dsc03588

dsc03595

Finally back home from my trip to Italy and trying to collect my thoughts about these two amazing symphony concerts I just saw in Florence. I was traveling with my husband and we had a lovely short holiday, Florence is a beautiful city full of art and history and this was our first visit there. Also, I met many friends from all over Europe and Asia and we had a wonderful party together. Twice, actually. First MFC 10th anniversary party on Friday before the first concert (I will blog about that later) and then Opera di Firenze gala dinner on New Year’s Eve after the second concert (and will write a separate post about that one too).

Symphony concerts make me so emotional it’s always hard to find words, they are my very favorites of everything Mika does. The arrangements by Simon Leclerc are out of this world and I love being able to hear Mika’as voice so clearly and without too much distraction. I always enjoy the gig or festival atmosphere, being in the audience and experiencing music together with people I like but what makes me travel this much is the thought of seeing Mika on stage and hearing his singing. There’s nothing better than being able to totally focus on his performance and the symphony environment is the best way to do it. I love the drama and intensity he adds to the songs and how tangible every emotion becomes. I can feel transferred to another place – whatever it is in the song – and it’s the weirdest feeling ever, like everything in the story is suddenly happening for real.

I’ve seen all the six symphony concerts so far and noticed every concert is different, special and magical in their own way and I enjoy this fact they are all different. Just the venue itself has its own effect, the modern music halls in Montreal or Florence can’t compete with the breath-takingly beautiful old theatre we saw in Como, a piece of art itself. The Canadian audience was calm and that way exactly my taste but on the other hand the organization at the opera in Florence could control the audience surprisingly well. The crowd was restless and a bit distracting but at least people stayed still until the last song which, believe me, was well done and organized.

In addition to that there are technical elements. I couldn’t hear Max properly during the first Florence concert, not the way I heard during the second one and I enjoy hearing him well because I like his voice. Then there’s Ida and don’t even know where to start with her. I like Ida a lot and I missed her in Como and now really enjoyed having her back and think her pure voice added something special to many songs, not only to Happy Ending or OMS but to many other songs as well. Gives me a warm feeling to see Mika and Ida together on stage because these two know each other well and I feel Mika is better when he has loving people he knows and trusts around him on stage. To be honest I don’t know if it’s true or if I simply like Ida being there because I’m used to hear her there since the beginning and like stability like that myself. Either way, she sounded stunning, they had a lovely chemistry and I was happy she was in Florence.

Every symphony concert depends naturally mainly on Mika and how he feels and where he wants to focus on that particular night just like it is at regular gigs. If he is calm and careful he pays more attention to every nuance and I think he did that more on the second night compared to the first one even he still was very expressive as well. And I literally can’t breath when he performs like that, the experience is incredibly beautiful. I almost can’t believe I’m there to whitness it all and try very hard to catch everything and always wish my musical ear was better so I could remember every detail afterwards but of course I can’t. I can only remember how amazingly wonderful it was when it happened.

If he is excited to tell the story and focusing on the meaning of the song he adds theater in it and while doing it seems to suddenly get even more excited,  just for the childlike joy of performing and being on stage and it makes my heart burst. First there’s the emotion of the song. In seconds I’m transferred to another emotional state and to a new imaginary environment, always very intense. Then there’s the feeling of having so much love in my heart because I love watching him on stage. For some reason my mind automatically pictures him as a child. Dressing up in costumes, singing, acting, perfoming and wanting to tell a story after story forcing his family to gather around him to watch and to be his audience, like children do. The next moment I remember his family sitting in the current audience and I can’t help but smiling. Such a sweet and funny thought (said in a very loving, tender way).

The first Florence night was extremely emotional to me. I had looked forward to this night for a long time and had almost forgotten how well these symphony versions work, how real they feel. Mika was very theatrical since the beginning. He started with Toyboy and suddenly I was in a nursery, I had hardly time to understand the transition. I could see the colors and textures and all the toys, the toyboy, even needles in the eyes, and started to think how confusing it must be to grow up having all kind of feelings people have when they grow up and not always be sure if it’s right and acceptable. So touching. I never think anything like that at usual gigs, now it just happened. After Toyboy he changed quickly to Underwater and made it extremely dramatic, the water was everywhere and it was stormy and green. He has really found his acting side lately (maybe due to Casa Mika) and he made the song even more emotional and powerful than usual.

Boum Boum Boum was intense compared to the gentle gig version I got so used to last year, Rain emotional as well and then it was Last Party already and I tried really hard to keep up and jump from one song and emotion to another one, very quickly not to miss any of the songs, something that I’ve found difficult during the earlier symphony concerts but gradually learnt to do. I feel every emotion with my whole body and every muscle and it’s hard to relax and feel “nothing” between the songs and get ready to another one, there’s very little time. Last Party was as lovely as it always is and the version from second night somehow amazingly carefully done, beautiful and detailed. Next on the setlist Overrated and Any Other World (both wonderful symphony songs) and then Love You When I’m Drunk so cheerfully I had to wonder what is so funny in it, maybe an inside joke or a meaning I can’t find or fully understand.

