Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, US 12/4/2022

On Tuesday April 12th we were finally able to start the spring in North America. After some changes in the tour schedule the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn became the very first gig of the tour. The area looked a bit shady but the theatre located on Flatbush Avenue is a gorgeous, gorgeous venue. A historical one. An absolutely beautiful place for Mika to start the tour. The venue staff was professional and also extremely polite and patient and our presale tickets included an early entry so the experience was as smooth as it possibly could be.

What a feeling it was to see Mika walking on stage to climb on his piano to start Lollipop. I like this version of Lollipop. We have seen many good versions during years but I particularly like this simple one that leaves space to listen to his voice and watch his posing. He was finally there and it felt almost surreal to stand in the audience and watch him appear on stage. 

He started to sing wearing a dark plain outfit, no shirt underneath, looking beautiful and also extremely slim and vulnerable. During the second song Origin he suddenly ripped pieces of his suit revealing red areas on the fabric that looked like human muscles and veins on his arm, on his leg and even on his rib. He was obviously revealing something deep inside of him and even though the sight was odd I was absolutely fascinated and intrigued by the symbolism. 

 A few years ago I saw the Body Worlds exhibition built of real human bodies, using real veins, real vessels and muscles. The exhibition was both weirdly fascinating and somehow shocking and seeing Mika’s outfit reminded me of it. After the show called I my husband and told about the suit referring to the exhibition we saw together. “Macabre!” he said sounding thrilled and I agreed. I hope so much we will hear the full story behind this outfit. I hope the thought continues even though I’m aware not every show element gets an explanation. Many times ideas are thrown in the air just to provoke people, to make them create their own stories, to introduce them interesting visual elements.

After Origin Tiny Love was started at the piano and was as always beautifully, beautifully done. Such a beautiful part of the setlist. During Relax the jacket was gone and I love Relax, it felt good to hear it again but with this statue like sight in front of me I struggled deciding if I should focus on purely listening or taking photos and obviously I ended up doing the both. During Ice Cream we saw some gorgeous dancing, we saw that daring Mika that can be a surprise even to himself, and during the song (like during several other songs as well) he took flowers from the suitcases located on stage and threw them to the audience. The flowers ended up being quite messy and I wondered if we will see them in the future but also hoped that the theme wouldn’t be totally forgotten. Flowers are an important part of spring and the lovely tour illustrations with different flowers were a cool detail. I would like to remember each show for their flowers.

 After Ice Cream we saw Big Girl which is a must for North American audiences and Blame It On The Girls which has become a rare song. The latter one had been playing in my head for a while so I happily welcomed the live version and it brought back memories sounding fresh at the same time. After Blame It On The Girls it was time for the biggest ever surprise.

 It was time for PROMISELAND and what we actually saw was Hamed from Mashrou Leila on stage in front of us and I almost couldn’t believe it was happening. I should have seen it coming. I was aware Mashrou Leila is connected to New York and that way a possible guest candidate but I just hadn’t thought of it. When the guest performance finally happened it was as mind-blowing as I love Beirut let us expect. 

 I absolutely love this collaboration. I love, love, love it. I’m not always excited about collaborations, they can’t always reach that same level Mika can reach on his own and they often have an obvious promotional aspect. However, they can be genuine as well. There are collaborations that can raise Mika’s music on a new level or at least give it a totally new twist. I love the performances with classical musicians and I love the performance with Mashrou Leila from I Love Beirut. Promiseland has never sounded that good and now we had it happening on stage. For me this was the biggest highlight of the gig, one of the biggest highlights I’ve ever seen on stage. Doing the trip twice because of rescheduling felt a small effort. For this I would have crossed the pond several times. 

 The Arabic tones in this version of Promiseland are not only astonishingly beautiful, they also embrace Mika’s Lebanese roots. I love this artist for who he is and I love seeing him expressing all sides of him on stage. He has Lebanese roots, he’s gay, he’s incredibly creative, he appreciates beauty, art and handcraft and he’s never afraid to show all that on stage and for me that’s an important part of his shows. I love seeing all that on stage, I love seeing all sides of him because I love them all. 

 The setlist was well structured. After Promiseland we heard Underwater and Tomorrow and the whole middle part of the show became one big highlight and there were still some crowdpleasers, energetic songs and the final highlight to come. There are songs that I would love to hear so badly but I do understand it’s not easy to fit them on the setlist with these crowds. Underwater was beautifully done. The lights were off and the audience was made to sing and the situation was unusually calm and everyone was focused which created a strengthened feeling of connection. Tomorrow was a lovely moment full of pure pleasure and carefree atmosphere and Happy Ending after that continued the highlight successfully. Popular Song and Elle Me Dit are the crowdpleasers I mentioned. Elle Me Dit worked surprisingly well with the Brooklyn audience. Platform Ballerinas could be a crowdpleaser as well, why not. I know I would love to hear it. 

 Both Grace Kelly and Love Today were made special with special intros and a gorgeous, very creative flowery suit by Mira Mikati. Grace Kelly was started asking the audience to do the Grace Kelly challenge. Love Today started with an exceptionally cool intro that gave me strong Dire Straits vibes and included a small speech. We are used to see Mika picking special, unique and handcrafted items for his shows and we saw beautiful examples of that throughout of this first show of the Spring Tour. The flowery jacket during Grace Kelly and Love Today had crocheted (or crocheted like) colourful flowers and the long cape in the final Tiny Love Reprise and We Are Golden continued the same, very mikaish style. We had seen the story of the crown on Instagram earlier to learn the origin of it. When I saw the story I couldn’t imagine how this natural style crown would look on stage but combined the whimsical, flowery cape it looked simply perfect. Something carefully handmade that you can’t find in stores. Royal Mika. One of my favourite versions of him. He conquered the Kings Theatre, that’s for sure and the highly energetic We Are Golden was the final evidence of it.

It astonished me how amazingly wonderful the show was. There have been challenges. I feel a bit broken. Yet after everything he has gone through, after cancelling tours, after unsure times, after cancelling and rescheduling again and even after being sick just a few days before he still delivered a show like this. He can be so vulnerable and sensitive yet so extremely strong at the same time. Incredible first show of the tour.

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