A short update about the second night for the Voice France third round. Thursday night was naturally more boring than Tuesday because Mika had already chosen his team and we saw Florent Pagny and Matt Pokora choosing theirs and their style is different and not as interesting as Mika’s (a bit biased saying that of course, lol!).

Mika was chilled and his part was only to shortly comment every performance and otherwise there was not much to focus on except wondering what he was doing with his little notebook. He kept sending notes to the other coaches, maybe for his own amusement. I paid too much attention to different sounds myself and it made me feel uncomfortable throughout the night. Many of the contestants have the kind of voice that makes me shudder and just like on Tuesday, some songs were poorly chosen which added the effect.

Again, it was quite easy to guess which contestant is staying in the competition and which two are out so it looked a bit silly that the three other coaches many times chose different favorites even the performances were not that good and it gave the impression the production wanted to make the level look better than it actually was (what makes sense from their point of view of course).

However, I have no idea how the system works for real and if the production guides the coaches in these situations or not. Also, if the coaches make their own decisions, whether they plan them beforehand or in that particular moment after seeing every performance. Of course the coaches are professionals and can better see the potential in young people (than an average person in the audience) and I assume they know some background information from behind the scenes the audience can’t know.

Being a good singer is not enough for talent shows unless the talent is something absolutely spectacular. The contestants need to be interesting and have personality and a good story behind them the audience to remember them well. After the recordings on Tuesday and Thursday I can hardly remember everyone from Mika’s team and only one or two from the other teams. I can remember two boys from Matt Pokora’s team on Thursday simply because young male contestants are stereotypical talent show material and have always their own target groups.

This year Mika has a very interesting contestant who can go far and if all goes well win and I would like to see his team winning this season. I wonder if he is doing another season after this. The Voice can’t give him much challenge at this point – how could it – and I’ve always thought this man lives for new challenges. The rumors tell they pay him well though and maybe it’s all becoming a nice routine with familiar people. We will see, I’m only speculating here.

Live shows for this season will be later this spring. I really enjoyed spending a few days in France and would love to do that even more. A huge thank you to the French girls and everyone else I met during the recordings for your company, help, chatting, translating and trying to teach me French (not much progress there I’m afraid). Hope to see you all soon xxx

I’m doing a couple of quick posts to describe my trip to The Voice France third round recordings in Paris. I always have some mixed feelings about spending this much money and time for a television show just to see Mika’s profile and to hear him talking in French language. This is not his own show. He doesn’t usually sing during recordings at all and we had already seen the group performance from the coaches for this season. Also, the contestants are not that kind of style I would listen to at home without this show.

It still felt important to travel and see him especially now when we possibly have only rare other events to look forward to this year (in case he is planning a small break to focus on his new music). It’s comforting to see him at recordings and with translations I can quite well follow what’s happening. My usual translator Melyssa couldn’t be in Paris for the third round (and I missed her!) but I was luckily sitting next to Ani who kept me updated during the night, a huge thank you to her for that.

The first night (Tuesday) was reserved for Zazie’s and Mika’s teams and the other coaches only gave their opinions after every performance, not pushing their words too much so both Zazie and Mika could focus on making their own decisions which was especially hard for Zazie. She doesn’t want to sent people out, it seems she would like to keep them all and fortunately on Tuesday the others were helping her a bit with this issue saving some of her contestants and that definitely made her happy.

The idea of the third round is to group the contestants in groups of three and hear them all performing one song chosen by themselves. The coach for the team decides which contestant continues to the live recordings and which two are out of the competition. Every coach can “steal” one contestant from other teams to their own teams (so the stolen contestant is not out but just changing his/her team). Many of the songs chosen were not best possible at all and some contestants could have done better if the songs had been more suitable. The level was not really high and it was easy to guess who will continue and who is sent out even the groups were well and logically done grouping similar types together.

I’ve had two favorites in Mika’s team and I hoped in advance that they both can make it to the live shows. My first favorite is a contestant who seems both very strong and very vulnerable and sensitive (as a person) at the same time. I liked him since the beginning and was happy he chose Mika because I know Mika can be sensitive and caring and give the contestant good and careful guidance. However, the performance for the third round was nervous and not as good as the auditioning and I was worried Mika might choose not to keep this contestant in his team. He did keep him though and I loved him for that and felt a bit ashamed I didn’t trust him in this decision. It was all emotional and a bit teary and will cause a lot of emotions in the television audience as well, I’m sure people will like the contestant.

