I was in Milan on my way to Cernobbio and decided to go to the Mumu signing session organized by Swatch at their local store. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had heard some events similar to this in other countries were hectic and of course I already knew that the celebrity culture in Italy is different from what I’m used to in my small Nordic home country.
I often worry about security arrangements in advance. I’m not worried for my own safety, I’m a bit scared of the security people. I want them to give polite instructions (which I’m happy to follow) and I want to feel they are there to protect me and the others and to keep the situation controlled and calm. Giving rude orders, coming too close or treating everyone as a security threat is always unpleasant.
The event turned out to be very well organized, I was impressed. I arrived (together with some other fans) to see a queuing area surrounded by barriers, calm and nicely dressed security and a stylish smiling lady, probably in charge of the store or the campaign, who greeted and guided me inside. I bought my Mumu and was explained that I could have it signed only if waited in the line until the official event in the evening. I told I’m happy to wait, got my number and joined the queue.
I was over-tired and not feeling well but the queueing went still smoothly. We could stay in the shade and use toilets and get coffee from cafes around the square as often as we liked. Mika arrived as scheduled. Some girls further away screamed a bit but it just made him look popular (everything was filmed). The whole situation was extremely organized. We got in the store in groups of ten and everyone had a possibility to get their boxes signed and exchange a few quick words with Mika.
I have met him many times during years so it doesn’t make me nervous but of course it’s always exciting. I like him and I’m not used to talk with him and even I know he can remember my face I’m still always a bit insecure if he can recognize me in a busy and crowded situation or not. After waiting for a while it was my turn and we greeted each other. He was kind. First he said something nice referring to something that happened earlier and it made me very happy. We told how tired we both were and looked, he signed the Mumu I had bought for my son and we exchanged a few more lines too random to explain.
I always dream that some day we will have a discussion not that random and I will say something if not smart at least normal. It could happen, it’s not that unrealistic. However, in this situation where he had to improvise discussions with 200 people and have something to say to everyone and I was so over-tired I could hardly remember my name, we both did fine. He was kind and sweet and I was happy to have that short meeting with him.
When I was a child my mother used to watch only movies based on true story – otherwise they would be nonsense – and I never understood her logic. It still makes no sense to me. What’s the point of making movies look like a real life when we can make our real lives look like a movie. These days I often have a feeling I live inside a screenplay and I love it. I love every moment.
I’m not talking about fancy and glamorous Hollywood style films, those things mean nothing to me. What I have in mind is more like a low-budget, really weird alternative one. Even my home life is quite colorful, but when I travel, I see places as beautiful as any movie scenes, meet people who could totally be film characters and get in situations I can hardly believe myself even I’m there. And there’s a soundtrack. My life has a soundtrack, for real.
When I watch Mika on stage I can see a weird combination of an adult fairytale, old-fashioned musical and Marvel super heroes, happening right in front of my eyes. Regarding to traveling this summer was all my French and Italian favorites put together. The tour itself was probably my favorite summer tour so far and I’ve looked forward to writing a small summary and collecting my thoughts about it.
This tour was different compared to any previous summer tours I’ve seen during years. It was very carefully considered. By that I mean every night was separately planned as an opposite to the old system with a basic structure songs added or left out depending on the current feeling. This time I got the impression every setlist was separately considered which felt thoughtful and very professional.
I appreciated it that the show was significally different every single night. Of course I did. It made a big difference and not only to fans like me who saw many shows but to everyone because it meant there was an extra excitement before every gig. Every night could stand out as it was and there were particular, detailed news and individual memories after all of them just based on the structure.
Having everything so carefully planned in advance means inevitably less spontaneous, random interaction between Mika and the audience which is something he is so good at and something people who are used to it might miss. I can see their point.
However, it looked to me that all the planning allowed Mika to be focused on his singing and that’s basically what I hope him to do. I just want him to sing to me. So if he is now more focused on his singing and performing than he has been for a while I definitely won’t complain. I have absolutely nothing to complain. I’m just happy I saw all these concerts.
Molfetta was the most idyllic location with the sea, salty smell, fishermen and cats. Palermo had the most amazing setlist of the whole tour. Not sure people even realized how challenging and generous it was. Perugia Jazz festival was one of the coolest events I’ve seen and I’m not even a jazz person. Padova was one of my personal favorites. I didn’t think anything during the whole gig, just enjoyed the music and maybe for that reason it seems to be so hard to write a report (but I will at some point).
La Rochelle was big, messy and colorful. Nimes was special (the venue, stunning performance and very special atmosphere). Carcassone and Sollies Pont were the same, fantastic style as Nimes in a bit smaller scale. Then back to Italy. I spent a beautiful, pleasant day in Trieste but the gig was a bit loud. Chieti was like an opposite to it, one of my favorite summer gigs ever (I wrote about those two gigs here). Rome was a bit peculiar but we got some gems and Cernobbio was simply put super emotional. Very touching indeed.
