Funny and entertaining show in Grenoble tonight! So much chatting! Naturally in French, some of the stories maybe familiar. To be honest find it hard to believe he would be this chatty in London on Sunday, haven’t heard him like this in English for a long time. Over My Sholder together with his friend Alex. Great version of Relax, really loved it. Last Party standing on the piano. Lovely moment with merci signs in the audience in the beginning on Happy Ending. A lot of funny details like Mika, Max and Tristan all singing and playing lying on the stage and a bird mascot on stage making silly noises. Bou Boum Boum below (new lights on the background). Now a couple of hours of sleep and back home.
The show at Bercy was such a spectacle it’s difficult to even start to describe it and I assume people most interested in it were either there or saw someone streaming the show so I’m going to just collect my thoughts and share photos to give an overview of it. I genuinely think everything went really well. I can’t say if it all went like Mika had originally planned it but from the audience perspective everything looked smooth and little mistakes we saw or heard were only minor and didn’t disturb the show at all.
His voice was good. He was occasionally out of breath, of course, but that can’t be avoided when running around a stage this big. Show elements were massive and included background films and animations inside enormous M I K A letters, a huge lighted construction on the smaller stage (Arc de Triomphe), a massive throne and a cake, a big Mika style heart with wings, confetti rains, red and white dressed dancers and similar color schemed heart flags.
The show was grandiose and not sure it that’s a totally suitable word but I mean it in a positive way and say it with love. It was very Mika style, this is one of the reasons I like him so much. There’s still a child inside of him and he managed to make a massive show at Bercy look not only hard work, pressure and schedules but also a thrilling challenge and an opportunity to use his wildest ideas.
Concerts this big are more for him than for the audience. His singing was aimed to further galaxies and I generally prefer more basic concerts like the one in Strasbourg but it doesn’t make this one any less special, it was equally or even more precious but for very different reasons. This was important for him, we could see how well he prepared and the amount of money and hours put into it must have been enormous. I found it a bit disturbing that recording the show was a priority and that he had to speak to TV channels in the middle of the love letter to Paris but I totally understand it had to be done and I’m grateful a massive show like this could be put together whatever deals it took.
I saw the previous two Paris gigs and the big Milan gig seated and always regretted being so far away and not being able to see details or dance (in Milan it was even strictly forbidden) so after considering whether to sit or stand I finally went for standing. We couldn’t know in advance where to find a good view and I chose the big stage instead of the catwalk/second stage like seemed to be a good option at PDP but noticed my decision wrong since the beginning of the show as he used mainly the catwalk/small stage like at Rock In Rio. At that point it was too late for me to use my seat (unfortunately, the view would have been nice) so I watched most songs from behind and far away.
I could still see many details and elements before they were transferred to the end of the catwalk and luckily the end of Happy Ending and Last Party happened directly in front of me and that made me in tears of happiness as they are always my favorite parts and I was already feeling emotional and touched by the whole event. Because I couldn’t see the performances I carefully watched the background clips and pictures and admired how impressive they looked, all well made and variable.
Everything started with a dozen of dancers dressed in red jackets like solders hanging out here and there around the stage for a while until Mika came on stage and started the show. The set list was surprisingly very basic and familiar only a couple of French songs added. The special nature of the event came from show elements and they were impressive, to be honest much more impressive than I had expected.
My biggest favorites were Les Baisers Perdus with an extremely beautiful, talented circus performance – the song is delicate and loved it how the performance could be seen in shadows both sides of the stage – and Underwater with strings and 20 000 people in the audience singing the chorus and waving lights like thousands of stars on the sky. Maybe the most beautiful Underwater moment I’ve seen. Loved also the the similar costumes on Mika and the young boy giving the idea of a king and young prince and very much enjoyed Last Party (as a song) and Love Today.
I kind of missed many songs because they happened on the other stage and wished I could have seen Love Today Tristan playing the opening in front of the audience. He looks young and I can remember how scared he seemed to be when he started in the band, soon he was having fun in the corner, then got his solo part hiding behind the gates and had now a role directly in front of the audience. So pleased to see Mika giving him some spotlight.