My other favorite in Mika’s team has been a colorful group I like a lot because all three in the group seem very different as personalities but after performing together for a long time have grown together and give a good impression as a group. The group seems ready and experienced and something that could be successful if they just got visibility and some help to sharpen their style. They did well during the third round and continue to live shows and after seeing all these contestants again these two (the individual contestant and the group) in Mika’s team were the ones I can remember best even Zazie has some strong contestants as well.

The first of these two nights was entertaining to watch. I felt a bit tired after taking an early flight in the morning and of course I do wish I could understand Mika’s commenting. I regret and have lately much regretted not learning French. Thanks to my friends I can follow recordings quite well despite of the language and the issue hasn’t bothered me too much. Still, the truth is if I can’t understand him when he shares his thoughts I can learn to know him only through his music and it’s the most important but not the same as understanding everything.

I didn’t have a possibility to wish Mika happy new year in Florence and hoped to do that in Paris but naturally he had such a crowd around him that it wasn’t possible. However, he saw my face from distance behind the crowd and said a quick hello and happy new year which was nice and kind of made my wish to came true. Thursday night can be more boring for Mika fans because his team is already done but I will write a short update after that one too. X

A small report about The Voice France blind auditions from Thursday to Sunday last week. Every audition day was different from each other and I’m very glad I did them all even the recordings were not equally entertaining. It was interesting to see all the talents and final teams and get a bigger picture of everything. Mika was naturally very tired (as said earlier, his schedules are insane) and his moods went from trying really hard to can’t bother to pretend anything and from being funny and witty to even a bit biting and then simply just staring and blinking (it looked his contact lenses hurt his tired eyes) and then finally happily giggling when his team was almost full and then full and the work done.

Mika looked more tired than the other coaches and to be honest his fans looked more tired than the other fans, our lives are synchronized that way. But we all made it and he did very well with his team which is now genuinely interesting and colorful and he got two most interesting talents of all the contestants (more than hundred contestants auditioned). We can’t be sure one of these two will win – both Zazie and Florent got some very good talents as well – but Mika definitely got the two I hoped most for his team.

Thursday was better quality talent wise and much more entertaining than the previous audition a couple of weeks ago. The coaches were maybe in a better mood or simply made more effort to be more entertaining and the night was full of funny details. Mika was extremely lucky with the contestants and his team started to fill so quickly he might have even wished he hadn’t pushed the button as many times as he did. He managed to get in his team probably the most interesting talent in the whole competition, it will be great to see how everything turns out. It will be important to make careful decisions and I’m curious to see what he ends up doing.

The coach team is very good in my opinion. I’ve always liked Florent Pagny, he is very pleasant in an adult, warm way. His fans are very kind and calm ladies and it feels natural to think both the artist and his fans are alike (otherwise they wouldn’t have stayed around him for so long). Zazie is funny in a smart, clever way. I can’t understand the language (which is a shame as I’ve heard she is extremely good with words) but still get this impression just from her gestures. Matt Pokora is the latest addition in the team and I don’t yet know how to describe him. Not that I have anything bad to say, he makes effort to be energetic and seems to be a nice guy. I just can’t catch anything about him and can’t yet remember his team as well as the other teams.

Friday wasn’t nearly as entertaining as Thursday because talents were not as good quality and none of the coaches except Matt Pokora made much effort to be funny. He kept trying to impress the talents and gave a red heart to a talent he wanted to his team (jokingly made from the cover of his notes) and even recognized one talent because had seen him on Youtube but every time he seemed to bond with the contestant they still chose Mika which was slightly awkward. The coaches did their song together in the beginning of every recording day and it was really the best part of the show (along with Mika doing an audition one night, almost forgot to mention it!). All other guests were somehow related to The Voice (contestants from previous years) and not familiar to me but still entertaining as performances.

Saturday was a long day and we spent inside the studio building more than 12 hours all waiting included. However, the contestants were better quality than on Friday and the coaches used all their experience and professional ability to get through the long day and to add good talents in their teams. In the end of the recording our part of the audience looked a bit restless but the production didn’t say anything and I guess they could understand how long the audience had been there and how tiring it was. We saw some very touching moments during the day and because of tiredness every emotion felt a bit stronger than usually. I had tears in my eyes several times!

Mika fans were very international both on Friday and Saturday and in addition to the French fans (and me from Finland) there were also a strong representation from Italy and fans from Belgium, Germany, Spain, Bulgaria and China. It was really nice to spend time together and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who already missed being at gigs and was grateful we have recordings like this to gather together between tours. The French group made me feel incredibly welcome, I can’t thank them enough. Solange took care of the practical side (like tickets) and Melyssa made sure I always had my place next to her and patiently translated me every single recording (everything!). Isa (from Belgium) had a car and she took me back to my hotel every night so I didn’t have to walk alone which always makes me a bit afraid. A huge thank you to the girls and the whole group!