I noticed that if something was wrong during any of the gigs it was quickly fixed before the next one which added the professional impression (I had always thought they don’t have time for that). I could see Mika was relieved in Cernobbio like always in the end of the tour. For him it means first holidays and then something new and interesting to do in the future. For his fans it means another ending (which I don’t like but can deal with).
Usually we are all tired together. Now I was exhausted and my friends probably felt the same but Mika could still do high-energy, very high quality shows until the very end of the tour. It made me wonder if he takes good enough care of his health. I didn’t worry much though. I used to worry that something bad will happen to him. I don’t worry much anymore. He makes me feel safe.
Even those rare times when we happened to be in the same plane I felt totally safe and calm. I can’t explain why I automatically assumed that someone who travels with his mother could possibly protect and save a whole plane but that was my first thought. He would figure something out. He will figure something out.
I can’t thank enough everyone who I met this summer. The German fans from my another, adoptive home country (how cute it is to say that). Isa and Ani (you ladies know how much I appreciate it that sometimes we can just have a glass of prosecco and deal with everything after that). The whole French group (I love it that I can refer to you all as “one group”). Italian families (Grazia, Valeria and the others who I meet also outside Italy, the long-time Italian fans, the gorgeous younger generation and also new fans who I now learnt to know better). My Korean friends and all my international friends from different countries.
Thank you. I will miss you. Hope to see you soon again. xxx
Cavea open air theater at Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome was one of the most interesting venues for the whole Italian tour. Formal and modern, not historical or other ways particularly beautiful or unique. However, the acoustics was wonderful and as long as the audience stayed seated the view seemed to be good from all parts of the venue. The stage was low with no barriers, one of those stages I would have loved to experience from a close distance. I couldn’t help but touching the soft red carpet every time I walked past the stage while waiting the gig to begin. So tempting.
We met as a big group of fans before the show at a restaurant next to the auditorium, chatted, took pics and had drinks, everyone dressed up a bit and looking forward to a civilized, adult event. It wasn’t going to be like that in reality of course. I knew it, the other fans knew it, Mika knew it and even the venue security knew and admitted it in advance. It’s not possible to do a normal, seated gig in Italy, the audience won’t allow it. I was disappointed to see the chaos at the stunning, historical venue in Taormina last summer, this time I was prepared and already knew to expect it.
No Place In Heaven in the beginning of the show was a kind of a countdown (see my vid here, it’s from far away but the sound is good like during the whole evening) and as soon as the first notes of Big Girl started the crowd run in front. The whole front area was filled in a few seconds. I did the same as all the other people in front of me and took a place in front row left side of the stage.
Mika saw me and Ani in the middle of the pushy crowd and laughed at us and stopped a few times to sing both sides of the stage so it was possible to see him. We saw a few songs quite well and then the security asked us all to move backwards which we naturally did. In two seconds our places were taken. Mika announced that it was okay for him that everyone stayed where they were and we were stuck in the crowd people in front and behind of us.
He can’t control the Italian audience at seated venues. He is too nice and is supposed to be that nice to people. The reason why I trust Florence will be a peaceful heaven is Simon Leclerc. Mika will sing and it will be stunningly beautiful and Simon Leclerc will take care of the rest. He has the power and the authority and he knows how to be strict. I have childlike faith in him. He won’t hesitate to silence those people. There will be no ugly posters, no screaming, clapping or even singing along. Those will be two magical nights.
Rome turned out to be a weird one. I felt like a stranger, squeezed between people I didn’t even know wearing a dress and heels, my feet and back hurting. Mika was a little bit like a stranger on stage as well. With that I mean he was there but I couldn’t see any details and it’s important for me to see him during the show. I used to think that during performances I can see only his stage personality. Now I’m starting to think those are the only moments I can see the real him. In the middle of his songs he is always familiar and someone I know so well so it feels important to also see him.
Another reason is language of course. I also used to think how much I want to see him happy (and be happy for that). Now when he talks a lot but I’m not in the group he is talking to and can’t understand his words I’m pleased to see any unfiltered emotions on his face. Happy, angry, whatever tells the story. It’s the only way to follow what’s happening on stage. He has learnt to use controlled expressions but during performances it’s a good time to let them go.
It was strange and weird but the sound was good and paid a lot of attention to it and then it was time for Over My Shoulder. And it was absolutely breathtaking. Suddenly I could recognize myself and I could recognize him and forgot my shoes and hurting feet and thought this is the reason I came to Rome. There’s always a good reason. Always. There’s a video below but it can only slightly express how amazing it was live. A stunning moment, one of the highlights of the whole tour.
