A few more pics of the new “cartoon city” stage setting before I lost them in my photo archives. I loved the idea of colorful houses as soon as I saw the album cover and knew to expect to see the same on stage. The idea works even better than I thought in advance. The stage we saw in the US was a test (Mika’s words after the NYC show) so he is probably doing a slightly improved version for the future gigs and I hope the stage will evolve during the tour depending on the venue and stage size like happened in 2010 during the Imaginarium Tour.
Before the gig started the city was kind of sleeping in the moon light (above) but it woke up the moment Mika and the band appeared (below) and I realized it’s a place for countless of stories and the perfect location for all his characters and songs to come alive. Such a cool idea.
Lights gave the stage different tones and moods from day light city views to the dreamiest and gloomiest night time scenes (like pink ones below) but as this was the first time I saw it I can’t yet tell how well everything fit for songs and their themes – too many new things happening for me to register everything – but I love it how this simple setting offers a lot material to work with and I hope they will use the idea properly.
In the end of the show my imagination simply started to add cartoon like effects everywhere, I couldn’t help it. Pink and red hearts flew out from people’s eyes and little bouncing sound effect bubbles appeared above the jumping and dancing audience. You know, things that happen to us at Mika gigs.
Mika performed at Gasometer in Vienna on the 5th of November. During the windy afternoon only a handful of us hardcore fans bothered to queue and most local fans arrived just before the doors were opened. When Tim (the guitarist) arrived and asked if anyone liked to join the choir only a couple of fans volunteered. For many fans Vienna was the only opportunity to see the show this autumn and they preferred to see it properly from the audience. I told Tim I would love to be in the choir but to tell the truth I can’t sing well enough. Tim assured that the main idea was to dance and have fun on stage and that there would be several of us and I shouldn’t worry too much so I promised to give it a try.
I’m really glad I did, I had such a great time and I enjoyed every moment! Our polkadot choir was multinational and had six members from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Finland. I knew some of the other girls in advance and we all had a lot fun together first practicing with the band and Mika, then waiting and chatting in our dressing room and eventually singing as a choir on stage.
First the band helped us to go through the songs in our dressing room and it was the first time I could spend some time with the new band and I loved how kind and supportive they all were, so humble and friendly to everyone even they are so professional and used to work with stars. Next we rehearsed on stage practicing also our dancing and moves and suddenly Mika joined us, looking a bit sleepy, so handsome and casual wearing jeans and a blue sweater.
He started to sing and we were allowed to watch the whole soundcheck on stage. This is always my favorite part, I love watching him preparing/practicing for the show (always so impressive). We met Mrs Penniman and she gave us our outfits and some good advices to help us on stage later. I admire her patience and kindness and this time she told us about the touring and asked some questions about our countries, traveling and lives in general.
We got the setlist and were told we would be on stage with Mika during eight songs singing some pre-chorus and chorus parts. Eight songs!!! It’s really something different than being on stage two minutes during one song. I enjoyed everything happening and wasn’t a bit nervous while rehearsing with Mika and the band but as I’ve always been afraid of performing in front of an audience/people my mind went totally blank during the show and I can’t remember all the details. I just did my best following Karin’s (who lead the choir) dancing because the main idea was to look like a choir and have a synchronized moves and also remembering the right parts to sing. It wasn’t so easy because we didn’t have much time to practice and as usual Mika added some surprise elements like killing us on stage (so we had to improvise falling down).
We were told in advance to smile and have a good time whatever happened and that was actually very easy because we were on stage next to Mika: I loved being there, watching the audience and being a part of the show. Mika added Toy Boy to the setlist during the show so we were able to watch it from a very close distance and I absolutely loved every second and couldn’t help but having a stupid happy smile on my face after the song. We could watch the songs we didn’t participate first from the audience and later from the side of the stage and the stage manager showed us the way back to the stage when needed.
I had to concentrate on my own singing and dancing so I couldn’t observe Mika and his performing the same way as I usually do. After the show Mrs Penniman told us that she saw this wasn’t an easy show for him (and as his mother she can surely notice these things). One of us asked later Mika if he enjoyed performing that night and he told us how every show is different. I understood this wasn’t an easy one but that he still managed to enjoy the show in the end. The audience was good and enthusiastic even the show wasn’t sold out this time and I could see the whole crowd responding him.
We waited a good while to have our moment with him after the show and eventually he came and was really, really sweet and kind and spent some time with us joking, signing our backstage stickers/setlists etc and taking pics. I wonder if he knew I was worried about my singing because he made a little bit fun of it and looked just amused and not annoyed at all and made me be feel a lot better.
He offered to take individual photos with everyone so we could have a memory of our experience and I took photos for the other girls and Karin took a photo of Mika and me. I told him it’s my first photo with him and he looked really surprised and put his arm around me and gave the camera the most adorable smile ever. Naturally my heart went all pum pa pa pum pa pa pum pa pa tadadidadidum and it was obviously so lovely that I closed my eyes. Can’t believe it, such a sweet picture and my eyes are closed! Karin took another pic and that time our eyes were open but in that one Mika looks a bit maniac (he was probably trying to keep his eyes open and not blink them, lol) and I look a bit uncomfortable (as always when on the wrong side of the camera) so I will show you the dreaming one. Hahah, at least the atmosphere is authentic; I guess I really was that embarrassingly happy. Oh, pay attention to our matching colors!
Asking fans on stage is already a tradition and gives us a feeling of being a part of the Mika world (and it’s not only about being there myself but also seeing my friends there like I did last night in Munich). The polkadot choir is again a huge work to his band, crew and family so it makes me think he genuinely appreciates his fans offering them opportunities to be on stage with him. Personally I love watching what’s happening behind the scenes, a lot of professional people but also a warm atmosphere and a huge involvement from his family (and I value seeing things like that). What a great day in many ways, thanks everyone who made it possible/so much fun!
The chandeliers were my favorite part of the new Marie Antoinette set and I uploaded a few pictures to show them more detailed (just click the pics to see them bigger). Some color pics below to see how they look in day light/dark/colored lighting. Everything was fitting together very well (paintings + chandeliers + costumes) and the atmosphere was totally different than in his previous show, I really enjoyed watching something new and different. As you can see the chandeliers were quite useful and funny during the show to lean on/hang.
I promised to make a photo post from Balaton Sound Festival with pictures of Big Girls and Lollipop Girls. I’m sorry the pics are not very good quality, it was a hectic situation, but I thought the girls in the pics might want to see them in any case and have them as a memory. Hahah, the girl Mika is hugging looks a bit suffering but believe me, she was having the time of her life. Check the end of this post, I linked BG and Lollipop vids (filmed by Balazs).
I uploaded some pictures of the background paintings just to show how visual the Marie Antoinette setting looks. So if you haven’t seen the new stage setting or can’t remember all the details, just click the pics to make them bigger and have a look. The first picture above is from Ajaccio, Corsica and all the rest from Les Ardentes Summer Festival, Liege. I love it how the idea is so simple but also full of details at the same time and the new setting looks really impressive even at a large stage.
Everything looks really easy and simple but they must have put so much effort to this show. The whole show is like a huge theatre play. See how well the costumes fit together with the paintings? I feel so lucky I was able to see the show in Compiégne and Corsica, can’t think more suitable venues for the new setting and costumes.
Mika likes to make things look a bit darker though, maybe in order to have some contrast in his shows, and the effect is always surreal and magical. The first three pictures are from the Parc des Princes concert (7/2008 and then the clown stage setting from Cattolica (8/2010). Btw, I would love to know how he feels about his own modern touring life.
I really liked the beginning of the Arena Tour shows, spacewalking in a space suit combined to a newsflash (will blog about that later) followed by Relax. Seeing him in a space suit reminds me of a movie called Valentin, which Mika blogged about a couple of years ago. I often watch the movies he recommends, not because I automatically think I will like them but because I’m interested in what kind movies/books/music he likes. This one I loved though, it’s a very good movie.
A few pics from the Arena Tour above and the vid below from Halle Tony Garnier, Lyon (4/2010). I wonder, btw, if his childhood dream was walking in space or spacewalking on stage, thousands of people screaming his name. Maybe both.
Oh, I love bin drumming moments! Sounds so silly – to enjoy so much watching someone drumming garbage bins – but it’s amazingly addictive. Mika has that fantastic, mad look in his eyes. I love it. Suddenly it feels perfectly normal to be a little bit mad. Actually, it’s a good thing to be a bit mad. Let’s be mad together.
At the same time bin drumming feels sad. It tells you that the show is almost over. And Mika shows are always too short. Thanks for coming, see you next time. If everything goes well, if your lucky perfume does not fail you. I know, life is always like that, good things come to an end. While drumming, everything is still possible. It’s madness, and I love it.