Then it was time for the last recording day Sunday and the night turned out to be the funniest of all four nights! The coached had to fill their teams so they seriously had to compete for every talent and it made them use all their charm. Mika was very sweet and smiling and he got himself a very colorful and interesting singing group and we all screamed when the group (after being on stage for a long time) finally chose him. Definitely my second favorite in the whole competition! Then all the teams were finally full and the last contestant didn’t really have a proper chance even his performance was good and it was sad but that’s how the system works. That’s all for now, the season continues in December with battles!

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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

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I chose the photo above because it reminds me how fantastic the stage and the whole setting looks. The whole summer tour has been even better than I ever expected and I feel so much love and only want to express how wonderful everything both sounds and looks.

Despite of the busy tour schedule Mika’s voice is in a very good condition. He sounds beautiful and gives no signs of tiredness at all. The sound works really well at the moment, we have seen some amazing venues and I could write a whole post just to describe the heaven stage which has been evolving a lot since the original Heaven Tour, with a few big elements it looks colorful yet simple enough.

Summer tours like this are not for everyone. July is hot and queuing in the burning sun is not easy at all. Schedules are busy and crowds big and at some events it’s necessary to stand hours or the whole day watching other artists while waiting for Mika. For me it’s still all a part of my usual summer program and I love it and have really enjoyed this tour first in Italy and then in France.

Italy is my favorite summer holiday area and visiting places like Molfetta, Palermo, Perugia and Padova and spending time with my Mika friends at events like Perugia Jazz Festival was definitely the best possible way to start my holidays. I generally love gigs in France. Mika is close with the country, the atmosphere is always special and it gives me a warm feeling to meet the local fans. I know well and admire their loyalty and group spirit and connect them to many of my concert memories since the early days. It was so wonderful to see all the familiar faces in La Rochelle, Nimes, Carcassonne and Sollies Pont!

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The festival in Sollies Pont started with a supporting act with a very peculiar, almost painful style which is typical for France but not my cup of tea at all. I loved it how beautiful the chateau behind the stage looked before setting up the backgrounds and took a photo of the pink color that reminded me of the color of The Grand Hotel Budapest. So pretty!

Mika started with No Place In Heaven which one of my favorites on the album, makes me happy to have it back on the setlist again. It’s not for the biggest festival crowds because people need to focus for it but worked still fine in Sollies Pont. It’s one of the best Mika songs and I know that people who properly know his music love the song. I adore this simple version!!!! See a video below.

I don’t know who takes care of the lights but the stage looks fabulous. I don’t have many good pics of the full stage but it does look amazing and I tried to film a couple of videos to show it. I love it how dreamy the lights looks in the beginning of Good Guys making the atmosphere more gentle. During the best parts of Happy Ending the whole stage is glowing in different shades and the Heaven sign sparkles like pointing out this is it. This is heaven. It looks magical. There are so many details like a short rainbow glimpse also in Billy Brown and I pay a lot of attention to them while watching the show.

I loved the special ending in Relax (below), so beautiful! Maybe only a coincidence but the blue, white and red scene looked suitable. I don’t speak French but I could recognize parts of the speech Mika did already in Nimes. Happy Ending was absolutely breath-taking. It’s not as emotional or touching as Relax or Last Party but it’s kind of his signature and definitely impressive every single time and makes me always think of how extremely lucky I am to hear it live (also vid below). I wish I had a video of Last Party to show the foggy lights but it’s my most important moment of the show and I have a rule not to disturb it by holding or focusing on my camera. Boum Boum Boum was so funny, make sure to watch the whole clip.

This was the last concert of the tour in France and I was aware Mika mentioned it several times but tried to ignore the thought. I can’t handle endings, they make me too sad. I’ve been traveling the past 18 months. I perfectly know how lucky I am being able to do this and I’m grateful for every single concert I’ve seen so far. Also, I know Mika needs a break to do new music and I know both my resources and my family’s patience are limited so a break is not a bad idea and I’m even kind of looking forward to it. Still, it’s always hard to know that something is ending and that I can’t be sure what will happen in the future… Makes me cry a little but just thinking of it.

My husband and I had a long drive after the show and he would have preferred to leave immediately but was kind and waited so I could say good bye to everyone. In the car I fell asleep but he woke me up to see three foxes walking on the side of the road. They all looked cute, young and a bit silly. Traveling to Finland tomorrow and then back to Italy for a few more gigs. Some pictures below.

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The French part of the summer festival tour is over and I’m still excited about it and have a lot to say but will describe the Carcassone gig only shortly in this quick update and leave the rest of the thoughts to write a longer report about Festival de Chateaou as is was the last one.

