Concert memories: Imaginarium/Arena Tour highlights 2010
The 2010 shows were based on the first two albums and offered massive theatrical elements and maybe for that reason became huge fan favorites we all like to look back from time to time. The photo above was taken a few months before the Imaginarium tour started during the TBWKTM album promotion and I assume preparations or at least planning for the tour had already started that time.
I like to watch how tours evolve from beginning to the end and it was important for me to see especially the first gigs in Belfast and Dublin and the last ones in Netherlands and Luxembourg and of course there were many fantastic shows between them. From Ireland the tour went to London, then to Scandinavia and then to other parts of Europe before continuing as “Arena Tour” (meaning bigger venues) in France and some other European countries. After Luxembourg there was a little break for me and then the tour continued with summer festivals including the Baltic area and my home town Helsinki which naturally was my dream come true. What a busy year it was.
The Imaginarium setlist was based on both LICM and TBWKTM but naturally included only a part of the new songs and I felt very lucky I had heard a couple more songs during the 2009 North America Tour (One Foot Boy and Pick Up Of The Floor from Boston) and By The Time (with King’s Singers) at Union Chapel in London.
I went through my old notebook and found a few setlists from the tour and added them below to show how the song list evolved during the spring. There’s no city mentioned in the last one but it could be from one of the big shows in the end of the tour (maybe Marseille because I was on stage there) but in any case it gives an example of the changes.
The first song I want to share is Rain which in the beginning of the tour started the show with a special school boy scene starring David as young Mika (a giant notebook on the background) and later during the tour included an impressive nightmare intro where a character with an animal mask took Mika under the stage. Even this happened years ago watching these videos can still bring it all easily back to my mind and I can well remember how exciting, almost scary the nightmare scene was.
As you can see from the setlist Relax was first done almost in the end of the show and I chose a video from Copenhagen with the chair dance in it. Later the song was in the beginning of the show like it often is with an amazing intro where Mika walks in the air as an astronaut and I chose a video of that from Lyon. The space walk and the newsflash related to it – a clip that was shown on the background starring sir Ian McKellen – is one of my favorite theatrical elements Mika has used in his shows because it was so Mika style and somehow so perfectly described his personality.
2010 was not the first time I saw Ida on stage with Mika, I had seen her several times the year before, and she felt familiar already and her part in Good Gone Girl wearing a glamorous blue dress was one of my favorites during the whole tour. I added below Good Gone Girl from Amsterdam and Happy Ending from Stockholm (also with Ida). Below that Happy Ending from Dublin simply because it’s one of the my dearest Happy Ending memories.
Many songs on the setlist included something colorful and theatrical. Dr John was not among my favorite songs on the album and afterwards when it was not on the setlist any more I’ve often thought I didn’t give the performance enough credit and that the feather coat was really an incredibly fabulous detail.
Another detail I didn’t give enough credit that time was the weird puppet we saw on stage during Toy Boy. Luckily we still hear Toy Boy every now and then, even during symphony concerts, but I haven’t seen the puppet ever since and in a twisted way kind of miss it. I added a video from Vienna. In the beginning of the vid Mika thanks the audience and it sounds like another polite thank you but I think he really meant what he said because the audience was absolutely fantastic and the energy was wonderful and after all these years and gigs I would still list the one I saw in Vienna 2010 among my top ten favorite gigs.
I guess one of the reasons why this tour became so memorable for fans was the way Mika included the audience in every single show. Before every gig his team collected a group of fans and dressed them as Lollipop Girls and Big Girls and the group was on stage during the death march (wearing giant masks) and in the end of the show. The death march was a weird, dark element and I added a Love Today video from Berlin so you can see a group of fans marching in the beginning.
I can tell it wasn’t easy at all because it wasn’t possible to see much through the mask. I was on stage as a Big Girl in Marseille and the whole trip was one the funniest and most special experiences ever. Many flights were cancelled due to the volcano in Iceland and I had to take several trains to get from Helsinki to Marseille. I travelled a couple of days and arrived Marseille late afternoon and walked almost directly on stage to get instructions for the show, naturally in French so I couldn’t understand a word.
My second time on stage was also in South France (a couple of years later in Nice) and every time I travel in these parts of France I meet someone I learnt to know during those short stage moments. I rarely meet these people otherwise but I can always feel we have something in common just because we were on stage together. Such a cool experience.
Another dark detail on the Imaginarium Tour was the shooting scene where Mika “killed” his whole band and himself. It was funny at the time but the sad fact is I’m not sure he would do it again in the world and situation we live today, it might not feel appropriate, not now when many scary things are happening for real. I added videos from Paris and Helsinki. The Helsinki gig was later that summer and yes, Jimmy is desperately trying to bring that giant, soft toyboy back to life. So funny!
I started my post with the WAG poster so I’m also finishing it with WAG and chose this video from Luxembourg below. Luxembourg was the last gig of the official imaginarioum/Arena tour but of course not the last gig of that year. Those were exciting times, so many good memories.