I felt the need to travel to Portugal to see Rock In Rio Lisboa so I did. Lisbon is not a practical destination from Helsinki but I found a suitable flight and had a day in Lisbon to walk around. Lisbon is smallish and easy to move around. I stayed in a small guest house and I got help with directions and arrived to the venue around noon. I met a large group of Queen fans and a couple of Mika fans from France. Iona from Australia arrived as well and we couldn’t see Rose from the UK in the crowd but found her later inside the venue (in the pic below Manon, Camille and Iona).
Queen supporters were loud and cheerful and sang together while waiting. Many of them had dressed for the occasion and everyone had at least a T-shirt to show their dedication. In the queue we got cold drinks, sunscream (promotional stuff) and cute frogs for the competition. First one inside with the frog would be the winner. We took our frogs but the distance from the gates to the stage was long and the best places were obviously taken before we finally entered. We stayed front row side to have a barrier even we couldn’t see so well. The stage was huge!
The Rock In Rio musical started and after that we saw the first performer Fergie in her leather underwear. I didn’t like her music but her performance was entertaining and she was nice to the audience chatting and moving around to let as many as possible to see her.
Then it was time for Mika and he did an energetic and good festival performance with some special details like having local musicians for Over My Shoulder which was my favorite part of the show. I wasn’t close enough to take any good photos but took a few for the blog and to remember new, impressive backgrounds (done together with Studiojob I assume).
One of the highlights for me is always listening to Relax and suddenly in the middle of song we saw a plane landing flying very low over the audience (the airport is very close to the park) and I loved this unexpected detail and even Mika joked during Underwater how cool the audience with their lights would look if another plane happened to fly over it that exact moment. The crowd was absolutely massive, never seen anything like that before, and performing in front of it both an honor and a huge opportunity and I felt lucky to be there to witness the event even it wasn’t possible to experience the show the usual way because of the giant stage and crowd.
I took part in a competition on Rock In Rio FB page and won a visit to backstage with a short meeting with Mika. When the performance was almost over I fought my way out of the crowd and met a group of other competition winners near the back stage entrance. It’s very rare for fans to visit the area and I was curious to see how the situation was organized. A friendly girl from Rock In Rio took care of us and explained everything and told us how busy and stressful the situation was and we waited our turn quite a while and were asked to go backwards twice not to disturb Queen before they walk on stage.
I realized it must be extremely hard for Mika to focus on meeting a lot of people right after performing when the pressure is hardly over and the adrenaline level still high. He was still patient, polite and sweet. I had originally planned to give him something to wish all the best for the show in Paris but there was no proper line and I decided just quietly stay behind the others in case the time runs out for our group. I still eventually ended up in front of him, we took a pic and I got something kindly signed and it was all very generous. I said a quick thank you and then his attention was already needed elsewhere and our group was on our way out.
We went back to the festival area and I stayed up on the hill listening to Queen, watching the massive audience and chatting with one of the English speaking winners. The performance was convincing and felt funny to know every single Queen song even I’ve never properly listened to their music. The event itself was the biggest I’ve seen and definitely worth experiencing and in the end of the colorful day I was more than pleased with my decision to travel to Portugal. Taxi queues were hundreds of meters long but shortened quickly and I had Iona as my company while waiting.
I flied to Riga day after the festival and smiled when saw Mika coming to the plane and felt weirdly calm and safe after that like nothing bad could ever happen to the plane if he is there. We didn’t talk (I don’t like disturbing him) but he laughed when saw my face after the flight and I had to wonder if he can guess how irrational people’s thoughts are. Gigs in Baltic area are always a good experience, now in Prague, will write more about these gigs as soon as I can find time. X
Writing this on my way home from Grenoble. I saw three concerts during my trip, the two last gigs in Marseille and Grenoble were cancelled. I had planned to write a proper report about every gig – taking a bit different point of views and telling about the show and the new setting, the current set list and everything happening around the gigs – but the tour schedule is tight and I didn’t have time for that so I’m gathering some thoughts about my week here.