I saw the last gig of the European tour in Cernobbio near Como on Tuesday and it gave me all kind of surreal, mixed feelings I can’t recall experiencing before. I felt a bit emotional already before the show. I was over-tired and felt myself lonely because even I love traveling in Italy, love Italian gigs and know many lovely people there (*waves to everyone*) I’m still inevitably a foreigner and can’t speak the language and for that reason often outside the information and discussions. Experiencing a gig in Italy means also experiencing the whole Italy in a smaller scale and it’s different and far away from what I’m used to at home.
Villa Erba is a beautiful venue. The situation at the gates was moderately calm which I knew to expect as the security told us they were the same group as in Milan (Fabrique) a year ago where everything worked perfectly. It’s not rocket science. These were ordinary looking guys, putting a few barriers and just standing there expecting people to be in order. It’s the attitude and behaving like professionals what makes the difference. If the security tells they couldn’t care less of course people will create a chaos.
The gig itself was as good quality as the whole tour before it. This was my favorite summer tour so far, a lot of effort was done for every show. I could see it and I appreciated it and always felt lucky to be there. There was spontaneity that comes from being in front of a live audience but everything behind it was well-thought and not random at all. The schedule was tight and tiredness obviously there but we couldn’t much hear it, not even in Cernobbio. We saw and heard a stunning performance every single night.
The setlist was a bit different again and we got two surprise songs, Step With Me and Blame It On The Girls, neither of them my biggest personal favorites but rare and I loved hearing them both. The atmosphere on stage was wild and the last gig of the tour seemed to give a reason to do some crazy things that hadn’t fit in other shows. During Talk About You Mika fluently changed to Sara Perche Ti Amo and then laughed so hard to the audience’s reaction. Max climbed on the piano and was given a microphone so he could sing there like it was something he had always wanted to do. The whole piano was opened for confetti so it could fill the stage and in the end of the show even Tristan was playing guitar standing on the drums.
The show seemed to be in every way a little bit extra cheerful but I still felt incredibly sad. This has been the longest touring period without breaks so far. I’ve invested a lot of time and love (and money but that’s the least meaningful of these three) and everything has become important and familiar and a big part of my life and given some kind of sense of belonging (not to even mention the excitement the traveling and concerts can give) and suddenly – almost without a warning – it’s over. I knew this tour will end but I didn’t prepare myself how final it feels and didn’t want to even think about it until I had to in Cernobbio.
Then I couldn’t postpone it anymore and at the beginning of Relax realized that I won’t hear it anymore and the sadness just came and I cried and felt a bit more miserable song after song. I’ve never thought these lyrics are so sad. When will I see you again. There’s no love no glory no happy ending. And sadness is such a personal feeling. It doesn’t go away or can’t be put aside just because someone else feels differently or has better reasons for their own sadness.
So I felt very emotional and wanted to carefully listen to Relax and the exact moment people behind me decided to negotiate with the security about another fan action and started to move giant cardboard figures over the front row and it felt wrong and disturbing. Too many and too complicated fan actions for one show, imo. I know people love planning them and I’m happy to take part most of the times but would prefer them as simple as possible and only one (or max. two) every show. I loved yellow stars and they would have been enough for this show. Expecting me to hold a flashing poster during Happy Ending or covering the whole audience using a fabric without a warning or without explaining it in advance is just too much.
The simpler the fan action the better it works. The rest of the audience behind us is there to focus on the show, not on any extra activities, and can’t or don’t want to participate if the action is too complicated. Also, a simple idea gives more wow effect when it really works like it did in Carcassonne with white and red papers or in Korea with beautiful blue paper planes. The timing should be carefully thought like in Cattolica last year when people had prepared different kind of water toys for Talk About You which fitted together with the mood of the song and even stage decorations and were suitable for Mika to play with while singing.
After the show it was time for a short after party the fan club had organized for 100 people and I didn’t have high expectations – simply because 100 people is a big crowd – but the moment turned out to be really touching and I want to thank you everyone who made it happen. I didn’t talk with Mika or probably even fit in the group pic but was happy just to be there and hear his long speech he did thanking his fans, including us and sharing his new plans. It was lovely because most of the time I feel everything I do is just for myself. And it should be enough (of course!) but felt still good he made it sound like it has meaning for him as well. He was very tired and left quickly but the band was still there and we could say good bye to also them which was a nice ending for the night and the whole tour.
Thank you everyone I met in Italy. I have still a few reports to write and many pics to share and will do that as soon as I can. Below my only video from Cernobbio (sorry that I can’t share more, my camera memory card was unfortunately full). xxx