Then Ordinary Man. I’ve learnt to love this song at gigs, it sounds different and more vulnerable without an orchestra and done in a smaller way. I’ve always thought the symphony version has a massive self-pity in it simply because it’s hard to see Mika ordinary with a formal symphony orchestra behind him. This man is not ordinary in the usual sense of the word, even the sweat he shakes over people after an energetic show is seen as a treat. He started the song and for some reason I decided to jump along with the whole self-pity thought and wow it worked well and the song was my biggest favorite during the first night and one of the favorites second night as well! I was immediately swelling in my misery. I could feel how dirty and disgusting my hair is in the darkest moments when I can’t bother taking a shower because no one really cares, when there’s no point to bother anything in this world. Loved it unexpectedly much, a wonderful experience. Then Heroes, one of the very best symphony songs so quickly over my pity party and focusing on it.

After the break Grace Kelly, partly sacrificed because it took time to adjust after the pause and I was grateful it was GK and not Over My Shoulder yet. I love OMS in every possible versions but especially symphonic and with Ida it’s even better than it usually is. It’s a dark but still calm and peaceful song and l loved how Ida’s voice gave it a tiny bit hope. Songs like this can take over my mood for a long time period and a little bit of hope makes everything easier to handle. Lovely Good Guys (so good with an orchestra) and then Make You Happy and surprisingly my another big favorite both nights but especially on the first night. He kept repeating the line and suddenly I started to believe him, it was very convincing. I had totally forgotten how much I like this song. Happy Ending is always stunning but on the second night it was extraordinary, maybe my all time favorite version. I’m sure time stopped for a tiny moment, it really did.

Origin was powerful with the big choir. I loved the choir in many other songs as well, it had an impressive effect and it added a lot of extra. Then Relax, one the most important songs for me personally and lovely, gentle and natural both nights but particularly on the second one. EMD and Love Today are not my orchestra favorites because the audience can’t stay still and there’s too much distraction (which always shifts my mood) but Stardust after them was still lovely of course, even the audience was too restless at the time. There was an extra song both nights, Grace Kelly on the first and Underwater on the second. The crowd was in chaos in front, everyone taking pics and vids but I didn’t care, just felt happy and thankful, overwhelmed and exhausted.

Such a wonderful, once in a lifetime experience for fans, these two concerts with a fun pre-party on Friday and a nicely organized dinner-party on Saturday. Stunning work from both Mika and Simon Leclerc and of course also from Ida, Max, the orchestra and everyone involved. More reports to come. Monta suukkoa.

Rome_stage

Cavea open air theater at Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome was one of the most interesting venues for the whole Italian tour. Formal and modern, not historical or other ways particularly beautiful or unique. However, the acoustics was wonderful and as long as the audience stayed seated the view seemed to be good from all parts of the venue. The stage was low with no barriers, one of those stages I would have loved to experience from a close distance. I couldn’t help but touching the soft red carpet every time I walked past the stage while waiting the gig to begin. So tempting.

We met as a big group of fans before the show at a restaurant next to the auditorium, chatted, took pics and had drinks, everyone dressed up a bit and looking forward to a civilized, adult event. It wasn’t going to be like that in reality of course. I knew it, the other fans knew it, Mika knew it and even the venue security knew and admitted it in advance. It’s not possible to do a normal, seated gig in Italy, the audience won’t allow it. I was disappointed to see the chaos at the stunning, historical venue in Taormina last summer, this time I was prepared and already knew to expect it.

No Place In Heaven in the beginning of the show was a kind of a countdown (see my vid here, it’s from far away but the sound is good like during the whole evening) and as soon as the first notes of Big Girl started the crowd run in front. The whole front area was filled in a few seconds. I did the same as all the other people in front of me and took a place in front row left side of the stage.

Mika saw me and Ani in the middle of the pushy crowd and laughed at us and stopped a few times to sing both sides of the stage so it was possible to see him. We saw a few songs quite well and then the security asked us all to move backwards which we naturally did. In two seconds our places were taken. Mika announced that it was okay for him that everyone stayed where they were and we were stuck in the crowd people in front and behind of us.

He can’t control the Italian audience at seated venues. He is too nice and is supposed to be that nice to people. The reason why I trust Florence will be a peaceful heaven is Simon Leclerc. Mika will sing and it will be stunningly beautiful and Simon Leclerc will take care of the rest. He has the power and the authority and he knows how to be strict. I have childlike faith in him. He won’t hesitate to silence those people. There will be no ugly posters, no screaming, clapping or even singing along. Those will be two magical nights.

Rome turned out to be a weird one. I felt like a stranger, squeezed between people I didn’t even know wearing a dress and heels, my feet and back hurting. Mika was a little bit like a stranger on stage as well. With that I mean he was there but I couldn’t see any details and it’s important for me to see him during the show. I used to think that during performances I can see only his stage personality. Now I’m starting to think those are the only moments I can see the real him. In the middle of his songs he is always familiar and someone I know so well so it feels important to also see him.