The new set list is the longest Mika has done and as already said really satisfying to the audience. It’s also hard and tiring to sing. He tried to save his voice a bit before cancellations – skipping a song here and there, making the audience as a part of the show, using the band – but kept the set still long and gave his everything during every show so no surprise he was vulnerable enough to catch a cold (like we all during every single tour) and has now issues with his vocal chords. Maybe pushing himself too much in Madrid? Marseille was cancelled and I was happy the same was done in Grenoble even it meant we missed the gig and even it must be frustrating for him. Too much to risk for one or two random shows just before several important events.
Fans are understanding with cancellations like this. Of course everyone was a little down and worried in Marseille. I suddenly realized I’m sick (now lost my voice like to show my sympathy), over-tired, hungry enough to have hunger tantrums and all other things we never notice in our gig high. I felt homesick but couldn’t find any reasonable way to shorten my trip so I followed my original plan after Marseille even expected Grenoble to be cancelled as well.
A few thoughts about the shows in general. We didn’t see the full stage set at every venue. The Heaven sign and gate can fit also to smaller stages, the caravan and globe need both width and heigh. The beautiful gate – to heaven or to hell – is my favorite part of the set (starting a song behind it looks incredibly cool) and absolutely love the glittery globe! I’ve enjoyed seeing variations and shows with smaller setting, that way it’s easier to focus on the performance and the full set stays fresh and special for bigger shows.
The supporting band Citizens! has been a huge hit! Practically everyone loves them and they are good indeed. I’ve been listening to their album but like their rock live sound even more. They are not so well known (yet) so they make an effort to be nice to everyone and have always time for little chats with fans. Their performance makes me in a good mood before Mika starts meaning I don’t need to adjust my mood during the first Mika songs and I can fully enjoy the whole gig.
About the set list. It’s slightly changing and I really appreciate it. There is a basic structure but the order is changing a bit. My neural system is programmed to expect a certain order, it’s useful to be woken up by unexpected songs and after seeing several shows little changes give a positive, surprising impact. The beginning medley is still exciting. It feels irrational (meaning I can’t connect it to anything) but I like the clips and purple lights behind ”Purple Rain”.
A few random thoughts about songs.
No Place In Heaven fits with the theme, I just wish Mika wasn’t covering and hiding himself during the song. He is dressed in a coat and hat and the audience’s attention is in the caravan (unless the stage is too small for caravan and the song is done in the middle of the stage) and the true meaning of the song stays somehow hidden. First I thought I can’t focus on the song enough. No, the problem is I can’t see that Mika I want to focus on. He is in the middle of the theater scene covered by a secret agent’s outfit. NPIH is a personal and honest song. I would love to see it performed in a personal and honest way, softly and wearing sweaty, wrinkled shirt.
Sounds silly but I’m not joking. There can be a big difference in the atmosphere, just see how amazing Ordinary Man became when he was brave enough to do it in a smaller way. Love love love this version from Bordeaux:
He is doing little changes in his old songs. I’m especially pleased he is doing something with Relax. Not sure I like the result (yet) or can explain what he is doing with it but I like the idea he is giving his attention to Relax, it deserves it. The new beginning of Grace Kelly I already like a lot. Lollipop can always raise again. Love Today is phenomenal! Very impressed he can make it better year after year. Big Girl is a crowd pleaser. I would prefer Century Man as a high energy song but of course everyone enjoys BG and it’s a good, standard option in the beginning if photographers are disturbing the show.
Boum Boum Boum has become an entertainment number so the song is a bit lost in the middle of boxing gloves, funny glasses, hats, jokes, fans and dancing scenes. It gives a suitable moment for entertainment and chatting so I totally understand why it’s done that way but miss the old version I loved so much. Just the song and dancing. I love the live version of this song and the atmosphere going from gentle to powerful and the Spanish style beginning is pretty cool as well.
