It was wonderful to be back in Italy. I love Italy almost as much as France, just in a very different way. France feels almost like home, I could actually imagine living in Paris. Italy is a place to go for holidays. This time only for one day and whereas Paris is an easy destination, traveling to Verona was far more complicated. Obviously there are no direct flights from Helsinki and I booked mine quite last minute so I had to take two and then a train from Milan to Verona.

I arrived Verona late afternoon after traveling since early morning and walked to Arena di Verona which is a gorgeous, gorgeous venue. First thing to see was the circus around the entrance. The area around the gates was crowded, absolutely full of people. The artists kept coming, people were screaming and the singers signed and took photos on their way in and cameras naturally filmed everything. I took a few pics from further away and no Mika there but there’s a small clip on my instagram about his arrival in case someone wants to see it. He used a generous amount of time to shake hands and to take photos with people before entering (and did the same also later when leaving the venue) and mentioned afterwards how happy the vibe was. People were happy indeed. Everyone is incredibly happy to have him back.

Mika was the only international artist at the event, otherwise the line-up was fully Italian and every artist performed only one or two songs or did a small medley. The event started and we had to watch at least 15 artists before seeing Mika performing Ice Cream and then some more artists before he did Relax. I enjoyed watching the artists before him, the schedule was busy and every new singer was on stage right after the previous one had finished and I could recognize many of them. Italian style is more trashy than classy and I know that doesn’t sound like a compliment but I say it with warmth because the style brings my mind a lot of childhood memories. Italian pop hits, both originals and translated covers, were popular in my country when I was a child and many tunes feel weirdly familiar which makes it easy for me to enjoy them.

It was finally time for Ice Cream and we saw first his group and then Mika himself and my seat was far away so I took photos to catch as many details as possible to check them later. Only a couple of minutes and the song was over. For Relax the time felt almost equally short because the people in front of me suddenly stood up and I couldn’t see much at all. After Relax I left with the Italian girls and saw Mika leaving the venue as well (too many people there to actually see his face) and then headed to have something to eat and to have some rest before taking a 5 a’clock train to Milan and a flight to Paris.

While sitting in the train and plane I had a look at my photos and thought how much I had waited to see Mika on stage, how quick it all had felt and how hard it was to spot him in the middle of his dancers, there was a lot of distraction on stage. Also, I felt a little bit confused after the performance. Only a few days earlier I heard him telling his ambitions are extremely artistic (and that commercial will follow) which is something we all want to hear from our favorite artist. In Verona I saw the most commercial performance I’ve seen from him and that confused me. Saying one thing and doing the opposite thing is always confusing. It’s easier if the actions confirm the words. Obviously, single promotion is supposed to be commercial and if I think it rationally it all makes sense. Right after the performance my first feeling was confused.

I had waited for his performance but eventually was too distracted to focus on it. Whenever Mika adds new people or elements to his performance my first question is “does it add value to it”. The audience is supposed to only experience it but after seeing many performances it’s hard not to think the way I do. I use Ida as an example. Not only does she sound amazingly beautiful, her presence makes also Mika sound even more beautiful than without her. That means seeing her on stage adds a lot of value to the performance. At the moment dancers are a distract, not only to the audience but to Mika as well. That will change of course. Later when everyone knows each other well they can all have fun together which naturally adds a lot of positive energy to the performance.

So I have no doubts Mika can make his group work. I have watched him on stage many years and he can always, always make things work. If something doesn’t immediately work he starts to iterate (excuse the mathematical term but I think it describes the process well) and tries different combinations until finds the best one and in the end the atmosphere is just right, exactly something it’s supposed to be.

I want to like this new concept and for that I need to learn to know the new group better. With the guys it’s easy because I liked them already as a thought. The idea with instruments is cool. And I met one of them and he was really nice and I was impressed. It was unexpected, I hadn’t thought they would be that nice. With the girls it’s more complicated because they don’t have a clear role, there’s lack of context. I’m not sure if they are supposed to be Ice Cream Girls (compared to Lollipop girls/Big Girls) or individual dance artists. The latter one would allow them to show their personality which would make it easier for people to like them. I hope my words make sense. In any case, I’m sure the result will be good, things are still in the very beginning.

This is such an important time period, not only to catch new potential people but also to keep the existing ones excited. People are anxious to hear the new music and already look forward to the new tour and want to get a taste and know everything is as creative as they are used to. A few pics below to describe the busyness I saw in Verona. The dancers are photogenic but there’s a lot happening on stage so it’s not easy to spot Mika.

I travelled back to Paris and tickets for the Revelation Tour came on sale on Wednesday (pre-sale) and on Friday (general sale) and I bought myself a ticket for each show to be able to later decide which ones I want to or can go (at least I think I did, ticket buying is messy). Of course I bought tickets, happy to finally be able to do it. We still have to wait a few months for the album and I feel impatient about it. If the album is as special and personal as Mika says I will review it in a somehow special and personal way as well and do something different than my usual written review. Not sure what it could be, I need to plan something during summer X