Another reason is language of course. I also used to think how much I want to see him happy (and be happy for that). Now when he talks a lot but I’m not in the group he is talking to and can’t understand his words I’m pleased to see any unfiltered emotions on his face. Happy, angry, whatever tells the story. It’s the only way to follow what’s happening on stage. He has learnt to use controlled expressions but during performances it’s a good time to let them go.

It was strange and weird but the sound was good and paid a lot of attention to it and then it was time for Over My Shoulder. And it was absolutely breathtaking. Suddenly I could recognize myself and I could recognize him and forgot my shoes and hurting feet and thought this is the reason I came to Rome. There’s always a good reason. Always. There’s a video below but it can only slightly express how amazing it was live. A stunning moment, one of the highlights of the whole tour.

villa_erba

I saw the last gig of the European tour in Cernobbio near Como on Tuesday and it gave me all kind of surreal, mixed feelings I can’t recall experiencing before. I felt a bit emotional already before the show. I was over-tired and felt myself lonely because even I love traveling in Italy, love Italian gigs and know many lovely people there (*waves to everyone*) I’m still inevitably a foreigner and can’t speak the language and for that reason often outside the information and discussions. Experiencing a gig in Italy means also experiencing the whole Italy in a smaller scale and it’s different and far away from what I’m used to at home.

Villa Erba is a beautiful venue. The situation at the gates was moderately calm which I knew to expect as the security told us they were the same group as in Milan (Fabrique) a year ago where everything worked perfectly. It’s not rocket science. These were ordinary looking guys, putting a few barriers and just standing there expecting people to be in order. It’s the attitude and behaving like professionals what makes the difference. If the security tells they couldn’t care less of course people will create a chaos.

The gig itself was as good quality as the whole tour before it. This was my favorite summer tour so far, a lot of effort was done for every show. I could see it and I appreciated it and always felt lucky to be there. There was spontaneity that comes from being in front of a live audience but everything behind it was well-thought and not random at all. The schedule was tight and tiredness obviously there but we couldn’t much hear it, not even in Cernobbio. We saw and heard a stunning performance every single night.

The setlist was a bit different again and we got two surprise songs, Step With Me and Blame It On The Girls, neither of them my biggest personal favorites but rare and I loved hearing them both. The atmosphere on stage was wild and the last gig of the tour seemed to give a reason to do some crazy things that hadn’t fit in other shows. During Talk About You Mika fluently changed to Sara Perche Ti Amo and then laughed so hard to the audience’s reaction. Max climbed on the piano and was given a microphone so he could sing there like it was something he had always wanted to do. The whole piano was opened for confetti so it could fill the stage and in the end of the show even Tristan was playing guitar standing on the drums.

The show seemed to be in every way a little bit extra cheerful but I still felt incredibly sad. This has been the longest touring period without breaks so far. I’ve invested a lot of time and love (and money but that’s the least meaningful of these three) and everything has become important and familiar and a big part of my life and given some kind of sense of belonging (not to even mention the excitement the traveling and concerts can give) and suddenly – almost without a warning – it’s over. I knew this tour will end but I didn’t prepare myself how final it feels and didn’t want to even think about it until I had to in Cernobbio.

Then I couldn’t postpone it anymore and at the beginning of Relax realized that I won’t hear it anymore and the sadness just came and I cried and felt a bit more miserable song after song. I’ve never thought these lyrics are so sad. When will I see you again. There’s no love no glory no happy ending. And sadness is such a personal feeling. It doesn’t go away or can’t be put aside just because someone else feels differently or has better reasons for their own sadness.

So I felt very emotional and wanted to carefully listen to Relax and the exact moment people behind me decided to negotiate with the security about another fan action and started to move giant cardboard figures over the front row and it felt wrong and disturbing. Too many and too complicated fan actions for one show, imo. I know people love planning them and I’m happy to take part most of the times but would prefer them as simple as possible and only one (or max. two) every show. I loved yellow stars and they would have been enough for this show. Expecting me to hold a flashing poster during Happy Ending or covering the whole audience using a fabric without a warning or without explaining it in advance is just too much.

The simpler the fan action the better it works. The rest of the audience behind us is there to focus on the show, not on any extra activities, and can’t or don’t want to participate if the action is too complicated. Also, a simple idea gives more wow effect when it really works like it did in Carcassonne with white and red papers or in Korea with beautiful blue paper planes. The timing should be carefully thought like in Cattolica last year when people had prepared different kind of water toys for Talk About You which fitted together with the mood of the song and even stage decorations and were suitable for Mika to play with while singing.

After the show it was time for a short after party the fan club had organized for 100 people and I didn’t have high expectations – simply because 100 people is a big crowd – but the moment turned out to be really touching and I want to thank you everyone who made it happen. I didn’t talk with Mika or probably even fit in the group pic but was happy just to be there and hear his long speech he did thanking his fans, including us and sharing his new plans. It was lovely because most of the time I feel everything I do is just for myself. And it should be enough (of course!) but felt still good he made it sound like it has meaning for him as well. He was very tired and left quickly but the band was still there and we could say good bye to also them which was a nice ending for the night and the whole tour.