Talk About You has a good, positive energy but it’s not the highlight as it used to be at festivals simply because there are better songs to stand out: Good Guys is getting better and better and we heard a super special version in Bordeaux or Toulouse (travelled too much, someone help me?). Staring At The Sun is great live especially in English like heard in Madrid. Good Wife and Promiseland are both brilliant! Last Party in the end keeps its place as my personal favorite.
Good Wife is such an uplifting song! It’s so good it gives me a surprise every time I hear it. I can feel my posture changing because suddenly the world doesn’t feel so heavy anymore. The melancholic thought of something that never happened is somewhere on the background. I really enjoy this song, it makes me so happy and carefree. Promiseland has become the highlight I expected it to become. The calm part sounds calm and confident and the party part makes people go crazy. Perferct!
Funny, interesting and special details happened in all three shows. In Bordeaux Mika filmed a little clip to congratulate his friend and asked the audience to make some noise for it. He was pleased with the result and rewarded us (the whole audience) with giggling and smiles! In Madrid he asked a sweet young girl with a puppet on stage (see photos in my gallery). He used Melissa’s flowers and Karin’s crown and made Max wear Saskia’s wings the whole Madrid gig. He took Spanish lyrics someone gave for TAY and tried to sing them.
He changed his outfit several times and used several colorful jackets (really love those jackets, my favorites so far). He gave a lot of spotlight to the band and put Tristan behind the gate in the beginning of Love Today. One of my all time favorite Love Todays! Tristan is a rock star, all the others have already lost that kind of real enthusiasm. Hope he can continue his happy stage party without restrictions.
Last but no least stunning a cappella moments in the end of Happy Ending every show even in Madrid which was super amazing and a little bit worrying at the same time. The venue wasn’t small at all and I had a feeling Mika was already giving the audience everything he possibly could and everything and even more the audience possibly could hope for. Maybe even too much? One of my all time favorite shows for sure. I have really enjoyed this tour, now fingers crossed the man is in good enough health for a few more shows.
Good, entertaining and cheerful show in Zurich! The gig in Luxembourg night before with the tiny venue and intimate, special atmosphere was one of my favorite gigs and I’m definitely going to write a small report about it as soon as I have time. Now a quick update about Zurich. The venue was smallish but the stage was still big enough to have the Heaven sign on the background and had some space for Mika and the band to move around during the gig.
Compared to the simple and plain Luxembourg gig Zurich included some entertaining extra details like a muppet coming from the audience during BBB and a confetti rain above the piano, maybe to compensate the lack of the setting, maybe to give an opportunity for Mika to rest his voice in the middle of the set (tight schedule is hard and the gig in Milan tonight day after Zurich huge and important). The vibe in Zurich wasn’t as intimate/special as in Luxembourg but still energetic and good and I enjoyed the gig a lot and had a lot of fun together with the German group feeling myself an adopted German.
About my favorite parts of the gig. He did definitely my favorite version of Promiseland so far and I loved both Mika’s singing and how the band was playing. Same with Love Today and Last Party, was surprised to hear the both that powerfully performed, loved it! Happy Ending with a little acapella ending was absolutely gorgeous even the venue was slightly bigger than night before and one of the highlights of the show was listening to Mika chatting in English, such a rare luxury after XF and The Voice publicity in Italy and France. The band was smiling and in a good mood, nice to watch their working as well. Milan tonight, might post some vids when back home.
Colours of Ostrava is an annual, old-school summer festival with a huge amount of people, good line-ups and relaxed atmosphere and it offers – beside music – also all kind of festival entertainment (like fire trucks keeping people cool with water) and a good and affordable selection of food and drinks for every taste (Indian food, vegan etc). The local who helped us to find a taxi after the show told he has hardly ever missed the event during the past 15 years and I can easily understand why.
I really liked the vibe, the security was super nice and the audience seemed supportive and open to many kind of artists. One of the security guys chatting with us during the day felt almost like a fan and he actually told us that he knows and likes Mika’s music and because his duty was supposed to end before the main act he was already planning to enjoy the Mika show.
