Before the big official Heaven Tour Mika did some pre-tour gigs, mini tours and festivals to promote his new album No Place In Heaven like he always does around the time a new album is out. In May 2015 I saw two lovely small gigs in the US. The gig at Verboten in Brooklyn was super intimate and special. The second one at Webster Hall in New York day after that was energetic and funny and introduced his new colourful cartoon stage based on the No Place In Heaven album illustrations. After that Mika headed to a small Asia tour and I saw two gigs in Japan and as always enjoyed both the traveling and this exciting time period with new songs.
The summer continued in Europe with good and memorable festival performances including also some extremely special gigs in Italy like Milan Fabrique, Teatro Antique Taormina (one of the most beautiful venues in the world) and absolutely fantastic Cattolica. Among the 2015 summer festivals were a fun small festival in Switzerland, a sophisticated seated event in Spain, several cheerful French events and the legendary old-school Colors of Ostrava where Mika did one of his all time best festival performances.
The official Heaven Tour started in Rennes, France, and this first gig of the tour was one of my personal favourites of the whole tour and seeing the incredible, massive new stage setting designed together with Studio Job felt almost as exciting as seeing some of my first ever concerts. The excitement was unbelievable. A surprise after surprise appeared on stage and I could hardly handle it, the whole night was full of (figurative) fireworks and adrenaline explosions.
The show began with a special intro and at the same time a huge sign telling HEAVEN above the stage started to sparkle. No Place In Heaven was performed in front of a little caravan that later during the show unfolded like a small mechanical theatre that reminded me of old-fashioned amusement parks and had a text PARADISE continuing the heaven theme. In the middle of the stage was a giant decorated gate that could symbolically be seen as a gate to heaven or hell. My favourite part of the setting was a huge crystal-decorated shiny globe that came down from the ceiling during some songs as a reference to earth.
We saw many, many great gigs in Europe during the autumn. Several of them were in France but also the energetic Madrid gig, Adelphi in London and the lovely gig in Luxembourg are surely worth mentioning. In Luxembourg the venue was small and the gig cozy and warm and when I look at the setlist it looks absolutely incredible. I have fond memories from this small, intimate gig and hearing songs like No Place In Heaven, Good Wife, Good Guys, Promiseland and Last Party and from the French songs Boum Boum Boum and L’amour.
After Christmas Mika took his tour to Asia and I saw the full Asia tour that included three shows in Korea, two in Japan, one in Hong Kong and three more in mainland China. It's always extremely emotional to see Mika touring in countries that can only rarely see him. This was his first proper tour in China and the vibe was very special and different compared to anything I had seen before. After Asia he did a couple of festivals in Europe (Rock In Rio in Lisbon being one of his biggest audiences) and in May continued in Baltic Countries and the Czech Republic before the big show at AccorHotels Arena, also known as Bercy, in Paris.
The gig at Bercy in May 2016 was a spectacle and had massive show elements. The setlist was quite similar as at the other gigs that time with a couple of added French songs. I will always remember how amazingly impressive the Underwater performance was and my other personal favourites were lovely Happy Ending, powerful Last Party and beautiful Les Baisers Perdus and the special circus performance related to it.
Bercy was ambitious and as gorgeous as I had expected. The next day it felt good and somehow suitable to experience a particularly relaxed gig in Strasbourg. After that was Grenoble and of course London Palladium which was one of the highlights of the tour before the Italian and French summer tours. After Bercy some new show elements like the big lighted Arc de Triomphe and massive throne were added to the stage setting. In Grenoble and London Mika's friend Alex did a guest appearance during Over My Shoulder which was a very special detail.
In addition to older Mika songs we heard songs like Ordinary Man, Porcelain and Hurts. In France Mika occasionally added French songs and in Italy Beautiful Disaster. Especially during the later parts of the Heaven Tour we heard small changes and surprises at every gig and each show was very carefully planned. I’ve never seen two totally identical Mika shows and that’s one of the things I particularly appreciate.
One of my favourite French summer shows was Arena de Nimes where we heard absolutely breathtaking No Place In Heaven and during the Italian summer tour Mika did a gig in Palermo, Sicily, and his setlist there was one of the most memorable ever. I can still remember how unbelievable it was to hear all the usual Italy favourites Stardust, Beautiful Disaster and Hurts together with Step With Me, Good Wife, Promiseland and Last Party. All are songs Mika performed regularly or at least occasionally but never all of them during one gig.