Thank you everyone I met in Italy. I have still a few reports to write and many pics to share and will do that as soon as I can. Below my only video from Cernobbio (sorry that I can’t share more, my camera memory card was unfortunately full). xxx

For me the first two gigs of the last part of the Italian tour were very different compared to each other so I decided to include them both in the same post. So lovely to be back in Italy and meet people I haven’t seen for a while. My Italian and French Mika friends, the Korean girls, Stefania (Italian but living in Denmark), Andreja, Isa and Ani of course, even Kanni and her husband from Germany (such a surprise to suddenly meet them in Trieste, I didn’t know they were coming).

Waiting for the gig in Trieste at Piazza Unità d’Italia was pretty much as perfect as it can be. The place was stunning. The venue was a square open to the sea and otherwise surrounded by beautiful historical buildings. My hotel was next to the stage and not sure I’ve ever stayed that close to the venue before. I could literally watch the stage while eating my breakfast or lunch at the restaurant downstairs. There were several cafes around the square and after hearing Trieste is one of best places in Italy to have a coffee I couldn’t wait to try them all. Everyone I met was extremely kind and it was so lovely to spend time together.

We had a relaxed day around the venue and later afternoon the venue security put up the barriers and asked people to organize a queue. They actually asked us to make a numbered line and even made sure that fans with small numbers were let in first. I can’t even start to describe how rare that is these days. Everyone was astonished! The peace and order was a bliss!

I got a great spot in front and the gig started with a very sweet children’s choir and orchestra. The kids had white gloves for their heartwarming sign language performance. Then it was a turn for the Xylaroo girls and their wonderful performance and I felt a bit sad (because this was their last one and I really like them) and suddenly also tired. It’s been a busy summer. That might be one of the reasons why the gig didn’t turn out exactly like I had expected and hoped.

It wasn’t one of my best gig experiences. There was nothing wrong in Mika’s performance, he did well. It seemed a bit like working and the energy was lower than on average but that is natural as he must be tired for real even he smiles and still manages to make also high energy performances however that happens. It was more about everything around the performance, many things were either too little or too much.

The lights felt a bit too bright, maybe because the stage was so extremely high. The sound was way too loud but again, the venue was a huge open space and I wasn’t thinking when taking my spot next to speakers (so I can blame only myself). The teenage majority in the audience was hysterical and I was surrounded by a crowd that screamed and pushed and it was all really uncomfortable. There were some extraordinary moments in the singing but I simply couldn’t hear or enjoy them properly and I wasn’t pleased because rare things in the world annoy me as much as something coming between me and my concert experience and disturbing me when I try to listen to Mika.

The setlist was good and he added Kick Ass as a surprise song. It was somehow too loud to properly enjoy (at least where I was) but the little ending part without too much background was absolutely stunning and along with the Happy Ending a cappella my favorite part of the show. Loved it when the audience were silent for those short moments! Mika seemed to enjoy the screaming audience, maybe it gave him energy and I tried to be happy for him but didn’t have a proper success in it. Loved it how he showed respect to the children’s choir putting white gloves and making a heart with his fingers!

When the show was over we went to say good bye to the Xylaroo girls and had fun and got a bit drunk instead of sleeping and I got a killer headache which wasn’t ideal for traveling 10 hours in trains with several delays (so much fun though, thanks everyone!). I arrived Chieti late afternoon and met Francesca who was extremely kind meeting me at the station, taking me to my hotel, showing me the venue and helping me to find food. Really can’t thank her enough!

I had a quiet night and next day it was time for the second gig at Arena La Civitella. I didn’t know what to expect. Chieti is small and pretty and the hill where the venue was located offered a beautiful view. The day was extremely hot and waiting for the gig was harder than it usually is. The majority of the people was well organized and followed rules but then there were those three obligatory persons who just have to create a chaos whatever it takes (arguing, complaining, refusing to move or make a line).

The security did absolutely nothing, eventually the crowd pushed and pushed and people were crying because it was dangerous for real and we had to use a lot of strength to keep our space in the middle of it. Several policemen were asked to hold the crowd, there was no order at all and eventually everyone run in a panic wherever they could find a place. I took the first free spot and it happened to be a very good one and I could see really well.

The stage was much lower than night before and suddenly – after the burning sun and pushy crowd – everything was peaceful and perfect and the show could start. The stage looked right and the sound was exactly right and I could hear Mika and his singing well and there was nothing disturbing it. The whole performance looked totally effortless and he seemed to have all the energy in the world (the change was quite remarkable) and the setlist was very generous with the Italian favorites, Good Wife, Boum Boum Boum, Kick Ass (again) and even Promiseland. Extremely good setlist indeed. Now in love with Beautiful Disaster and dreaming about hearing an acoustic version of it some day.

