This spring it’s been 7 years since the big 2010 Imaginarium Tour and I had an idea to gather a few tour highlights in one post and collected some of my favorite videos below. The photo above was taken a few months before the tour during the TBWKTM album promotion and I assume preparations or at least planning for the tour had already started that time.

I like to watch how tours evolve from beginning to the end and it was important for me to see especially the first gigs in Belfast and Dublin and the last ones in Netherlands and Luxembourg and of course there were many fantastic shows between them. From Ireland the tour went to London, then to Scandinavia and then to other parts of Europe before continuing as “Arena Tour” (meaning bigger venues) in France and some other European countries. After Luxembourg there was a little break for me and then the tour continued with summer festivals including the Baltic area and my home town Helsinki which naturally was my dream come true. What a busy year it was.

The 2010 shows were based on the first two albums and offered massive theatrical elements and maybe for that reason became huge fan favorites we all like to look back from time to time. I loved the small tours we saw after TOOL (The Intimate Tour was my personal favorite) but it was still good to see something as big and colorful as the Heaven Tour 2015-16 where the massive, theatrical stage setting reminded me of the 2010 tour.

The Imaginarium setlist was based on both LICM and TBWKTM but naturally included only a part of the new songs and I felt very lucky I had heard a couple more songs during the 2009 North America Tour (One Foot Boy and Pick Up Of The Floor from Boston) and By The Time (with King’s Singers) at Union Chapel in London.

I’ve earlier added a photo gallery here and some additional photos on FB here. I went through my old notebook and found a few setlists from the tour and added them below to show how the song list evolved during the spring. There’s no city mentioned in the last one but it could be from one of the big shows in the end of the tour (maybe Marseille because I was on stage there) but in any case it gives an example of the changes.

The first song I want to share is Rain which in the beginning of tour started the show with a special school boy scene starring David as young Mika (a giant notebook on the background) and later during the tour included an impressive nightmare intro where a character with an animal mask took Mika under the stage. Even this happened years ago watching these videos can still bring it all easily back to my mind and I can well remember how exciting, almost scary the nightmare scene was.

As you can see from the setlist Relax was first done almost in the end of the show and I chose a video from Copenhagen with the chair dance in it. Later the song was in the beginning of the show like it often is with an amazing intro where Mika walks in the air as an astronaut and I chose a video of that from Lyon. The space walk and the newsflash related to it – a clip that was shown on the background starring sir Ian McKellen – is one of my favorite theatrical elements Mika has used in his shows because it was so Mika style and so perfectly described his personality.

2010 was not the first time I saw Ida on stage with Mika, I had seen her several times the year before, and she felt familiar already and her part in Good Gone Girl wearing a glamorous blue dress was one of my favorites during the whole tour. I added below Good Gone Girl from Amsterdam and Happy Ending from Stockholm (also with Ida). Below that Happy Ending from Dublin simply because it’s one of the my dearest Happy Ending memories.

Many songs on the setlist included something colorful and theatrical. Dr John was not among my favorite songs on the album and afterwards when it was not on the setlist any more I’ve often thought I didn’t give the performance enough credit and that the feather coat was really an incredibly fabulous detail.

Another detail I didn’t give enough credit that time was the weird puppet we saw on stage during Toy Boy. Luckily we still hear Toy Boy every now and then, even during symphony concerts, but I haven’t seen the puppet ever since and in a twisted way kind of miss it. Lol! I added a video from Vienna. In the beginning of the vid Mika thanks the audience and it sounds like another polite thank you but I think he really meant what he said because the audience was absolutely fantastic and the energy was wonderful and after all these years and gigs I would still list the one I saw in Vienna 2010 among my top ten favorite gigs.

I guess one of the reasons why this tour became so memorable for fans was the way Mika included us during every single show. Before every gig his team collected a group of fans and dressed them as Lollipop Girls and Big Girls and the group was on stage during the death march (wearing giant masks) and in the end of the show. The death march was a weird, dark element and I added a Love Today video from Berlin so you can see a group of fans marching in the beginning.

I can tell it wasn’t easy at all because it wasn’t possible to see much through the mask. I was on stage as a Big Girl in Marseille and it was one the funniest and most special experiences ever. Many flights were cancelled due to the volcano in Iceland and I had to take several trains to get from Helsinki to Marseille. I travelled a couple of days and arrived Marseille late afternoon and walked almost directly on stage to get instructions for the show, naturally in French which I couldn’t understand a word.

My second time on stage was also in South France (a couple of years later in Nice) and every time I travel in these parts of France I meet someone I learnt to know during those short stage moments. I rarely meet these people otherwise but I can always feel we have something in common just because we were on stage together. Such a cool experience.

Another dark detail on the Imaginarium Tour was the shooting scene where Mika “killed” his whole band and himself. It was funny at the time but the sad fact is I’m not sure he would do it again in the world and situation we live today, it might not feel appropriate, not now when many scary things are happening for real. I added videos from Paris and Helsinki. The Helsinki gig was later that summer and yes, Jimmy is desperately trying to bring that giant, soft toyboy back to life! So funny!

I started my post with the WAG poster so I’m also finishing it with WAG and chose this video from Luxembourg below. Luxembourg was the last gig of the official imaginarioum/Arena tour but of course not the last gig of that year. Those were exciting times, so many good memories.

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I was cleaning my years old laptop for my son and found these blurry, random photos taken at my very first Mika gig at Brixton Academy, London almost 7 years ago. The photos are not good quality and have value probably only to myself but I couldn’t resist uploading them as a concert memory.