The venue was located in an old, industrial area and the surroundings looked ugly but still somehow cool. The last festival day was hot and we tried avoid the sun but weather cooled down towards the evening and as expected it started to rain just before Mika’s performance.
I didn’t know any of the three other festival acts in advance. The first one was a local big band and generally entertaining but I couldn’t understand a word and every song sounded similar. Then it was the turn for a Mexican acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela and the audience loved them and they were amazing indeed. Such unique performance! Check them our here or here if you haven’t heard about them. The third band was an indie rock band called Other Lives and their music was not properly my taste but still good quality and I actually enjoyed watching them and especially their calm singer on stage.
Then it was time for the final 1,5 hour break before Mika’s performance. The atmosphere was so relaxed we could use toilets and buy food during every break but an hour before Mika’s performance the crowd started to pack near the stage and we decided to stay in front of it and saw how the the crew finished the setting. I saw the familiar houses and felt I couldn’t wait for the show and was wondering how the audience would react.
Festivals are not about any particular song or show detail but about filling the huge space, bringing energy on stage, catching people’s attention and keeping them interested and even holding their breath during the whole performance. Mika came on stage and started to talk Czech language, not just a few words but several, proper and long sentences and then opened with Grace Kelly and the audience was immediately on his side and the show was absolutely fantastic. I was amazed once again how well-prepared and professional everything was and how focused he was on the show despite of traveling and a big important event in France just night before.
The setlist was perfect for the situation. His performance was officially an hour (maybe a bit more) and he did a combination of his most popular hits (GK, Relax, BG, Lollipop, BB), his most energetic (LT, WAG, EMD) and most powerful songs (UW, LP), introduced TAY and did a very energetic “festival” version of Origin (I loved it). Every single song had a huge energy or tension and he obviously gave his everything totally ignoring the pouring rain and took a lot of contact with the audience by reaching their hands, giving high fives, making comments to people near the stage and taking little gifts/objects people tried to give him.
He kept dancing and running and did his signature jumps and after a while took off his jacket and threw his tie to the audience and rolled over the wet stage despite of his white shirt and fancy trousers and the audience loved every moment and supported him well singing the chorus parts even most people (except fans wearing Mika T-shirts) probably didn’t know the whole lyrics and was rewarded by a surprise after a surprise like big balloons, a confetti party and some mad drumming in the end. I couldn’t help but thinking “omg he can even drum like that!”. Well of course he can drum. I’ve seen dozens of drumming sessions when it was a regular part of his show but just haven’t seen it for such a long time so I absolutely loved it. The colorful balloons looked especially awesome in the dark and work every time no matter how many times I’ve seen them used.
I enjoy seeing many different kind of events so I was so happy to see a massive energetic show like this in a new country between smaller seated gigs where I’m always more focused on every song and where the setlist includes ballads and new songs. I had accidentally wrong settings in my camera and I couldn’t properly focus it but I didn’t want to waste a moment of the short show to fix it so just a few pics here and above and below to better describe how everything looked. A huge thank you to Saskia (who was lovely and patient as always) and Do Re Mi from Ukraine for the company! X
Festival Jardins de Pedralbes was my first Mika show in Spain. I’ve been so unlucky with my trips to Spain and cancelled them several times, so happy that I could finally make it happen. I travelled together with my good friend Salla. She flew to Barcelona on Wednesday to be able to do more sightseeing and I arrived on Thursday. We met Lara on Friday and had an awesome, sunny day visiting Montjuic by a cable car, watching the view over Barcelona and walking in the park. Barcelona looks a cheerful, relaxed city. This was only my second visit there and it’s maybe not one of “my cities” but still a fun place to spend a short holiday listening to Mika and meeting friends.
The gig was seated and there was no need for queueing so we arrived the venue around 8 pm just before the gates were opened to have a drink and meet the others before the show. So rare to have a possibility to arrive last minute feeling fresh and rested and still have a good spot in the audience. The venue was beautiful and offered an amazing setting for a seated Mika show.
He started the show with Toyboy and everyone was listening quietly. Photographers were sitting on the ground in front of the audience not to block our view. I had originally planned to take only a couple of photos for my report but ended up keeping my camera in my bag (as the security on our side asked people to put their cameras away) and just enjoyed the show.
After Toyboy was the turn for Grace Kelly and Blue Eyes. Seated gigs start always more slowly than usual standing gigs as it takes time for the audience to have courage to dance and be a part of the show. This time I immediately had a weird feeling that Mika didn’t have his usual energy or that he didn’t enjoy being on stage. In those situations he always tries hard to be on his stage mood and usually succeeds and Talk About You was indeed much better already and the gig got a proper start. I find it interesting that a song I don’t much care on the album is one of my favorites at gigs. I really like the live version of TAY and it was among my top three songs in Barcelona as well.
I can’t remember the exact setlist but we heard at least Big Girl, Relax, Billy Brown, Happy Ending, Love Today, Underwater, Origin, Elle Me Dit and Drunk from his older albums, Live Your Life as a special song for the Spanish audience and Boum Boum Boum and Good Guys from the new album (not in this order of course). The gig got better song by song and even I couldn’t totally feel the usual gig adrenaline I really enjoyed the evening and loved especially some particular songs like Live Your Life after not hearing it for a very long time. Hope to hear it soon again if not in his regular set at least every now and then.
Boum Boum Boum was – once again – one of my biggest favorites, I really like the way it’s performed live with the piano and it was definitely one the highlights in Barcelona. Underwater is one of my all time favorites but there’s something too loud in the current live version and it always disturbs a little bit. It’s obviously done on purpose (otherwise they would have fixed it already) but I can’t understand or explain why and my mind was wandering during the song a bit. As soon as Billy Brown started I realized it’s such a comfort song. I guess there is a need for songs like that and even it wasn’t on the printed setlist in Barcelona it was performed as usual.
I was already a bit disappointed that he didn’t do more new songs but Last Party was saved for the encore together with Lollipop and I absolutely LOVED it! One of my favorite ever versions and would have alone made my trip to Barcelona worth while. Definitely my favorite part of the gig.
The audience wasn’t really enthusiastic but there were a lot of funny moments between Mika and his fans. One of the Spanish fans was asked on stage to translate Mika (the situation was hilarious) and another one got credit for the Spanish additions for Drunk. In the end of the show Mika jumped in the middle of the audience and sang a bit standing on the seats and it surely increased the party feeling together with the usual confetti which is always my personal favorite no matter how many times I’ve experienced it, I love it.
I had thought he must be a bit jet lagged or exhausted after super busy promotion schedules but he told later while chatting with his fans that the gig felt a bit harder than usually because of several reasons/last minutes changes like a new musician in the band. We all assured Mika he had done incredibly well despite of the challenges. I had already thought during the gig that the new bassist did well and was brave smiling through the gig even the situation was totally new for him and he obviously had to follow the rest of the band to keep up. Tim was super sweet smiling to the front row looking so kind and I made a special note to myself how much I like Joy’s current role, I really enjoy her part in several songs. Even Salla mentioned Joy and Happy Ending which was her favorite song in Barcelona together with Love Today, Relax, Good Guys and Last Party.
We got the sweetest ending for the night and I loved it that Mika tweeted after leaving the venue thanking his fans and I’m sure it made everyone reading it smile. Thanks everyone I met in Barcelona (good to see so many people I hadn’t met for a while) and thanks Becks for organizing a little flower and food surprise, I hope our pop star enjoyed it. A couple of pics below are taken by Salla.
Had a beautiful day at Caribana Festival near Geneva on Sunday. Everything went well and was perfectly organized as always at Swiss festivals. The festival took a good care of people during the day making sure we had enough water, shadow, sunscreen and toilets available. The security was surprisingly strict during and after the gig though, didn’t allow most cameras in front and actually pushed people in an unpleasantly hard way when couldn’t understand their instructions given in French quickly enough but generally the atmosphere was cheerful and relaxed with lots of families and kids in the audience. So much fun to meet so many people I haven’t seen for a while!
The line up
The line up was good and both my husband and I enjoyed watching the acts before Mika, especially young Marcos Cabanas (so sweet and sympathetic) and Jetlakes (very energetic). James Gruntz is surely popular and a great artist but maybe not the best possible choice for this particular audience.
Already posted some Mika photos here. He came on stage and looked tired (making me a bit worried about him as we all know he wasn’t well a few days ago) but managed to do an excellent, full-lenght show with an extra French song I hadn’t heard performed live before. I really enjoyed his performance and had my fangirl mode on from the beginning of the show to the very end of it.
I simply loved everything I saw and adored not just every single song but also his dancing, facial expressions and every little gesture he did with the audience (which was much better than average festival audiences btw). Embarrassing and a bit silly but it’s good to know that after all these concerts/shows I’m definitely not immune to his stage charm, lol! My husband was very impressed as well and actually pointed out how some songs he thought he didn’t like that much made totally sense seen/heard live (very pleased with his reaction of course). A few pics and some vids I took with my mobile below.
The last Mika concert for the summer was at Rock Oz’Arènes Festival in Avenches, Switzerland. The gig was night before Mika’s 30th birthday so I bought my ticket in good time and wouldn’t have missed it in the world. So happy I was able to do this festival. It was one of my favorite ever shows and we had so much fun during the show and after it. The venue was quite small (as a festival venue) and probably had a great view from the seated area. However, this was a special night so even the stage was high I wanted to be as near it as possible and to enjoy watching everything from a close distance. A lot of fans had arrived to see the gig and I loved meeting my MFC friends (thank you everyone, you know who you are). The gates were opened at 4 PM and the schedule started at 6 PM.
The line up wasn’t anything special. The first band was a good party band but to tell the truth I would have enjoyed their music more without their female vocalist. The sound was so poor I couldn’t even recognize the language she used. Could be French, could be English, I have no idea. I loved a couple of the musicians though, they were totally on fire.
The second band played rap/electronic music and the front row filled up with young boys and girls. I let a 11 yo boy come in front of me and he seemed to enjoy almost as much as I enjoy Mika shows. I mostly concentrated on watching the audience and their contact with the band, the music wasn’t my personal taste and I couldn’t understand the lyrics but they weren’t bad on stage at all. Later I was told their lyrics are actually really disturbing and even homophobic. I was so disappointed, I almost couldn’t believe it. It’s one thing to have ignorant, narrow opinions and another (even worse) thing to teach them to innocent kids. The audience was mostly kids and preteens. How come the parents didn’t seem to care? How come any respectable festival hires bands like this? What’s wrong with this world? I don’t like it that I need to come down from my soft, happy Mika cloud and face ugly things like this.
The people working for the festival looked almost as excited about Mika’s birthday surprise as we fans and they were nice updating us several times before it was Mika’s turn to be on stage. We had bought little lighted balloons to wave them exactly at midnight and the festival staff promised to show time on the screens and ask the whole audience to show their mobiles with lights (so everything would look nice and lighted to wish Mika happy birthday). They also promised to bring us a Happy Birthday banner and told they have a little cake to give him at midnight. See everything happening on the Origin video below, it’s from my point of view so it’s not possible to read the banner of course. Loving the festival style ending for Origin, btw.
He came on stage and started with the French ballad and as I’ve said I have mixed feelings about this decision (sometimes it’s not strong enough for the first song) but I loved it in Avenches as much I did in Albi, it was a beautiful contrast to the noisy rap band before him. I was quickly back on my cloud and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. The concert was fantastic and probably my favorite for this summer. He didn’t do any extra songs or didn’t add anything special to the songs (anything I hadn’t heard before) but he did a really intensive show and was focused all the time, taking a lot of contact with the audience and adding funny little details to his performance. He had fun with hats, balloons, confetti and the cake he got at midnight and he teased the band and made them do funny things (lie on the piano, wear cake on their head) and the band naturally let him have his fun (well he is the boss and it was even his birthday).
