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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.