The band was on fire, Max being funny and Tristan playing Love Today standing like a tree looking confident and keeping his center of mass low like all real guitarists do (you know what I mean) and they were both so entertaining, loved watching them. Mika was talking, talking and talking and mentioned several times that the tour is ending (I ignored it because I can’t understand italian and I’m in denial anyway). He asked a few people on stage during Underwater and the little boy was super cute! My Korean friend was there and I know she is shy so I loved it how sensitive Mika was with her not giving her too much pressure (so she could enjoy her little moment) and it just melted my heart. He can be such a good pop star.

Everything looked fantastic and the whole crew seemed to outdo themselves, such a change compared to Trieste. Not saying they didn’t do well there. The circumstances were simply very different. In Trieste it was more like pleasing the whole town so maybe there wasn’t a possibility to focus on every detail. Mika came and took over the whole centre of Trieste and everyone who possibly could came to see him (a lot people without tickets around the square and even people in their boats). I was all about quantity.

In Chieti it was more about details and quality and it was wonderful. He did little changes in many songs – I always love that – and several times used his voice a bit differently than he usually does and once or twice I even spontaneously said “wow” aloud just for myself and that’s quite impressive because I’ve seen many wow moments during the past few years.

Last Party was absolutely stunning but in the end he left out ”it was the best time we ever had” which always bothers me a lot and leaves me sad because it implies something is wrong and that saying it would be lying. I want him to think it was the best time but it was not…? He is an ambitious artist and the whole summer I’ve had a feeling he wants to top himself concert after concert and gives more and more and I wish I could tell him he is good enough already. No matter how the day ends up it’s good enough. It’s important for an artist to evolve but in this moment (and in every moment) he is everything he needs to be. People are always impressed by him, even when he is not trying to do it.

Rome tonight and it will be different (seated, more formal) and probably important for him (maybe with friends, family and important people). I have really enjoyed this Italian adventure and taken a lot of pics of fans and places and will make a separate post for them and also post more gig pics and vids both from Trieste and Chieti.

SP_6

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!

SP_supporting_1

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.

Nimes_view

Nimes_10

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).

Nimes_Arena_2

Nimes_Arena_stage

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.

Nimes_9

Nimes_7

Nimes_5

Nimes_1

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

Nimes_hearts

LR_9

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.

LR_sasha

LR_audience

LR_fans

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).

LR_balloons

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.

Perugia_water

Perugia_dog_1

Perugia_glass

Perugia_Giorgia_1

Perugia_Giorgia_2

Perugia_roofs

Perugia_dogs_3

Perugia_dogs_4

Perugia_fans_2

Perugia_dogs_5

Umbria Jazz Festival was a lovely event. The vibe was very special and we could hear music everywhere. The festival area was practically just one street with three stages plus one big main stage area a few minutes away from the end of the street but in addition to official stages musicians played everywhere and people where sitting in restaurants, cafes and other places eating, having drinks, chatting and just enjoying the music.

I loved walking around and sitting here and there, having a coffee or a glass of prosecco and watching people walking their dogs, hearing music coming from every corner. I couldn’t believe how many dogs I saw, maybe because it was so hot that it was better to take dogs to outside to fresh air instead of leaving them in hot apartments. They all looked relaxed and very used to crowds.

I shared an apartment with Isa and Ani and luckily these ladies are easy to convince to have a peaceful breakfast, long lunch or a late glass of wine so I was quite happy spending an extra day in Perugia and felt I had a good start for my holidays in Italy and later in France. We met the Italian group on Sunday morning and visited a few churched together (four or five beautiful churches on the main street) and then spent a couple hours resting before going to the main venue to meet more people. The pretty young girl with gorgeous glasses in the pics is Giorgia who loves being in photos (thanks Giorgia for letting me take pics, I will send you the rest of them!).

Umbria_1

Umbria_8

The show itself gave a very adult and professional impression. The atmosphere was quite formal and I’m sure it all was partly intentional because the setlist was carefully planned for the audience (a bit older and obviously more music oriented than on average) but came partly also from the formal seated setting and the big stage far away from the audience. I really enjoyed the set list and small additions and variation. Finally No Place In Heaven again, I love the song so much! Over My Shoulder, one of my biggest favorites. Blue Eyes after a long time not hearing it. Very jazz style Boum Boum Boum with a long and pretty intro. Because of the theme I paid more attention than usually to Curtis playing Lollipop and enjoyed it very much. He is brilliant with so many instruments.

My seat was first row very side so luckily no one blocked my view (always makes me happy, I’m short and can’t see behind people) but the stage was big and far away so I still couldn’t properly see details. The security said no to my camera and I took only a few pics to remember how the stage looked. The security was generally very strict and kept the audience still and people from back couldn’t rush in front of us but a bit before the end they decided to let people go front and even asked us to go as well (which was a nice thing to do). Isa and I were a bit shy but went to the left side of the barrier and suddenly the whole area was full of people and during the four last song the gig felt like a usual high energy Mika concert people dancing and singing in front of him. Lovely short visit to Perugia, Padova next.