The gig in Carcassonne was seated and happened in a medieval village so it was special just as a setting and I was naturally looking forward it. The venue was even smaller than I had dared to hope for. My numbered ticket was on the right side of the long first row. It was very side so I took a moment to decide if I want to sit there or use a seat next to my husband quite middle in the audience where I could see the whole stage. I decided to go front and was really happy about my decision later.

The stage was a half circle so I could see much better than I had thought. My angle was a bit different than usually (I could see also a part of the audience) and I had no one sitting in front of me. The night was simply lovely and I enjoyed every moment! The venue wasn’t spectacular like the arena in Nimes and the energy level was clearly lower but the atmosphere was still good and the audience enthusiastic for sure so the over all vibe was joyful and positive during the whole night. Mika sounded beautiful and I could hear the sound well. The show started with No Place In Heaven which is now one of my very favorite songs (loved how simple it was!).

The French fans had prepared a fan action with white and red papers and I was eagerly waiting with them if the audience will participate or not. In the end of the first song everyone in the audience hold the papers and the result was exactly as planned and the crowd made a white flag with a red heart and a white letter M inside the heart. Mika started Big Girl without even looking the audience but the papers stayed up and suddenly he saw the pattern and smiled and obviously loved the surprise! The best result comes always from simple ideas. Well done from the fans involved. Eventually the audience danced the whole Big Girl holding their papers.

The set list was different compared to Nimes and I very much appreciated that and enjoyed hearing My Intepretation, Blue Eyes and Origin all after a little break. During Boum Boum Boum Mika asked three girls to join him on stage and during Underwater he had a special little girl as a guest. His fans know to expect small additions like this but the most of the audience doesn’t and people seem always surprised and impressed seeing people from the audience involved.

I was next to Melyssa and as Carcassone was her last gig of the tour she had a little poster saying “thank you” that she showed to Mika. He noticed the poster and smiled and during Underwater stopped in front of us for a moment and suddenly everything became absolutely magical and so intimate and special despite of the big crowd. Rare things in the world are as amazing as Mika suddenly singing Underwater (or any song for that matter) directly in front of you. I was lucky only because I happened to stand next to Melyssa and her poster but still loved this special turn and will remember this show for it.

Our location was very lucky with confetti as well… So much confetti rain! We jumped – well almost swam – in the confetti! I love the last colorful photo even it’s taken from a side and you can’t even see Mika. I had a lovely time in Carcassonne. Thanks everyone I met and thanks to the girls for organizing such a successful fan action! xx

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It’s hard to describe the special atmosphere in Nimes the other night. The timing was delicate. I knew in advance some fans were afraid to come to see the concert after horrible, violent things had happened in Nice so near to their homes just day before and it must have been a challenge for Mika as well to be sensitive, serious and compassionate in the tragic situation and at the same time do an energetic, cheerful show (because it was still his job and because music and joy were exactly what people needed that moment).

The venue security told us during the day that many other events in Nimes were cancelled so all the police forces could be focused around the festival. We couldn’t see armed forces (like in Paris after the hits) so it wasn’t scary that way but seeing security standing high on the top of the arena like statues against the sky made us understand how serious this all is. It might have been their usual practice but I’m sure everyone at the venue was aware their presence was needed also for other reasons than preventing kids to climb on the top.

The audience was united since the first moments. People joined the Mexican wave again and again and once a random guy in the audience started clapping and showing dance movements the whole audience followed him which was extremely funny and anticipated a great show. So different compared to the restless, disoriented audience in La Rochelle, I couldn’t wait the show to start.

Mika opened differently than he usually does coming on stage alone and giving a small speech and asking people to join a moment of silence to show respect for the victims. I couldn’t understand his words but I could understand his tone and people’s reactions and it all seemed right, appropriate and correctly done. People were respectful, a few kept their mobiles up but at least the most of the audience understood to be quiet, the moment was very serious and some fans near me were crying. After that it was time for music and No Place In Heaven was definitely the best possible and gentle enough choice to start with.

And it was absolutely perfectly done. I’ve waited for a long time to hear No Place In Heaven in the way I have had in my mind and this was it. I uploaded a video below and it doesn’t do justice the touching beautiful vibe but I’m still happy I have it to watch and remember later.

The whole gig was as close to my personal heaven as a concert can be. The setlist was basic, he didn’t add much extra and even skipped Good Wife and Last Party (which I both find established songs on the setlist). However, everything that was done was done in a stunning way. Concerts like this are the rare things in the world that give me pure happiness and only that. His voice was absolutely beautiful. The sound was extremely pleasant, very clear and not too loud. This was my first time at Arenes des Nimes and I was amazed by the venue, the acoustics was wonderful. I visited the arena day before to take photos and saw the view is great from every seat (of course to see from close distance you needed to be in the standing area).

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The audience was so ready for Mika that the mutual energy was there since the beginning. No photographers to disturb the gig this time. Just Mika and the audience. The band was on the background, he was totally the star. It was like no one else was on stage and it’s not just me saying or thinking like this, that was also the first comment from my husband who had a seat opposite of the stage at the back of the venue. You couldn’t see anyone or anything else except Mika, he took all the attention with his energy and singing. He did the usual set list Boum Boum Boum included (see it below). EMD was done in the middle of the audience which was not as effective as usually because it took a half of the song to locate him but offered a great moment for people further away and was impressive just as a gesture (again a comment from my husband).

Happy Ending was magical and for me the highlight of the whole concert. It’s such an honor to see Mika singing Happy Ending at the venue like that, don’t know how anyone could ask anything more. I often think he shouldn’t do the a cappella ending every time. It’s much more impressive done in special, intimate situations to make them even more special. However, with that wonderful acoustics the Arenes des Nimes was definitely the right place to do it. My husband gave a special mention to Staring At The Sun, not because of the balloons but the song. I’m quite surprised about that, I never thought it’s that much for his manly taste (but I do like the live version as well). And not sure if many fans agree with me but I’m somehow happy to have Billy Brown back. It’s something safe and familiar and goes well with big audiences.

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A lot of special attention and love was given to French fans and France and it was heartwarming and both well deserved and needed at these difficult times. He took a lot of contact with the audience in general and during Rain looked at me and imitated my hand moves and I could suddenly remember how charming he can be when he does that. He is so incredibly charming. I do realize he it, should be brain-dead not to. The special French ending was absolutely lovely (again, see the vid below). No Last Party after that. My mind said that was the right decision for the evening but my body and senses were so prepared for the song that I felt momentarily a bit disappointed. Then the usual final party with Love Today and confetti rain. Such special atmosphere during the whole night. The hearts Mika and the band gave to the audience before leaving were truly deserved.

I had a ticket to Barolo but decided to spend the day in France with my family gathering energy for two more French festivals and thought I would be miserable to miss the gig. Actually this time I was happy to stay in the Nimes vibes one more day. As a fan I can do it. For Mika it’s always moving to the next one and the old memories are mixed with new ones. Do you think he can remember the best moments (whatever they are for him) later? Just wondering. It was lovely to see everyone in Nimes. Soon again. xxx

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My trip to La Rochelle was colorful to say the least. Nothing went according to the plan but I still had a good time. Saskia and I had an early flight from Venice to Paris and after that missed our train from Paris to La Rochelle. She wanted to use time to consider options. I didn’t want to take any risk to miss the gig in La Rochelle so I run to the track for a train to Poitiers (with a connection to La Rochelle), saw a closed gate (they close it 2 minutes before trains leave), just opened it and run to the train only seconds before it left. I managed to buy a ticket and sent Saskia an update. She would be in La Rochelle a bit later.

I arrived La Rochelle, checked in my hotel and decided to join the queue. People had told La Rochelle is a lovely place but the festival area was confusing. Eventually I saw the gates and joined the crowd. The gates were opened and I got in to find out there’s another waiting due to sound checks and the situation looked messy. The crowd was separated in two parts (the other part was naturally let in before our crowd) and everyone run in trying to get as good spot as possible. I was very lucky and got a great spot near the end of the catwalk and saw both the big stage and catwalk quite well. I could feel a small sharp pain in my ankle while running but didn’t give it much thought and just looked forward to the gig,

Soon it was obvious I had somehow hurt my ankle. It was painful, hot and swollen and I couldn’t put much weight on it. However, there was no way I would waste a spot like that and go to the medical tent for ice. I would definitely see the gig and I was sure it was nothing serious (I’ve hurt my ankle once before so it’s probably just a bit vulnerable for accidents like this) and luckily I had a barrier to lean on while waiting. I was alone but a group of French fans was very near me so I could see also some familiar faces.

The venue was packed with people and the festival camera filmed the audience between the performances showing people on two big screens. Suddenly I got a Facebook message from Sasha who I had met when we were on stage with Mika in Nice a few years ago asking if I can still remember him and telling he saw me on the screen. Of course I did and turned out he was just a few rows behind me and we had a small chat after the show. Being on stage with Mika is probably the coolest way ever to meet new people. I love it that Mika has given these opportunities to his fans and even I have a bad stage fear and my mind goes almost blank during the moments on stage I will still always remember the feeling and the experience and everything that happened that day.

