The repacked edition for No Place In Heaven with the OSM concert recording was officially out on the 13th November. Many fans had already received their copy so I was eagerly waiting for the night shift courier to deliver my parcel on Friday night and so happy to finally hold the pretty package in my hands! The cover art is absolutely beautiful. I love the blue/green color scheme and especially one of the official Montreal photos used inside, one of my favorite ever Mika photos.
There are two different country specific two disc editions available: the French edition with several new French and two additional English songs and the Italian edition with collaborations with Fedez and Battiato and the English songs. I decided to order them both and buy separately the two extra symphony songs (Heroes, Ordinary Man) available only on the one disc Canadian symphony edition.
I received my copy and immediately listened to my favorite symphony songs. I cried and laughed (at myself for being that emotional) and was totally amazed by the powerful symphony atmosphere. I didn’t expect to be that impressed after being lucky enough to experience all the three concerts live in February. I hadn’t finished listening to the album when the first shocking news from Paris reached Twitter. I couldn’t realize what was happening. Reading news felt like following a nightmare.
I felt especially shocked for France even similar cruelty happens around the world. Not because any life could ever be more valuable than some other life somewhere else – destroying life in general is too difficult for human mind to understand – but because violating an iconic place like Paris meant somehow violating everything that represents love and beauty and that way raised my fears on incomprehensible levels. I was worried about people I know in France. I knew my friends were not in direct danger but not safely at home either so I waited for their updates before turning off the news. It came to mind Mika could already be in Paris for the Voice and his distressed tweets confirmed that. We could all see the anxiety in his words.
The Saturday morning felt an appropriate moment for listening to some specific symphony songs. Relax was originally written in the same kind of tragic atmosphere. In Any Other World we say good bye to the world we thought we lived in. Feels Like Love (an additional track on disc 1) felt selfishly soothing and comforting. It’s a sweet and tender song and I’m grateful I could discover it so unexpectedly with the repacked edition. In the middle of the original album I probably wouldn’t have appreciated it the way I do now.
Took me two more days to listen to the whole symphony recording. Now trying to find the right words to describe my feelings about it. I’m used to listen to music as a two dimensional experience. I enjoy pleasurable sounds and see songs and their stories as images in my head. This is why Mika is my favorite artist. I love his voice and can relate to his songs so well. Joy, happiness and other emotions come as a natural side effect with good music.
Symphony versions make his songs 5 dimensional. I’m not only listening, suddenly I’m in the middle of the stories. I’m in the middle of every single situation. I can hear and watch. I can feel the cold and wet. I can smell the autumn ground during Over My shoulder. I can taste the the salty water while struggling for real to keep my head above the wave in Underwater. I can feel a real physical force in the beginning of the Boum Boum Boum. During Rain I’m holding my umbrella with my both hands and oh how I hate days like this!
And this is not my usual musical experience. It’s extraordinary to feel music in this scale with the whole body and every sense. There’s a classical sound in his singing especially in certain songs and that alone is ecstatic! While listening to Heroes my whole body can feel it. My heart is beating, I can hardly breath! My every muscle is tired after hearing it just one time. After hearing it twice I collapse on the table feeling exhausted!
At the moment my favorite symphony songs are (in the album order) Underwater, Boum Boum Boum, Relax, Last Party, Happy Ending, Over My Shoulder, Good Guys, Any Other World and Heroes (last one from the Canadian edition). If I had to pick just one song it would be Relax. It’s always Relax. Took me a long time to get inside Good Guys even I now list it among my favorites. I could figure out what he was after with the song but I couldn’t catch the vibe. I wanted to see the illusions fading away like the lyrics tell but it didn’t happen until the late part of the Heaven tour. Finally the song opened up and I felt lucky to hear the symphony version again after that in Como.
I can remember the first concert from Montreal as a flawless and totally focused performance, but there were variations and emotions already in Montreal and the Como performance was extremely warm and intimate. I love hearing Ida and Max in the recording, definitely missed that in Como. This collaboration has been the most beautiful experience for a fan to follow. The direction is too good to turn away, hope there’s more to come in the future and the sooner the better. Go and listen to the Montreal recording if you haven’t heard it yet. I can warmly recommend it. xxx