Sunsets over the salt pans looked absolutely magical, I could have spent days just watching the view!

Except visiting the Mozia Island we spent our days in the salt area mostly biking, relaxing and eating good food. Sicily is a gluten-free food paradise! Almost every restaurant offers gluten-free pasta and pizza and I couldn’t believe my eyes when the lady at our B&B brought us a freshly-baked gluten-free Nutella cake for breakfast.

The third leg of our trip in June headed to the archaeological area around Agrigento and we ended our trip visiting the temple area and gardens nearby. On my way home I felt that Sicily has a permanent place both in my heart and on my favorite places list together with some other volcanic places like Iceland and Japan.

In July I visited Taormina only for two days but loved it how I already knew where to go and spent the gig day with other fans eating granita and walking around the old town before going to Teatro Antico for the show. The venue with the magical view to Etna looked even more beautiful than I had imagined in advance. As a bonus the new video for Staring At The Sun was filmed in Sicily – such a lovely memory to watch later. See it below (from Mika’s official Youtube channel).

Rochefort is a lovely place with boats, beautiful buildings, parks and flowers (the flower/boat pics in the gallery are taken right next to the venue). The show was one of the first festivals announced this year so a lot of fans had made early plans to travel there. I loved meeting people and had a relaxed day in general.

The security arrangements for the festival were strict, even a bit exaggerated. I saw scary looking scanning equipments at the gates and decided to leave my bag and bigger camera in the car just a few minutes before the gates were opened. That way I had only my tiny camera in my hand which meant no good quality photos but also no extra fuss at the gates and I was lucky to get a great spot with a good view.

The program started early, I enjoyed watching the first act (a girl band) but wasn’t listening so carefully. Olympe’s performance didn’t convince me but he seemed very sweet and I could understand he has a lot of fans. Cristophe Willem was good. Really good actually. His music is not my style but he has a great voice and he was excellent on stage. When he finished his performance I almost had a feeling the show was over.

And it hadn’t even started yet! I was wondering if Mika knows Willem is that good on stage. I wanted him to show he is clearly better and hoped he doesn’t have any kind of a bad hair day. Not that he can’t do a good performance even those days – his show is always good quality – just wanted him to be at his best.

He came on stage and the show was fantastic from the beginning to the end. There was no doubt who was the headliner for the event. He did a proper length gig with several new songs and with a great mood, great positive energy and a lot of chatting and talking to the audience. I couldn’t understand his chatting of course but haven’t understood it for years and just enjoyed the show song after song. It was wonderful.

I especially loved hearing new songs. Talk About You, Staring At The Sun, Good Guys, Ordinary Man. French fans had prepared little surprises for several songs so we had balloons, hearts, stars and big printed pictures of “good guys” described in the song to show during Good Guys. I was happy to hold a Rufus pic! Mika seemed to like the idea and smiled watching and counting pics.

He did Ordinary Man properly with piano, it was a lovely treat. I heard Boum Boum Boum after a break, my biggest hope for that night. He makes it like a different song at gigs, going from calm to passionate emotions, I really love the atmosphere!

I very much enjoyed Talk About You and Staring At The Sun. Neither of those songs are my favorites on the album but I really love them performed live and can’t wait to finally hear my real favorite songs from the album (heard No Place In Heaven and Promiseland but only once). So much looking forward to the tour in September/October.

I felt really happy after the show and saw only happy, smiling people around me. The HEAVEN text in the hat a French fan is wearing above pretty much explains our feelings for the night. So much positive energy gathered in one place! I can’t decide which show I enjoyed more, this happy, long Rochefort gig with several new songs or the crazy, funny gig in Landerneau the day after, both really good experiences and a great way to end the season. Thanks everyone! X

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On my way back home from Southern France after seeing the last two festivals for the summer festival season. I really enjoyed this trip. I’ve seen dozens of Mika shows in France and like it how familiar everything has become and enjoy seeing so many faces I’ve known for years already.

