Festival Grandes Marées in Jullouville, France 27/7/2022

Festival Grandes Marées we saw in Jullouville, Normandy, turned out to be personally more special to me than I expected in advance. During Underwater I was asked to come on stage for a moment and as much as the thought of being in front of people scared me I wanted to say yes to this kind offer and it was indeed absolutely lovely to have a small direct interaction with Mika. During concerts that happens only rarely even though I’m almost always there. There’s always a big crowd to impress and many people to interact with. This time I got this special experience and it definitely came out of the blue and I was totally surprised to find myself suddenly on stage where I was smoothly thrown by a helpful security guy. 

 The event itself was organised in a tent but the location was next to a beach and the seaside surrounding was typical for the area. Grandes Marées is smaller and less known than some other festivals we have seen this summer and you could feel it also in the vibe. The photographers at Francofolies in La Rochelle seemed to be bigger stars than the artists on stage, shamelessly blocking the view with their giant equipments. In Normandy the photographers kept themselves low and we could actually see the full show. Not sure if that was asked by the festival because the stage was close and also moderately low but it was lovely and extremely considerate. 

 I enjoyed the gig a lot and the energy was once again extraordinary. The whole summer tour has been extraordinary, we have seen incredible performances. The circumstances have changed and for that reason the gigs have had different tones coming from historical venues or beach locations or festival concepts but the performance has always been absolutely wonderful and the energy good. Beautiful, beautiful gigs and this one in Normandy wasn’t an exception. 

 Having this rare direct interaction with Mika made me think of the connection we experience at gigs. In usual situations I feel the most connected with Mika when he’s totally focused either on his singing or his performing. When he directs his attention to singing and I direct mine to listening I feel that creates a strong connection, of course not literally between him and me but between an artist and a listener, if that makes sense. I enjoy his chatting because we often learn fascinating anecdotes and I enjoy big collective moments, those can be extremely powerful, but otherwise I find focused moments as the biggest source of the connection. 

 Acoustic parts in different songs are always my favourites. The latest version of Lollipop, the way Tiny Love starts and ends and the current version of Yo-Yo. The recorded version of Yo-Yo gives a slightly superficial vibe, I can’t find Mika in the song simply because I can’t hear his voice properly. The acoustic version is stunning. I can finally hear him in the song and after finding him there I actually love also the ending part of the song and the final Yo-Yo dance as well. It makes a difference to find the artist in the song and for that reason hearing the acoustic part feels so extremely important. 

 Tiny Love is always a highlight for me and it was that also in Jullouville. After Tiny Love on the setlist comes my oldest favourite Relax and right after that a full trilogy of highlights: Ice Cream, Boum Boum Boum and Yo-Yo, all three fantastic live songs. My favourite version of Ice Cream is from the North America Tour, we saw some intense dancing there. The current festival version is more chaotic. The audience is offering a lot of things on stage but all that is fun at festivals and suitable in that atmosphere.

 After Yo-Yo comes Underwater and as a personal ritual I put my camera (in Jullouville my mobile) down when the song starts. Underwater and Happy Ending are songs I really want to listen to. I purely focus on listening and always hope to see Mika focused on singing as well. In the end of Underwater there’s a part where the audience is asked to sing together and it’s always beautiful to see everyone holding their mobile lights. Before this moment Mika was talking to the crowd in French and I have to say I wasn’t even trying to catch his words, I just waited for the collective moment. Suddenly the girls told me oh he’s talking about you! It came as a total surprise, I couldn’t possibly see something like that coming. He mentioned Coachella, he used the word “discreet” which I took as a compliment and soon after that did gestures for me to come on stage to help him with the lights.

 I admit I felt a moment of fear. It’s totally out of character for me to look for attention or enjoy being in front of people. I still immediately knew that I want to go and that this time I want to say yes to his kind offer. I was once, years ago, asked the same way and that time I didn’t feel comfortable to be on stage. Later I thought that maybe one day I will have another opportunity and I will feel comfortable enough and that day was now. One of the security guys came to help and I let him do that and he just lifted me over the barrier and helped me on stage and that happened in an easy and effortless way which impressed me and suddenly I was there.

 Obviously it’s not a big thing to guide the crowd with their mobile lights but it was a big thing Mika asked me and it was a big thing for me to be there and to let people look at me. What warmed my heart most and still makes me feel love is that he seemed to understand I was out of my comfort zone. He was kind and sweet and smiling which made me feel at ease and thinking about that makes me still happy. It scared me to see the microphone on my level but it wasn’t for me, it was for him to be on the same level with me. Also, I felt alarmed when he went a bit further because I felt safer when he was near me but generally it all went quite well and it was soon over and I jumped back to the audience. Wow, the crowd looked so beautiful seen from the stage! 

 The girls who were in front sent me several pictures and I chose two to add below the post. I think those pictures show Mika’s kindness and my happiness and that’s what I will remember about the situation. I think they also show that even though I was nervous to be in front of people I still felt safe to be next to Mika because he’s good and sensitive with people that way. 

 A few words about the ending part of the show that includes several high energy songs. One of my biggest favourites this summer has been the beginning of Grace Kelly where we can hear a very, very strong piano part and I absolutely love that moment. At Grandes Marees the moment was if possible even stronger than ever before and I couldn’t stay still, I started to jump and I felt the adrenaline raising, it was wonderful. The best part was obviously Love Today. Mika is totally focused on the performance and the connection with the audience is huge, the whole venue is in a trance. I always thought it’s hard to top the Revelation Tour scene with the pink piano going high but the final Love Today with the cape feels equally amazing. It’s almost a small show inside of the show. The band plays powerfully, Mika is acting a mad character, he looks amazing, he moves like an acrobat and when the cape starts to fly everything becomes crazy and I’m thrilled like a child. I just want to keep jumping and to feel the air on my face and when I look around me I see that everyone – no matter what their age is – feels the same way. 

 What a fantastic ending and when the show is over there’s even a tiny dessert when the remix version of Yo-Yo starts to play and we see Mika and this time also the whole band dancing. Just a small moment but it leaves people satisfied. No one could ask more, the best way to end a gig is to feel that satisfied. Pictures of my small stage moment below by Cerice.

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