The evening was emotional and during Underwater I felt tears in my eyes, I couldn’t help it, because it was so beautiful and because I realized I won’t hear it again for a very long time. The front row was full of Mika fans and the security looked surprised to see our dance moves for every song (Billy GK, Brown, Drunk, LT etc) and I think Mika saw how many fans had come to celebrate his birthday and he gave us a lot of attention and smiles. And even it was the last show for the tour and his birthday (and he must have looked forward to some private partying) he didn’t show any hurry on stage but concentrated to the audience and generously let us be a part of his birthday celebrations and have fun with him and it felt really good and was important to every fan who came to see the show.
I don’t think we could have had any better way to end the tour. The situation after the show was very crowded but his team knew we had a collective present to give him from his whole fan club and was very helpful (even they were busy) organizing us a possibility to go to back stage. See the video about Mika receiving his gift here. Not sure if it really was a surprise to him or if there was a bit of acting but it was sweet and kind and definitely good enough for me and I think he genuinely appreciated the gift (a huge thank you to the fan club moderators who organized the gift and made it possible for everyone to take part, loved the idea behind it). It was too crowded to have proper personal conversations with him but I really appreciated a possibility to congratulate him on his birthday and I think his team was very generous tolerating such a big group of fans.
For Mika ending the tour means moving on from one exciting thing to another exciting thing whereas for his fans it means waiting and missing him and his shows. And I’ve always thought it’s not possible for him to understand how important his shows can be for a fan (how could it be?) but the special and kind moments he gave us during the past few weeks made me think he might understand after all. He is a very kind person. Now we have so many lovely concert memories to remember while waiting for new music and new shows. Of course it’s not that I will just sit at home and feel depressed. Ending the tour means also concentrating on some other good things in my life. Still, there are so many different things that remind me of Mika and make me miss his music. Things like practically every country and city I’ve ever visited, traveling in general, trains and planes. Food, wines and breakfasts I’ve had while traveling to gigs. Dogs like Mel, chandeliers, balloons and colors, some clothes I’ve been wearing at his shows, my green lucky shoes, some books and movies, and – especially after his instructions – pouring champagne.
A fantastic, very emotional show in Switzerland night before Mika’s 30th birthday. I loved the show and have a lot of details to tell about it and the whole festival. The audience wished Happy Birthday exactly at midnight and after the show his fan club had a possibility to to give Mika his birthday gift. I hope he enjoyed the gift as much as it looked. I had tears in my eyes during the gig because it was the last one for this year (and I don’t like endings in general) but it’s a new chapter and all that. Many good things waiting for us in the future. More about the show later when back home.
I was lucky to see the Sziget festival in Budapest on Saturday for the first time and was totally amazed. For everyone who wants to experience a proper old-fashioned pop/rock festival in every possible sense – Sziget is your place to go. Endless days and nights good quality music, totally wild and crazy audience with human pyramids and crowd surfing and the best festival security I’ve ever seen. The line up for Saturday (and looks that for the other days as well) was extremely good. It was an honor for Mika to be a headliner, imo, and he seemed to enjoy it.
The first act called Enter Shikari played hard alternative rock with a very strong attitude and even I wouldn’t listen to something like that voluntary at home I loved experiencing their show (which could easily be compared a roller coaster ride, “thank god, it’s finally over and survived” lol!). They had a mad fan base bouncing around the venue and first I was really afraid to be in front row, but their crazy fans (at least the one directly behind me) were actually very respectful and obviously tried to be very careful not to harm anyone. The security was amazing and incredibly smiling. They patiently helped dozens and dozens of crowd surfers and gently walked them out holding their hands. Never seen anything like that and for the first time ever at concerts/festivals (and I’ve seen many) I loved watching the security guy in front of me and genuinely wanted to tell him “please don’t leave me, you make me feel so safe”. Awesome work.
The second act The Fratellis was like a relaxed break between the other two intensive shows before Mika and my favorite of these three acts. Not really special or super entertaining but still pleasant rock’n roll and gave me time to have a little rest, listen and dance. Very much enjoyed their performance.