In the end of the show Mika came on stage inside of a magical sparkling cake, the whole band played vividly and everything ended under colorful confetti rain. I was located next to a confetti machine and literally had my eyes and mouth full of paper. What a fantastic, colorful ending for the spectacle.
I felt happy and grateful I was able to see the show, just being there was enough. Mika was like a little boy who playing with his costumes, the whole family gathered around him watching him, smiling and supporting. The girls were there, even his little nephew was there. I know that creating a show like this means professional designing and planning, numerous hours of work and a lot of money but that’s still the impression I got. Melts my heart.
The gig in Strasbourg last night was pretty much everything what I want from a “basic” Mika show (not talking about special cases like symphony concerts or intimate gigs which are more focused on singing or spectacles like Bercy): a good combination of amazing music, positive energy and fab looking, colorful show elements.
I wasn’t sure we would see any Bercy elements on stage – I tried not to expect it – so almost screamed of joy when the curtain was down and saw the giant Arc de Triomphe in the middle of the stage and the huge throne in the corner. The construction is truly giant and looks fantastic sparkling in different colors and the colors of the throne match with house backgrounds as well.
The set list was familiar/basic and to be honest I was happy with that after being overwhelmed of new details in Paris night before and I’m generally satisfied as long as I can listen to my favorites. I was located on the side so didn’t get the whole view of the stage but haven’t seen Tristan playing from a close distance for a while so was totally happy with that too.
The French crowd was as good and supportive as it can be. French gigs are always worth traveling and made me smile to realize that the school class surrounding me in the train this morning was talking about Mika the whole trip. The whole trip! Like that wasn’t cool enough the granny sitting next to me was absolutely delighted to see Bercy pics on my laptop and said oh-la-la to every single pic. Every single pic and I had many of them! He has charmed everyone. Confetti rain was crazy. I love the last pic taken after the show.
Of all the countries Mika is doing these days the Baltic states are closest to my home so the gigs in Riga and Kaunas felt for personal reasons a little bit more special than the other gigs this summer. I already posted some pics of the both shows.The concert in Riga went already well but in Kaunas the audience was so incredibly enthusiastic and the atmosphere so warm and happy that I feel like posting a small report about it to remember everything later.
I travelled together with Saskia. I’m not easy company while traveling, I have my own routines and want to do things my own way but Saskia and I have travelled together many times and know each other well so everything goes smoothly. People don’t queue in Baltic countries and we had a relaxed day and went to the venue late afternoon and met some local fans who were excited and thrilled about the gig. We heard that local radio stations play a lot of Mika and even his new songs which turned out to be true during the evening as the audience knew the lyrics also for his newer songs and not only for the biggest hits.
Everyone we met in Liethuania was kind and friendly. The security at the venue didn’t seem to know much (they all gave wrong instructions) but they did it smiling and generally everyone we happened to meet was welcoming and nice. Everyone in Liethuania seemed to also be extremely tall and the barrier we saw after getting in the venue was probably highest I’ve ever seen, I could hardly put my chin above it.
The new supporting act for the tour is called Xylaroo and I loved these two sisters (pics above) the moment they started to sing which totally surprised me. Usually I’m not into female voices at all but the girls are talented and incredibly sweet and have a simple, very special and unique style which I immediately liked. I already have a couple of favorite songs and looking forward to seeing them many times during the tour.
Mika started with Big Girl (a good, basic song to begin the show) and continued with Talk About You and Good Wife (the most positive songs from the new album). The front area was full of photographers which is always good from artist’s point of view. There are several articles about the show online and Saskia and I can be seen in many pics and we look so awful we had to laugh tears in our eyes when saw them.
There was a new little dance in the end of the TAY with Max and Joy and it’s really joyful and now one of my favorite details and I would love it to be a bit longer. During EMD Mika asked a boy who had caught his attention with his energetic dancing and jumping on stage with him and he translated and danced more and was actually very natural on stage.
In the end of Happy Ending I knew to expect a small a cappella moment but the most of the audience couldn’t know what was happening and kept making such noise Mika had to jokingly beg them to stop until the crowd was finally silent and he could sing the ending which made the venue practically explode. Can’t remember experiencing an audience like that for a long time.