I really can’t remember many details from this concert. The meaning and value for the memory comes partly from so many incredible and beautiful things happened after this first concert experience. However, I will never forget how amazed I was by the energy and by his voice at a live situation, how joyful everything was with flowers, candles, balloons and confetti and how happy I was finally see/hear the Love Today intro (my favorite part of the concert). I knew immediately I would be back.

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For some reason I haven’t earlier blogged about the Parc des Princes show in Paris 2008. Partly because it was an arena/stadium show and even I had a great seat I was so far away I don’t have much material to share. Partly because it was only my second Mika show – I was still a newbie at live gigs – and the event was such a massive emotional experience it’s not even possible to describe or explain it all.

The show – designed together with stage and costume designer Es Devlin – was literally a circus. It was so colorful and full of details it almost caused a sensory overload. It must be one of the most important moments of Mika’s career and I’m grateful I saw it. At the same time wish I could see it all again, now with my current experience and point of view to be able to register and remember every detail and to see the whole event from a different perspective.

My first thought would be how huge and important it is! Big on any scale and for any artist. I would think how special it is for Mika to make his childhood dreams come true (by creating a real circus) and I would wonder how many people and working hours are needed to prepare a concert that big/what kind of a financial risk the event must be. I would take hundreds of pictures and document every single detail.

That time all I could think was myself and that I needed a Mika concert. I felt I hadn’t slept for 8 years. I needed energy and I needed something to blow my mind in a legal, somehow healthy way. My children were still very young and I couldn’t travel on my own so I took my whole family (including my sister in law) and spent a week in Paris to be able to see the show. It was wonderful! It worked exactly as I had hoped and kept me happy for months.

I don’t think arenas are ideal for any artist, they are more suitable for bands, imo. The stage was giant and Mika was running most of the time. I had a seat and I was a bit jealous watching people partying in front of stage. The zoom in my camera was non-existent so I was super jealous watching professional photographers walking around the venue as a group with all their equipments (some of them had even trolleys!). Why can’t I walk around and use a giant zoom like they do?! “Because they are allowed to and you are not, you are supposed to be in the audience” (my husband said and gently pushed me back to my seat). My view was actually really good. I loved watching the show elements brought into the crowd, I loved watching the massive audience.

It was a magical night and a lovely week in Paris. A beautiful start for my later “Mika in France” experiences. A newspaper article and a couple of my old videos below. To tell the truth I don’t know what the article says, I just happened to see it in a cafe. After 6 years and dozens of shows in France I (sadly) still don’t speak French. Love Today was probably the best part of the show (be sure to watch the whole video with the giant dragon). Just can’t get enough is one of Mika’s rare covers.

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I was hesitating a bit before traveling to Portugal (Festa das Lata 10/2010) because it’s not the easiest destination to travel from Finland (expensive flights) and this was not a regular gig but a festival. I didn’t know any local fans and Portugal is not a familiar place for me, but I still decided to go in the end. I really wanted to see this one. It was the last possible gig for me before a long break, it felt important to travel and I was very happy I did it.

It was a great gig. There were some drunken students (because it was a kind of student party/festival) and Mika performed very, very late. I didn’t mind. I was so happy to see him on stage. He must have been a bit tired but he did well. I met some old MFC friends and had a lot of fun! The vids below are Happy Ending and Rain (2:36, 2:43)

This is the last concert memory I need to post, because the Coimbra gig was the last concert I saw before the Kettner’s Magic Number gig (I will label new concert posts as “gig reviews”). Waiting feels unbearable, I hope there will be more soon.

Happy Ending:

Rain:

People often want to make clear that they travel around the world to see Mika concerts only to meet their friends or/and that they would have travelled to those destinations in any case for holidays. Usually I don’t bother to explain myself. I love seeing these concerts and I’m an adult, so I can use my time and money for this if I like (and I do like). Still, seeing fantastic places/some of my favorite cities, meeting friends and local people and having an opportunity to watch around and observe things in different countries, yes, it’s definitely a bonus! Italian sun set in the first pic, so pretty!!

The Cattolica gig in Italy in August 2010 was one of the most entertaining concerts I’ve seen. So much fun!! Mika was in his funny and relaxed mood and telling random jokes. After only a few words in the beginning of the gig Nerys (who was next to me) and I looked each other: This is going to be a good one!!!! (I know, I know!!). A few words can tell so much. I love his random silly mode, it’s like an order to the audience to relax and enjoy. Music should not be taken too seriously, life should not be taken too seriously. Smiling, laughing, enjoying the music, having fun. Good things.

The gig was day after Mika’s birthday, and Italian fans wanted to give him a cake and sing Happy Birthday. I was so pleased they generously let us foreigners to take part of the surprise. It’s always good to be a part of the group and not an outsider. To tell the truth, I’m not always so keen on different surprise projects. Too often they turn out to be too competitive (you know what I mean, fans do things to get his time and attention). Sometimes I even find these projects a bit disturbing (Happy Ending is one of my favorite songs, I want to be able to concentrate on listening to it properly, without being worried what’s happening in the audience). Sometimes these surprises are a great success (like simple bubbles in Tallinn, loved it) and in Cattolica everything felt really appropriate. After all, it was his birthday just day before the gig! It was fun – cake, flowers, confetti, balloons!! See the vid below both giving the cake and eating it.

Birthday surprise and Happy Ending:

Eating the cake: