Gig reviews: Mika @ Festival des Nimes, France
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).
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.
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