Umbria_3

Umbria_6

Umbria_band_2

palermo_6

I’ve always wanted to visit Sicily and now been lucky to travel there three times during the past 12 months. This was my first time in Palermo. I love the Sicilian vibe. I arrived my B&B and was worried because the area had nothing suitable for tourists, it was a basic living area next to a sports arena, huge parking areas and a big park (the venue), not a place to spend time or walk around alone especially at night time.

However, my B&B which was a private apartment with three rooms for rent was super clean and decorated in a charming, a bit quirky style with retro details (not fancy but very much my taste) and the owner called Marco was the friendliest person ever. He showed me the way to the venue entrance, shops and restaurants, organized a taxi for my early morning flight after the show and offered a cup of really good coffee so I immediately felt better and wasn’t worried anymore.

palermo_heaven

palermo_myriam

palermo_solange

palermo_sign

The gig day was extremely hot but nice and relaxed (Myriam and Solange in the pics) and everyone working at the venue was friendly and helpful including the sweet old dog living in the park. However, turned out the security gave fans wrong information on purpose and I couldn’t get over it even I got a good view and saw the gig well and everything was totally fine. I can’t handle this kind of dishonesty. People are supposed to trust the information and instructions given by venues and I can’t do that after this.

The crowd was pushy, I was holding my bags with two arms the whole time and had difficulties to breath but did my everything to focus on listening to the music and putting the negative thoughts and feelings on the background because the gig was very special. I had very much looked forward to seeing this gig in Palermo and it was everything I had hoped for and much more!

The performance was very high quality and obviously well planned, it was easy to see since the first seconds. Mika came on stage. He had a special jacket, carefully styled hair and a determined showman look on his face. This was not meant to be a regular gig. Looked fantastic of course. I saw a cameraman filming and assumed parts of the gig are possibly used as a material for the new television show on November. Mika has said he wants to use the tour for the show and this is a massive tour even compared to his previous Italian tours so I can understand his ambitious attitude.

We could see the mountains behind the stage before the colorful house background was lifted up. The venue looked amazing and Mika stylish and beautiful and his performance was outstanding with several rare songs and extra effort put in most of the regular songs as well. I appreciated it and paid attention to every possible song and detail and understood it was a true privilege to be in the audience and see this particular show.

I didn’t expect him to change the set list this much for real but love it that he proved me wrong and I very much enjoyed the set with Italian favorites Beautiful Disaster, Stardust and Hurts (all predictable but didn’t expect him to do them all), Step With Me as a rare song (totally didn’t expect), Promiseland (hoped for but again, didn’t expect) and every new/extra change made in the other songs (like Relax and Underwater). A very full set and I don’t think the audience could have hoped for more. He skipped something but the set was already long enough and obviously we can’t have everything at every single gig. The whole show was excellent, really. I was very impressed.

palermo_14

palermo_2

palermo_3

palermo_7

I laughed so much when I saw my confetti pics. Don’t you think the amount is getting bigger and bigger! It’s already filling people’s mouths, lol! Unfortunately only after Last Party and not during it which is the moment when I would like people to shut up (it’s my important moment) but obviously can’t ask them to be quiet, I know. Emotional performance for the song again.

Loved little changes in Relax. Another big highlight for me was Beautiful Disaster which is an incredibly pretty song. The dance parts are hard and I would love to hear a more gentle version but already love the song much, much more than ever expected after hearing the version with Fedez. Such a lovely surprise. I added Underwater video below. Beautiful version! Very grateful I could see the first two Italian gigs. Great start in stunning locations. I need to skip the next two for family reasons but will be back for Perugia and Padova and the rest of the tour in the end of July.

palermo_confetti_3

palermo_confetti_2

palermo_confetti

Molfetta_boats

Molfetta_cat

Molfetta_cat_2

Molfetta_cat_4

Molfetta_fishing_2

Molfetta_fishing_6

Molfetta_fishing_7

Molfetta_happy

Mika started his Italian tour in Molfetta near Bari where the venue was particularly unique and pretty. My trip from Helsinki took more than 12 hours with flights, delays and traffic so I loved discovering how special and beautiful the place was. My B&B was right next to the venue and sea so it was all the same area and even my room offered a stunning view. The venue was restricted by the sea from one side – fishing boats coming and going – and a big building with a fish market from the other side so the whole place smelled like fish and salty sea (typical for south Italian seaside towns) and I spent the morning taking photos of boats and fishermen and cats (who could obviously smell the fish as well). The view was gorgeous during every time of the day sun rising or setting or simply shining making everything look pretty and silvery.

The gig was very local meaning only a handful of international fans (Solange from France and a few familiar Italians along me) and I enjoyed meeting so many new people especially as the locals I met at the venue were really friendly and nice and organized everything well and the day was really good and relaxed until the last moments when the usual complaining and pushing started. Suddenly and to our surprise the security came and stopped the nonsense and put everyone in their places in the queue using a few calm words and adding barriers. It seemed to be a favor to a father who’s daughter was in the line but made immediately us all happy and very satisfied so we tried to be extra polite and thanked the security several times.