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The evening started with the first artist called Broken Back (a singer with a drummer on stage) and I don’t usually listen to music like that but I still liked it and found it entertaining. The audience generally liked him and clapped and cheered nicely during the whole performance. Then it was time for Marina Kay who I had seen once before. She is very pretty and can sing well but her music is a bit boring and empty and aimed for a younger audience. It was sweet to watch her with her very young fans, she gave them smiles and waves and other little gestures making them all extremely happy. The second female artist Louane was much more interesting and I loved her style and would have probably enjoyed her performance a lot if my ankle hadn’t felt so painful. We had already stood for hours and I couldn’t wait to see Mika. There was still a short performance while building the stage for him and then he was finally in front of us.

Mika started with No Place In Heaven. The song is definitely on my top 5 list and I personally absolutely love it but the audience in La Rochelle didn’t seem to have enough patience for it and had probably expected something more energetic. I could hear Max too loudly during the song and it didn’t make any sense so my first thought was that something is wrong and Mika is not well but luckily that was not the case and after NPIH the show continued in a normal way and sounded good. Big Girl and Talk About You  still didn’t make the audience go wild and even songs like Grace Kelly and Good Wife seemed a bit like hard work. I kept hoping for balloons and finally it was time for Staring At The Sun and the giant balloons woke the audience up.

Never underestimate the power of king size balloons! Festivals can be very challenging crowd wise. The audience is massive and only a part of it is there for Mika. In France most people know him and many likes him but people still come to festivals also for other reasons – the event itself, for the whole line up or even for other artists – and need a trigger to party along his music and to listen to how good he really is. Maybe it was only my personal experience but I felt the latter part of the show was more energetic than the beginning and that it took a while for people to warm up (and when it happened Mika looked genuinely pleased with the crowd and his performing was more relaxed).

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I could feel the in pain in my ankle even during the show but it didn’t bother me and at times I totally forgot it was there at all. Usually my gig experience is a combination of enjoying the music and observing the show and details and everything that happens on stage. Sometimes I purely enjoy the music, that’s what happened in Padova. It was so lovely to just feel the music and enjoy the pleasure and I didn’t think anything else than the moment and how much I deserved it (and even if I didn’t, I could do something good as a person in the near future to pay for it).

In La Rochelle I was more focused on observing, I had a view over the whole stage which offered a rare possibility to really focus on lights and watching the stage setting and I paid a lot of attention to the audience because it was restless and so different than the usual Mika audience. My personal favorites were Boum Boum Boum, Underwater (always special with a big audience!) and Last Party with colorful rainbow lights that make me think of Freddie Mercury. I generally enjoyed watching the light show as I can’t often see it this well. Good Guys feels better gig after gig and Rain is back in my favorites. I couldn’t understand French chatting but the small French song in the end was really pretty.

After the gig I went to the medical tent and asked for ice. People working there were really nice and helpful, put ice on my ankle and eventually helped us to find a bike taxi because we couldn’t find a normal one. The driver saw our hesitating faces and gave us a hilarious drive around the city before taking us to our hotel. We couldn’t stop laughing and I will add the bike to the list of unique vehicles I’ve used after Mika shows (along with planes, police cars and burning trains). A few pics and a vid below.

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The gig in Grenoble was rescheduled so the venue and the area around it near foggy mountains were familiar to me, I was there a few months ago. At the venue I met French, Italian and Korean fans and sweet Melina and her mother from Greece. I already met them twice around the cancelled/rescheduled Marseille gig. Melina is only 14 yo and I promised to keep her company while waiting and during the gig.

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The girls from Xylaroo opened and the audience seemed to really like them. Shortly after that it was time for Mika. I posted a quick update and some pics here. I didn’t take many photos so a few words about the current setlist. There are small variations of course, it’s not similar every night.

He starts with Big Girl (several times in row already) which a basic choice to start with. There are more interesting options but if Big Girl needs to be on the setlist it can be in the beginning as well. When the curtain went down Mika took a sheet covering the throne and threw it over himself, Max and Tristan and continued teasing the band throughout the gig. I almost felt sorry for them, lol! They really need to be prepared for anything if he is in the mood to use them during the show.

He continued with Talk About You and the finger sign above the caravan came visible and he did the same gesture with his own fingers and the audience took the song well as always. The new detail in the end and the band doing a tiny dance together is very entertaining! Good Wife next. It’s one the best songs on the album and I would be disappointed if couldn’t hear it.

