I flied to Italy on Friday and had a feeling I’ve traveled too much lately. I didn’t have time to properly unpack my bag after coming back from Paris and London so I just grabbed another suitcase. I knew I had to check in my flight but couldn’t remember where I was going. Oh to Como! That meant I had to fly to Milan. Quickly counted this was my sixth time in Italy since the Milan gig in June.
I arrived Como late Friday night, found Bine and our hotel and had dinner downstairs. The restaurant was nice quality. Como is such a pretty small place! The center and the lake are beautiful and we got the sunniest October weather for Saturday. I saw the fancy old theater building and pictures Mika tweeted from inside and started to realize how extremely lucky I was being there that particular weekend and how amazing the concert in the evening could be.
Every opportunity to hear Mika with a symphony orchestra is incredibly special and extraordinary so it’s difficult to compare them. The experiences in Montreal and Como were still slightly different for natural reasons. In Montreal Mika was a guest for the local symphony orchestra, respected that and maybe for that reason closely followed the nature of the event. In Como his performing wasn’t that controlled and careful. It was more relaxed, even playful and every way more his own style.
So even I loved every second in Montreal the concert in Como went even more strongly into my heart and made me feel extremely touched and emotional. His singing was literally breathtaking, I simply forgot to breath when the music took over me and had tears in my eyes half of the concert without any need to think anything. I feel easily touched at gigs but symphony concerts can raise emotions on another, much higher level.
I’m not in a position to compare any symphony orchestras to each other – I know absolutely nothing about classical music – so I can compare only how I liked the singing/performing and the experiences itself. In Montreal everything sounded right, I couldn’t hear a single disturbing sound and loved being able to separate both Ida and Max on the background. In Como the singer replacing Ida took my attention several times. Also, I couldn’t hear Max when I expected and it moved my focus away from Mika. I can’t tell if anyone else thought the same. I might be spoiled after hearing Ida and Max together in Montreal, I loved their voices!
The audience in Como was a bit disturbing as well but I knew to expect that and Mika handled the situation quite well. Simon Leclerc told people off for clapping twice with his small hand gesture (I sent him grateful thoughts for that) and Mika gave shouting people patient smiles and chatted even a bit too much while keeping the audience in control.
I would have been stricter. I seriously hope that Mika will do many more symphony collaborations in the future and it could be a good idea to tell people how to behave from the beginning. There are different kind of events. It’s totally okay to bring giant posters and have a picnic at festivals. Arena concerts are the better the more people jump and the louder they sing. Small intimate gigs are full dancing, warm feeling and interaction between Mika and the audience.
Symphony concerts are different. People dress tidy whatever their style is and leave cameras and posters at home or at least in their bag to calm down the situation, to let the orchestra (more than a hundred musicians!) work in peace and to respect old, special venues. They sit in their places and let the performance transfer themselves to a heavenly place. First it may feel weird not to clap during high-energy songs but clapping can disturb the musicians in the orchestra (we were clearly told that in Montreal) and singing along will definitely disturb the rest of the audience who is doing their everything to memorize every single moment that night.
Also, it’s rude to read news from the mobile or chat online during symphony concerts like the man sitting in front of me did. I was desperate to see better and would have loved to change seats with him. Sometimes we are forced to go to events just for the company and I admit I often read my mobile as well. At symphony concerts it’s just unacceptable for the respect towards both the artist and the musicians. The people shouting during the concert were very young and I tried to be understanding. After all, without the XF fame a concert like this could have been impossible to organize.
Now back to the set list and Mika’s performance. His voice has never sounded as good as it sounds together with a big classical orchestra! Especially the lower parts of his voice filled Teatro Sociale in such a special and emotional way it’s hard to even describe it and living through every song with his performance created the most touching musical moments I’ve probably ever experienced and I could see every fan and every true music lover at the theater had an equally powerful experience.
Toy Boy in the beginning was nervous but Underwater after that maybe the best and most emotional version I’ve ever heard. I suddenly noticed my eyes are full of tears and I can’t even explain why, the performance was simply strong enough to make it happen. Extremely emotional. Boum Boum Boum wasn’t as good as it was in Montreal with Ida but another symphony version was still great. I love this song performed live and a symphony orchestra gives it a different, more serious tone.
After that we heard Rain and I had to wonder when was the last time I could really feel I hate days like this and I couldn’t remember. It was wonderful to get the song back. It’s been a long time since I’ve loved Rain this much. Then Last Party and so much tears (again) and the most powerful version I’ve heard for the song.
I felt overwhelmed already and for that reason almost missed Overrated and Any Other World and can remember something similar from Montreal. Drunk was light and playful even I could feel the break up vibe more than usually (can’t explain how it was done) and together with Ordinary Man calmed me down. I tried to keep the wonderful Ordinary Man version from the Heaven Tour in my mind and had a feeling he kept the song less theatrical than in Montreal so I enjoyed the Como version more than the one I heard in February.
Then outstanding Heroes and I absolutely loved how his deeper voice filled the whole theater and I had tears in my eyes (again!) just because everything felt so right and made justice for the song and was so well deserved in every way both for the song and for Mika. Very impressive performance. Then it was time for a break. I jumped from my seat and walked around the lower floor and gave people a few hugs just of happiness and then returned back to my middle of the audience seat. My view was wonderful, only wished I could have seen it from a closer distance.
He started the second part with Grace Kelly, maybe my least favorite on the symphony set list and continued with stunning Over My Sholder. I always love this song, I’m happy to hear it at all kind of gigs but the symphony version is outstanding. Just like in Montreal I could suddenly see the whole autumn/early winter landscape in front of me, it was spectacular and something that happens only with the symphony version.
After OMS an amazing version of Good Guys, a true tribute to the persons mentioned in the song riding towards the sunset. Again, I can’t explain how it was done but you will understand my words when you hear the version. Then Make You Happy and this time not my second favorite version like I thought in Montreal. I couldn’t first remember the song and not blaming myself, Mika had notes for the lyrics too but quickly remembered how much I love the song when it’s performed in the right and personal way.
Then Happy Ending with a standing ovation, well deserved at this point of the concert and after the brilliant performance. Maybe not my personal favorite HE without Ida but I’m spoiled with many magical Happy Endings. Origin was done with the usual hearts and dancing, he couldn’t much control himself and probably didn’t even try to. Amazing love song vibe! Then gentle Relax (one of the crying songs), two high-energy songs (I think with symphony I prefer EMD over LT even it’s usually the other way around), beautiful Stardust in English and Toy Boy once again, maybe not as good as in Montreal but still a lovely way to end the show.
Mika looked stylish in his most beautiful Valentino. In the end of the concert he smiled happily, thanked the audience and nodded friendly to some young fans holding big posters and wrapped one of the sheets around Simon Leclerc who openly showed his disapproval towards this ugly, inappropriate thing. Must admire him both for the incredible arrangements and his correct manners. Wonderful, very special night in Como. Still over-tired after the strong emotions and trusting there will be more symphony concerts in the future even they must be expensive and so time-consuming to organize.
(Edit: I just realized the man “reading news” could be press and actually writing news. People next to him arrived 15 minutes late and looked really rude as well. They should have a separate area somewhere side for the press but I assume the concert was partly arranged to promote the new album and the middle area given to journalists for that reason. I was surrounded by men reading news at the Assago gig so automatically at first put this one in the same category.)