To be honest festivals are generally hard. Messy, big areas with thousands of drunken people, most times located far away from everything, the weather always burning hot or pouring rain. I carry my camera with me because with a bit of luck festivals offer a very rare possibility to take photos with a bigger camera, sometimes even in day light which is the biggest luxury I know and it’s stressful and means constant worry about the security. Festivals are also often chaotic and you never know if you manage to get a good spot or not.

However, when things go well the show is always fantastic. Mika is brilliant at entertaining big crowds and I love watching how the audience gives him energy and how he gives all his energy to the people during the show. When he is the last performer or the only act for the evening the gig is normal length and like his usual shows except outdoors and always well worth traveling.

This time I saw two wonderful shows. Rochefort was a long, proper Mika show with several new songs. Landerneau was a festival set but felt longer and much more energetic than the Belgian one with lots of crazy, funny details. I will later write a proper report about Rochefort with photos and videos, now a short report about Landerneau and some more pics. My technical skills are poor, at home I use only natural light and photoshop photos as little as possible and the result for my gig photos depends always on pure luck but makes me still happy to try and I loved taking some photos in Landerneau.

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It was difficult to find a public transportation from Rochefort to Landerneau but I was lucky and got a ride from Corinne and his husband. A huge thank you to them both for being so helpful, couldn’t have done this otherwise. We slept a couple of hours in Corinne’s holiday house and arrived Landerneau around noon. The gates were opened at 2 pm and everything was relaxed and we went in trying to decide where to stay.

The Landerneau venue was different compared to Rochefort and didn’t have a proper front row. The stage was high with a little extension (just like in Belgium) and I wanted to stay in front of it (and would have obviously got much better pictures from there) but was too short to see anything else than the extension and didn’t want to risk the show in case the security tells strict no to taking photos and eventually went to the left corner to see also the piano. Regretted it a bit during the gig but enjoyed seeing the piano and festivals are always tricky this way, it’s very difficult to know the view in advance.

The line-up was really bad and not my taste at all. I bought food immediately after going in but the crowd started to pack around the stage soon after the program started and after that it was simply not possible to leave our spots even for toilets without losing them so I just tried to concentrate on every artist. I had seen Lily Woods a couple of times before so I knew some of their songs and enjoyed their performance (and loved her outfit!) but found the reggae bands before and after them a torture. The first band was quite experimental and had a lovely message (love and equality to everyone) but sounded absolutely awful and I couldn’t understand who let them on stage and literally thought ”just shoot me now” when saw another reggae band coming on stage with their big woolly hats.

I simply dislike reggae music unless it’s nicely hidden in pop and find the lazy rhythm irritating. However, I always try to be polite and supportive towards every festival act because I feel it’s my responsibility if I take a front row place and sometimes genuinely love discovering new music I would otherwise never listen to. For example I absolutely loved the punk band in Belgium and Cristophe Willem in Rochefort even neither of them my usual style of music, just really liked their stage performances. This time I really tried to smile and awkwardly danced along while listening to the second reggae band but the singer still totally picked my vibe and kept giving intense looks and raising his eyebrows and made me feel incredibly embarrassed. Thousands and thousands of people and the singer immediately read my real feelings? I hope it’s equally obvious to Mika that I love his music.

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The show in Landerneau was fantastic. He started with Relax and no matter how typical it is I can’t imagine any song being a better start for a Mika show (maybe Promiseland for the new tour?). After Relax he did Talk About You and Big Girl and after that his usual festival set but can’t remember the exact set list or order because paid so much attention to everything happening on stage.

The crowd was drunk and wild and he did crazy, funny things keeping it entertained taking a lot of contact with people talking especially to a random guy in a pink bunny suit, wearing a bunny hat offered to him and then asking the bunny guy to dance on stage with him. A lot of interaction with the band, loved it! Teasing Max several times, taking Tim’s hat, joking with Curtis who was lying on the piano and laughing so hard he could hardly play his saxophone. A lot of chatting with the audience and sweet attention and smiles to the fans. At some point he suddenly had women’s bra in his hand. He gave them a couple of confused looks and hang them in the microphone and later offered to our direction (my face being “noooo, you are not throwing someone’s underwear close to us”). Lol! A lot of silly dancing and every way a very colorful, cheerful festival performance.