The third band was called The Editors and seemed to be very popular at Sziget. Good quality music and professional stage performing but a bit too adult and mainstream for my taste. (Just read they are described “alternative”. Really?). The audience loved them and jumped and screamed using a lot of energy and looked already a bit tired when Mika finally started (making me almost worried) and to tell the truth Relax wasn’t as energetic and good start as it usually is. However, the situation like that is only a challenge to an artist like Mika and took only a couple of songs from the audience to totally warm up for his show. I knew it would happen, the Sziget audience was a fantastic element for a great gig and he did one of his best festival shows. He added some very suitable extra details like an exciting dance ending for Origin and a fierce Make You Happy part before sitting in front of the piano for Happy Ending, loved them both. Emily/EMD was more relaxed and energetic than last time I saw it, very much liked it (and Live Your Life as well for the same reason). Underwater was simply super powerful (see the vid below the photos).
I loved the show and felt lucky to be there, so happy I decided to include Sziget in my plans. Thank you to everyone I met at the festival, not only to my Mika friends but also the Editors fans I met in front. Such polite and helpful people, it was a pleasure.
Istanbul is a beautiful city and a fascinating cultural mix, I loved the vibe and wish I could have spent a few more days walking around the city (and eating, the local food is fantastic…). The architectural view is breathtaking, and the atmosphere surprisingly European (making the city safe and easy for an average traveller). I love the Turkish attitude and how people seem to be determined to succeed combining hard work and being friendly. The staff working for the parking area around the venue offered us hot tea and played with the huge dogs living near the park and the security was polite and helpful.
My husband and I did some sightseeing on Saturday and I used hours taking photos of beautiful blue and green tiles (beautiful color combinations) and was amazed in Hagia Sophia (it must be one of the most impressive buildings I’ve ever seen).
The concert venue for the show on Sunday was a large plain tent in a big park. The tent had some kind of a heating system but it was still cold and ugly and the atmosphere was not typical for a Mika concert at all. People were let in at 7 PM as promised and the tent was not even half full that time. The DJ played way too long for my taste and I didn’t even feel the usual excitement before the show. Obviously the organizers still knew what they were doing and during the DJ set the tent started to fill up and the locals seemed to love the DJ music and were ready for the show. The audience turned out to be a very good one, singing and dancing through the concert. The girls in front screamed a lot and people threw enormous amounts of stuff on stage (lol, never seen anything like that!) but the overall vibe was very positive, Mika seemed to enjoy it and after a couple of songs he was full of energy too. The band was playing fine (even they had a new drummer and they probably hadn’t much rehearsed together) but was mostly on the background and didn’t have their usual roles. I didn’t mind (even I usually love watching the band as well, having fun on stage and working together) because my attention was totally focused on Mika anyway and I just wanted to listen and watch him singing. I saw him last time in Iceland and already missed his gigs.
There were moments when I couldn’t hear his voice but it was still much better than before Christmas, imo. The stage was very simple and looked good that way.
I really enjoyed the gig, and the mood and atmosphere got better and better during the show. The setlist says he did the following songs and I can’t remember anything to add:
Mika asked one of the fans to play piano with him during Billy Brown and it was a really sweet moment and the audience loved it (see the vid below). The girl on stage had probably the time of her life and I thought, once again, how I love this artist for being so kind and making people so happy. The new songs worked well and all my favorites were from the new album: Popular, Origin, UW, Drunk and EMD. I guess I wasn’t properly awaken during Lola and the audience was disturbing Stardust a bit so I couldn’t enjoy it as much as usually. No extra songs or any special treats, but the mood was fantastic and I had a great time. I was totally hooked from the beginning (well, maybe not from the very beginning but after a couple of songs) till the end and I couldn’t stop smiling long after the show. It’s good to see him performing like this. He seems to be genuinely excited about the upcoming US tour and promised it will be joyful playing with many different instruments, acoustic and intimate. Very much looking forward to it.