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