Molfetta_fans

Molfetta_stage_2

xylaroo

We were let in front of the stage and after waiting for a while the girls from Xylaroo performed and I enjoyed listening their performance again and could hear everything very well. However, soon after Mika had started his show some technical problems appeared and during several songs I couldn’t hear his voice either properly or at all and one of the speakers seemed to be broken along some other issues. I didn’t mind so much because these things happen and I can always focus on catching new details and watching the band and taking photos but I automatically hold my breath a few times like I always do when something goes wrong and I expect Mika’s pose and face look tense and controlled and so not pleased (like my breathing had any effect on that, lol!) even I know he will naturally continue the performance as well and smoothly as possible.

I really loved Beautiful Disaster live even the sound wasn’t the best and luckily during Last Party everything went well and for me that alone would have made the inconvenient trip worthwhile. During the song I totally shut out everything else except the singing like I always do so I felt the crowd stopped screaming and singing and kept quiet but not sure if that really happened or if I was simply totally focused on the song. I entertained myself spotting details from several songs and watching Tristan’s rock star posing and enjoyed seeing the giant balloons back and hoped people would let them move in the crowd instead of immediately returning them on stage.

I had looked forward to sharing this unusually special venue with Mika but to be honest I have no idea if he realized how cool it was. He arrived late and left immediately after the show and was probably (and according to his tweets) upset and distracted by the morning’s political result in the UK. The news made and make me worried as well but in Molfetta I was too isolated (with no connections to read news and no one interested in chatting in English) to handle the issue so I just briefly talked with my husband in the phone and simply postponed my anxious thoughts as an opposite to Mika who as a UK citizen and coming from Brussels must have felt being in the middle of the issue. After the show I met Ani and had a short conversation with her and got some new points of view (like what will be the main language the UK being out, I didn’t thought that before).

I enjoyed my lovely short visit in Molfetta, it was a pleasure to meet everyone as always. I’m writing this at the airport and had a moment of panic in the plane because the landing was awful and made me a bit scared. I closed my eyes and tried to focus on a Mika song to calm myself and every single song that came to mind (Beautiful Disaster, Relax “there’s nothing we can do”, Last Party, “love’s gonna get you down”) felt somehow wrong so note to myself, I need to think a suitable song for situations like that. Some quick photos around the venue above and from the gig below.

Molfetta_1

Molfetta_2

Molfetta_9

Molfetta_7

Molfetta_8

Molfetta_4

Molfetta_5

Molfetta_10

barcelona_3

Bona Nit is a festival concept focused on environmental awareness, food, dancing and music. The event was organized in the Barcelona Spanish village and it was lovely to spend the day in a place like that and we walked around, sat in cafés and spent time outside where Valeria and Saskia made face paintings for everyone which was a lot of fun and is actually quite appropriate for festivals. The Barcelona weather was hot and sweaty so I a bit regretted my face painting later in the evening and couldn’t wait to properly wash my fox face after the show but still loved the idea and watching fans from many different countries doing something like this together.

The festival opened at 7 PM and I really liked the event and everything around it. Food stands sold gluten-free food and even gluten-free beer! I didn’t try the beer (the whole bottle would have been too much liquids, lol) but it was still luxurious to have the possibility. For once I didn’t have to be hungry the whole evening and bought a spinach ricotta tapioca crepe which was delicious! All kind of cameras were allowed and I wished I had taken my bigger camera to take better quality photos but didn’t know about the policy in advance and usually having a big camera means losing the spot in the queue at the gates. The security was really sweet and helped everyone during the whole night and worked almost as a courier between the audience and Mika delivering gifts and helping fans on stage.

I had eagerly looked forward to this festival. Not because I have some kind of a love relationship with Barcelona (at least not yet, it can gradually develop of course) but because seeing Mika gigs in any other country than France or Italy is rare and I knew he would add something special and extra for the local audience which he did.

We saw four groups/performances before Mika which was a lot to handle. My favorite was the Mexican group even I can’t remember their music well. I really liked their attitude; they seemed to enjoy their time on stage and did their best to make the audience enjoy as well and didn’t save their energy a bit. The night felt long and I was tired before we had seen the first half of the four performances and I realized how spoilt I am after seeing so many great quality Mika shows and felt embarrassed for my poor tolerance for regular artists and groups. We had to watch through two more performances and I tried to be understanding and supporting and not to show my impatience.

Then it was time for Mika and he did his usual performance and it felt like heaven. Everything was right. His stage team was quick and effective. We heard the intro, the band took their positions and Mika started. He looked gorgeous (see the first pic) and sounded beautiful and I could finally forget being tired and the noise and just enjoy the show. He can do a routine performance and it’s still always a bliss and makes me perfectly happy and satisfied and that’s even more important than enjoying everything special and new.