Grace Kelly has had a little face lift with a new chatty intro and confetti coming from the piano and I absolutely love the confetti. I’m childish that way, my life needs some confetti rain. There can’t be too much confetti. I want a lot of it as multicolor as possible and preferably every time when it’s appropriate if the venue doesn’t forbid it (that must sometimes happen, it’s such a mess).

I like hearing Rain but wouldn’t mind if it was something else. Origin is a must, goes without saying. Boum Boum Boum is my big favorite, I want to hear it everywhere, no matter what the country. I don’t care the joking part, I just want the song and especially the intro as long as possible. Lollipop is done with the band. In Grenoble he told the story in English (maybe the band to understand it) and I enjoyed hearing it even it didn’t make any sense.

The new version of Relax is beautiful and very much enjoyed it in Grenoble! He is changing his old songs it a little bit all the time. Staring At The Sun was done in the back of the venue again. People in the standing area almost panicked a little, it’s difficult to see where he goes. It’s a nice gesture to people sitting far way of course. First I couldn’t locate him at all so I didn’t pay so much attention to the song.

Good guy is a lovely and important song. Underwater is one of my personal favorites, love it every time. Lights aimed to the audience disturbed in Grenoble badly, I almost hoped the song to be over simply because the lights were too much.

The audience had Merci signs to show in the beginning of the Happing Ending (prepared by some French fans) and Mika reacted in a very sweet way and showed he appreciated the gesture. A cappella part in the end of Happy Ending is a bit tricky. It’s amazing of course but would be even more precious if it didn’t happen every time. I don’t know how to put it, I don’t want to sound like I complain hearing such a wonderful detail, it’s naturally one of the biggest highlights of the show.

EMD and WAG were once again like energy explosions. At some previous gigs Mika asked a fan on stage during EMD and I liked seeing him choosing guys who were dancing and trying to catch his attention instead of young girls who are always a majority, makes it more interesting to the audience (sorry girls!).

Last Party is the most important part of the show for me, the most beautiful and the most impressive song on the setlist. I love love love it and pray every gig he doesn’t add any extra tricks in it. Love Today makes a carnival style ending. The band is playing like their lives were depending on it, even Curtis, it’s huge. In Grenoble Mika teased Tristan with a soft animal behind his back and he must have been expecting silly things to happen, he hardly blinked his eyes. Mika really chatted and joked throughout the gig more than usually, maybe he wanted to save his voice and energy a bit or just felt like doing it.

That’s almost the setlist, can’t remember the exact order but will correct it later. No Promiseland, No Place In Heaven or Ordinary Man, would love to have any of them added. In Grenoble we heard Over My Shoulder as an extra song, absolutely love the song and this time Mika asked his friend Alex to join him. It was special to hear something different, cool that he asked and so cool that his friend agreed to come on stage even it seemed to be unplanned. The vid below. Thanks everyone I met in Grenoble, loved seeing familiar faces from Korea (please DM me the pics we took together after the show) and hope to see you all soon again!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Le Printemps de Bourges was the first festival for the new European tour and it was good to meet so many familiar people and to see Mika on stage again. We met as a group of fans at dinner the night before the festival and even I was tired after a long day of traveling I really enjoyed our relaxed evening together, thanks everyone!

I had lovely summery memories from my last visit in Bourges so I looked forward to the festival day. This year the weather was unpleasant and went annoyingly back and forth from cold rain to burning hot sun but that’s how rainbows are created (like Mika reminded in his tweet) and the night turned out to be as colorful and energetic as we could hope for.

The festival system was messy and included several gates and nervous waiting in big crowds before finally getting in to the festival tent. Everything looked unorganized but the security was nice and the area offered many different kinds of food (no toilets outside the tent though).

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The line up included two artists/groups before Mika. Unfortunately the first performance was totally ruined by a sound failure. I felt an enormous pain in my ears the moment the young singer called Marina Kaye started. The sound wasn’t just loud like usual in front, it was a disaster and several rows of people were covering their ears, some of them even crying and I had tears in my eyes as well.

I asked the security guy for ear plugs and he only shrugged but after a while saw that people are serious and went to look for some and brought as many as he could find. We all felt almost like vomiting and just waited the performance to end. So sorry for the artist. Such a shame her performance was ruined but it was not her fault and there was nothing she could do that moment.

The second act was an awesome group of three girls called L.E.J. The trio does mashups of famous songs both in French and English playing cello and drums. Their style was unique and very entertaining (and that way very suitable for festivals), they had good voices and even looked gorgeous so the whole audience loved them. I really enjoyed their performance. Check them out here or here if curious about their music.

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Then it was time for Mika and I really, really loved his performance even more than I had expected. Lovely, positive and relaxed vibe that totally made up a bit uncomfortable circumstances before the show and reminded once again why I like French gigs this much. There are already some great detailed reviews about this gig so I just list some of my favorite moments to remember them later.