Also can’t remember last time I danced as much as I did in Kaunas. It wasn’t even possible to stay still while everyone around me was dancing and jumping. I carefully focused on listening to my favorites and Stardust, Underwater, Last Party and unexpected Any Other World were all absolutely beautiful. I still think it was the relaxed atmosphere that made the evening so special (no one was pushy or tense, everyone was simply enjoying) and Mika seemed to feel the same and told how the gig didn’t feel like a concert but more like just having fun together. A few pics below.
After the show Saskia, Ani and I took a pic with a couple of local girls we met at the gig. I had recognized familiar faces in the audience because I’ve seen some shows in Estonia and Latvia even it’s been several years. Next time in Finland, please? It would be so lovely. X
I felt the need to travel to Portugal to see Rock In Rio Lisboa so I did. Lisbon is not a practical destination from Helsinki but I found a suitable flight and had a day in Lisbon to walk around. Lisbon is smallish and easy to move around. I stayed in a small guest house and I got help with directions and arrived to the venue around noon. I met a large group of Queen fans and a couple of Mika fans from France. Iona from Australia arrived as well and we couldn’t see Rose from the UK in the crowd but found her later inside the venue (in the pic below Manon, Camille and Iona).
Queen supporters were loud and cheerful and sang together while waiting. Many of them had dressed for the occasion and everyone had at least a T-shirt to show their dedication. In the queue we got cold drinks, sunscream (promotional stuff) and cute frogs for the competition. First one inside with the frog would be the winner. We took our frogs but the distance from the gates to the stage was long and the best places were obviously taken before we finally entered. We stayed front row side to have a barrier even we couldn’t see so well. The stage was huge!
The Rock In Rio musical started and after that we saw the first performer Fergie in her leather underwear. I didn’t like her music but her performance was entertaining and she was nice to the audience chatting and moving around to let as many as possible to see her.
Then it was time for Mika and he did an energetic and good festival performance with some special details like having local musicians for Over My Shoulder which was my favorite part of the show. I wasn’t close enough to take any good photos but took a few for the blog and to remember new, impressive backgrounds (done together with Studiojob I assume).
One of the highlights for me is always listening to Relax and suddenly in the middle of song we saw a plane landing flying very low over the audience (the airport is very close to the park) and I loved this unexpected detail and even Mika joked during Underwater how cool the audience with their lights would look if another plane happened to fly over it that exact moment. The crowd was absolutely massive, never seen anything like that before, and performing in front of it both an honor and a huge opportunity and I felt lucky to be there to witness the event even it wasn’t possible to experience the show the usual way because of the giant stage and crowd.
I took part in a competition on Rock In Rio FB page and won a visit to backstage with a short meeting with Mika. When the performance was almost over I fought my way out of the crowd and met a group of other competition winners near the back stage entrance. It’s very rare for fans to visit the area and I was curious to see how the situation was organized. A friendly girl from Rock In Rio took care of us and explained everything and told us how busy and stressful the situation was and we waited our turn quite a while and were asked to go backwards twice not to disturb Queen before they walk on stage.
I realized it must be extremely hard for Mika to focus on meeting a lot of people right after performing when the pressure is hardly over and the adrenaline level still high. He was still patient, polite and sweet. I had originally planned to give him something to wish all the best for the show in Paris but there was no proper line and I decided just quietly stay behind the others in case the time runs out for our group. I still eventually ended up in front of him, we took a pic and I got something kindly signed and it was all very generous. I said a quick thank you and then his attention was already needed elsewhere and our group was on our way out.
We went back to the festival area and I stayed up on the hill listening to Queen, watching the massive audience and chatting with one of the English speaking winners. The performance was convincing and felt funny to know every single Queen song even I’ve never properly listened to their music. The event itself was the biggest I’ve seen and definitely worth experiencing and in the end of the colorful day I was more than pleased with my decision to travel to Portugal. Taxi queues were hundreds of meters long but shortened quickly and I had Iona as my company while waiting.
I flied to Riga day after the festival and smiled when saw Mika coming to the plane and felt weirdly calm and safe after that like nothing bad could ever happen to the plane if he is there. We didn’t talk (I don’t like disturbing him) but he laughed when saw my face after the flight and I had to wonder if he can guess how irrational people’s thoughts are. Gigs in Baltic area are always a good experience, now in Prague, will write more about these gigs as soon as I can find time. X