A couple of songs were added to the usual festival setlist for the Spanish audience like I had expected: Talk About You in Spanish after getting lyrics from the audience and Live You Life which is still popular in Spain after being in a commercial. The whole show was very spontaneous and the festival bear became a part of the Big Girl performance and hats, crowns, flower decorations and glasses from the audience ended up on Mika’s head and eventually also two local fans were asked on stage. That all was almost a bit chaotic and I loved watching the band reacting on everything that happened on stage. Last Party in the end was done Mika standing on the piano and was absolutely stunning! I could just listen, stare and hardly breath, loved the performance and the lights are perfect for the song.

The girls behind us were screaming from the beginning to the end of the show so I didn’t film anything. A few pics and a short clip of Becks dancing on stage below.

palladium_6

The gig in London was like a party. My whole trip to London was very special. I traveled together with my family (my husband and two of my three sons) and we stayed from early Friday morning until late Tuesday night so we had several days to visit museums/science centres and enjoyed it all very much. The MFC meet up before the show was lovely! Approximately 100 fans from all over the world gathered together to have drinks and say hello to each other before heading to the venue and it was wonderful to meet everyone. A huge thank you to Deb for organizing the meeting and hope to see everyone soon again.

The theatre was absolutely beautiful. Theatres are my favorite type of venues and they match with Mika’s music and style incredibly well. I had so looked forward to this show and to be honest I couldn’t wait to see Mika on stage again. People might think it’s strange because I had just seen him but not in circumstances like this and not together with my family. I had waited for this particular gig for months and I generally miss seeing him on stage as soon as the previous gig is over. I can’t explain it.

My family had great seats in the middle of the second row of the royal circle and told later their view over the stage was perfect. My youngest boy loved the show and put the show on the top of his list so far (he already saw two shows in Paris and London in October) but my older son wasn’t feeling well and found the sound too loud to enjoy. Major bad mother moment after realizing I had dragged him there without ear plugs! It was a theatre so I didn’t expect the sound to be too loud (it really was louder than I had thought) and he is a teenager (15) already so I’m sure he will get over it.

I enormously enjoyed the whole night, can’t even describe it. From my point of view (after seeing several shows during the past two weeks) the show was formal and not as relaxed or spontaneous as some other shows I’ve seen lately. It almost gave the vibe Mika is a stranger in his own town but his performance was still excellent and very professional and I totally understand he wanted everything to be controlled as the show was streamed in China which is a huge thing both for Mika as an artist and for his fans in China.

The set list was brilliant. He skipped Boum Boum Boum to please his UK fans but otherwise we got everything we could possibly hope for and heard several special songs outside the regular list. Opening with Porcelaine was more impressive and interesting than Big Girl at previous gigs. Promiseland is a big fan favorite and definitely pleased everyone. Over My Shoulder with his friend Alex was absolutely stunning (brought back memories from the acoustic tour 2009) and Ordinary Man in the end rare and lovely special treat. This time my personal favorite was Relax with an interesting intro and explanation about writing the song. I so enjoyed his chatting and stories throughout the whole show, such a pleasure for once to be able to understand everything!

His voice was beautiful. I saw a periscope from Switzerland where he sounded like having a flu (not totally sure about that because I wasn’t there) but couldn’t hear that at all in London. The stage looked amazing and the lights were great (and didn’t blind at all). I didn’t expect the arc to fit on the Palladium stage but the stage was bigger than I had thought and the arc was there. The choir didn’t work. Maybe it was a favor for someone to let the group on stage, they took space and attention but didn’t add anything extra to the songs.

Confetti was fabulous! There was so much of it, more confetti than you can ever imagine! I want to remember that confetti moment forever. Even my husband was thrilled – the confetti reached even the audience up at the royal circle – and to quote his exact words “this time there was more of everything” and “the set list was better than ever” and “Mika was very brave singing in the middle of the crowd” (obviously along with the confetti rain one of the highlights for him).

I didn’t take many photos so I don’t have much to share. I love taking photos at gigs, it’s the only way to keep the gigs in order and my mind sane and over a longer time period it has a huge meaning to me to have the details documented. I’m still trying my best to be sensitive and choose suitable moments, to show that I appreciate the performance and not to disturb any delicate songs. This time I had a lovely spot in front close to the stage and I had so eagerly waited for this particular venue and gig that I just wanted to enjoy and focus on listening and watching. A few vids below.

Confetti_Grenoble_bw

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.

grenoble with Melina

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!

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.

Bercy_3

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.

Bercy_14

Bercy_15-1

Bercy_24

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.

Bercy_37

Bercy_38

Bercy_41

Bercy_46

Bercy_47

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.

Strasbourg_1

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.

Strasbourg_5

Strasbourg_chair_1

Strasbourg_8

Strasbourg_band_2

Strasbourg_band_3

Strasbourg_band_4

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.

Strasbourg_9

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.

Strasbourg_confetti

Strasbourg_after