I took photos and laughed at everything and – again – focused carefully on some songs to remember them later. I was especially happy about my live favorite Boum Boum Boum because haven’t heard it for a while and now heard it two nights in row and the new Love Today which is even more intense than earlier, not sure how that’s even possible. After the show he stopped quickly to say thank you to the French fans he knows well, saw me and gave a quick handshake because he is always so polite. It was somehow funny but very sweet of course, as an opposite to my cold hands his hands are always soft and warm. More about these festivals when back home.

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Mika performed at Lokerse Feesten in Lokeren on Friday so I flied to Dusseldorf on Thursday and travelled to Belgium by car on Friday with my gig traveling friends Saskia and Karin. It was great to meet so many French, Belgian and Dutch fans I haven’t met for a while. A huge thank you to everyone and especially to Saskia for being such an amazing host and making me feel so welcome. Can’t wait to see everyone soon again!

The festival opened at seven and started with a local rap performance, continued first with a punk band, then singer-songwriter style with Milow and then finally with Mika and even a dj after him. The line-up was quite strange put together and most people in the audience seemed to be there for the event, not just for one particular artist or band. The stage was very high – at least twice as high as usually – and I spent an hour walking around and trying to choose the the best spot in the audience. The best view was obviously from the middle of the square but I had my camera with me so eventually decided to stay front and take a few pics even I couldn’t see the whole stage from there.

I felt tired so I focused on every artist on stage (it’s always the best way stay awake) and was puzzled how different they all were compared to each other. The rap band was arrogant and had their twenty best friends on stage with them like rap artists always do. They were also quite rude throwing bottles to the audience so I didn’t like the vibe and neither did the majority of the audience but they had their own fans dancing in the middle of the field. The punk band was awesome, very positive and friendly and the audience generally liked them. Milow is actually a good artist and I had looked forward seeing him live but would have preferred seeing him on stage earlier and felt already a bit sleepy during his performance. Then it was finally time for Mika and I was happy to see him and suddenly felt totally awake and energetic.

Every artist/band had the same amount of time for their performance meaning Mika did his short festival set and was just one of the acts instead of a proper headliner even he was the last one to perform (at least before the dj part). He didn’t start as sharply as he did in Ostrava and the audience warmed up slowly so the performance felt a bit too short even it got better during every song like it always does. I had a feeling he didn’t even try to go for the best possible impact and was aiming just for a good, standard festival performance which he successfully did.

He didn’t do many songs from the new album, there was not enough time for that. I know many fans were disappointed because of that but I hadn’t expected many new songs in an event like this and was actually very pleased with the show and just enjoyed and danced and focused on the two things I always focus on during every Mika show.

I always do my best to forget everything around me and concentrate on and listen to very carefully the most important songs. No matter where I am and what the circumstances are – a concert hall, an intimate club, a muddy festival field – to see Mika live and close in front me singing songs like Happy Ending, Underwater or Last Party is a huge privilege. Being able to be there makes me a privileged, lucky person and would be ungrateful from me not to concentrate on and fully enjoy every second. It’s actually very easy, I just focus on the moment and always love it and this gig wasn’t an exception.

Also, I always look for something that is special for that particular show. Something to remember later and something that separates the show from every other show I’ve seen. It took me practically three days to travel abroad to see this a bit more than one hour show and traveling from my country is always expensive. Would be waste of my time and money not to make every trip memorable and not to find something unique from every gig to remember afterwards.

This time it was definitely Staring At The Sun. I saw the new beautiful video earlier that day and loved it how they had managed to catch the same atmosphere (with lights) in the live performance and really enjoyed the song. It was definitely Happy Ending and Mika’s face when he realized the audience just kept singing the song. And it was definitely Love Today in the end when the band was finally playing the mad look in their eyes and the audience was finally jumping crazy and the confetti rain ended everything too soon but still as well as possible. Those carefree seconds of simple, childlike happiness. If I could stop time for a while I would have done it during that confetti rain.