I still love Porcelain in the beginning of the show. It’s powerful enough and I love starting the the gig focusing on Mika’s voice. Also, no matter how often I’ve heard it, no matter how many new songs I like Relax still triggers an enormous emotional feeling I can’t help, like a giant emotional wave. I will always love this song and it was a highlight also in Bourges.

Good Wife and Origin work in an opposite, care-free way and this time I enjoyed especially Origin (can’t even explain why, I need to look for some vids). Boum Boum Boum is still in my top 3 live songs. I don’t mind it’s in French – actually I like it how it sounds in French – and it’s not the joking part I like most. It’s the beautiful, gentle beginning and the warm, playful and smiling tone in the singing.

Good Guys has evolved a lot in my mind and I really enjoy the live version and the song was one of my favorites also in Bourges. I have no personal connection to the theme so I see the song from Mika’s point of view watching back to his youth and like to hear it performed in a very soft, gentle way. After hearing people telling their personal stories and how meaningful the song is to them I can now see it also from another, new angle and find it even more touching.

Last Party is one of my personal songs and becoming my very favorite and in Bourges it was even more special than it usually is. Suddenly there was only a spotlight in darkness,  we saw Mika as a figure and fog/smoke circling around him and it looked absolutely magical! I had never seen it like that and the performance was incredibly beautiful and sad and I could only stare and listen smiling and having tears in my eyes at the same time. I don’t usually like the foggy effect on stage, I much more prefer seeing everything clearly but this time it looked perfect.

And then it was time to end the show, too early as always, with Love Today and this time we couldn’t see the guitar playing figure behind the gate so I closed my eyes for a while and pretended the whole intro was played just for me and that no one else was there and it worked perfectly, lol! Then I opened my eyes and soon all my friends and everyone else inside the venue – even the calm looking father of the family next to me – were dancing, partying and having fun. Loved it!

The setlist was basic and some songs skipped to fit in the schedule but the show felt still even better than average because of the positive energy and atmosphere so I have high expectations for the new tour especially if there will be at least small changes in the setlist and maybe some new details (and hopefully a lot of surprises in Paris). My mobile was stolen on my way home from Bourges so my vids are gone but a few more pics below.

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Good, energetic and relaxed festival performance in Bourges last night. The weather was horrible and the festival itself not so well organized but I really loved watching Mika on stage and could well remember why I like to see him in France so often. I will soon write a proper report and describe the event and my favorite parts of the performance, meanwhile a few photos below. It was a pleasure to meet everyone again!

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Marseille is a dodgy place, rats running on streets and policemen just hanging around in big groups like waiting for something to happen. However, it has a lot of character, the architecture is absolutely beautiful and the place is shabby in that particular light way I really like. And there’s the sea! The port smells salty and the mistral goes inside your clothes but also blows away rainy clouds. We had a lovely sunny weather for Monday and I spent the afternoon walking and watching the sea and sky changing in different shades. So pretty!

There was a lot of pressure for the gig. The original date was cancelled the moment the doors were supposed to open so it was important the audience could feel it was worth it to come there twice. I was wondering myself if it’s worth it to travel all the way to Marseille (and queue the whole day) twice but I like seeing gigs in different parts of France and wanted to see the last show of the tour and decided to go. I traveled Marseille from Como with Solange who has an apartment near the venue. A huge thank you to her for hosting me and the other girls at her home!

Mika made a lot of effort for the show. Maybe not in his usual “let’s have fun on stage” way but more like “let’s wrap up this tour, we can do it” way and the result was good. He flirted with the audience a lot, even climbed to the balcony twice to kiss and personally sing and dance to a lady sitting near the stage (she certainly had the time of her life, see my GW vid) and almost jumped into the crowd directly in front of him. He was dancing, jumping, posing and having fun with Max and Tristan and generally showed his showman side in every possible way.

The front row was already almost full when we were let in but we somehow managed to get spots on the right side of the stage (I was next to the French fans and quickly checked that the Italians were on the left side). My one woman Tristan fan club was directly in front of him, I had generally a nice view and Mika did his best to do a good, energetic show. I still felt exhausted during the show, not because of lack of sleep but simply because I’ve been so busy lately.

Listening and watching the show brought my energy back but still happy that I decided to take some videos to be able to watch at least a part of the show again at home. I wish I had filmed every single song. I have really liked the set list for the tour and could hear almost all my album favorites also in Marseille (Last Party, No Place In Heaven, Good Wife, Boum Boum Boum, Promiseland). A few pics and videos below.