Mika with OMS in Montreal, Canada 10&11&12/2/2015

February 10th 2015 and the first night Mika performed with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (OSM) in Montreal, Canada, was by far the most amazing thing I had ever heard or seen. Mika did a magnificent performance, his voice was simply perfect. The orchestra itself was a mind-blowing experience especially to someone not used to symphony music. It was huge and made Mika look tiny on stage. However, he handled his role so well. His songs deserve to be performed this way. Conductor Simon Leclerc is the person to thank for the wonderful arrangements and I loved watching him and Mika on stage, their chemistry worked incredibly well. 

I can’t even try to list every magical moment, the concert was pure firework from the beginning to the end. After the first symphony concert I was absolutely overwhelmed by the new and surprising elements and also physically exhausted after being nervous for hours before the show. Mika must have been nervous as well but we really couldn’t hear it. He was smiling a lot and was surely touched watching how much people loved him. 

In addition to three new songs Mika performed six, seven songs from both Life In Cartoon Motion and The Origin Of Love and two songs from The Boy Who Knew Too Much. He started with Toy Boy - always a lovely treat - and continued with Underwater which felt an obvious choice with an orchestra and was as beautiful as I had expected. The first new song was called Last Party and it was my favourite of the new songs with dramatic and tragic lyrics. Overrated was definitely the biggest highlight and Heroes outstanding and so suitable to be performed this way. Boum Boum Boum and Drunk were lighter and funnier in the middle of some serious songs and Happy Ending probably his best ever performance and the audience rewarded it with a deserved standing ovation. My personal favourite was Relax and I was surprised and happy it was kept so gentle.

February 11th was another incredible night watching Mika with OMS. He came on stage wearing a navy, letter appliquéd suit, Ida Falk Winland and Max Taylor located on his left side, Ida looking breathtakingly beautiful in her magical, flower decorated white dress. My seat was in front a bit on the right side and I could so easily watch the performance and observe Mika and the peculiar little movements he does with his fingers when he is concentrating on his singing very carefully. I saw he was somewhere deep in the story while singing the songs and it was incredibly wonderful. I already knew what to expect from the night and could therefor enjoy the concert even on a more detailed level than I did on the first night.

With a symphony orchestra every song becomes like a little painting or a small film. The orchestra illustrated every single song; I could literally see proper landscape images in my head while listening to it. The wavy sea and burning sky during Underwater. Dying autumn nature at the very moment the first snow arrives on Over My Shoulder. I’m lacking words but the whole experience was incredibly powerful and special and seemed to have an effect on Mika as well, he was clearly putting his soul into every song. It must have been tiring to that way give his everything and I loved seeing how Ida gave him supporting smiles whenever needed. She’s wonderful and I was so happy to see her on stage again.

Underwater was if possible even more powerful than it was on the first night. I gave special attention to Any Other World, Karen and Origin as I wasn’t concentrating on them enough on the first night and really enjoyed them all. I was extra grateful for hearing Overrated and Heroes for the second time as those felt the most important songs on the symphony setlist. My personal favourite along Relax was Last Party and it was extremely sad and depressing yet pleasant at the same time. The French speaking Montreal audience loved Boum Boum Boum and Elle Me Dit and Mika was thrilled to perform Drunk with an orchestra the same way he is always thrilled to perform Billy Brown in a church.

I felt so proud watching him. I know Mika is amazing and incredibly talented and I never doubt it but sometimes the world doesn’t seem to know it and I want him to feel valued and supported and a big part of the joy during the OSM concerts was the atmosphere and being able to feel how the whole audience was holding their breath and following every detail he did, listening to every single note and spontaneously showing their appreciation to him throughout each night.

On the third night in Montreal on February 12th the setlist was naturally the same as on the previous nights. Toy Boy was again a gentle start, the change to the original version isn’t that huge. He continued with Underwater and the song got even better night after night. Then Boum Boum Boum which was one of my favourites on the third night. Ida was rocking, I loved it! During Rain I was mentally preparing myself to Last Party, my absolute favourite new song that totally took over my mind. I loved everything in the song: the dark lyrics, the melody, the atmosphere and the way it was performed.

Then Karen which is one of my favourites even without an orchestra and finally Overrated, one of the biggest surprises and highlights of the Montreal week. Any Other world, Drunk and Ordinary Man. Ordinary Man is a thoughtful, pondering and mature song but even though I heard it for the third time I still felt I need time to learn to know it better. Before the break Heroes. So strong, so powerful. After the pause Grace Kelly. Not my favourite with an orchestra but Mika’s best-known song and we could see how the audience liked it. Over My Shoulder absolutely perfectly performed.

Then Good Guys and I loved the song more and more. Then Make You Happy and outstanding Happy Ending with Ida once again. Origin and after that Relax with some tears in my eyes. So grateful Relax was done this small and fragile way. In the end partying with Elle Me Dit and Love Today and as an extra treat Toy Boy and Elle Me Dit one more time (the audience was allowed to dance). Then massive applauds and hugely smiling star. Super special week and brilliant arrangements by Simon Leclerc.

All three nights in Montreal were equally good in their own, slightly different ways. I got my dream concerts. Nothing – absolutely nothing – was disturbing the experience. Not on stage, not in the audience. Eagerly waiting for every future tour, acoustic settings, theatrical elements, imaginative outfits and wild party in the audience but I had my dream come true in Montreal: listening to Mika without slightest distraction. I thought in advance that a giant symphony orchestra on stage can be a bit distractive. That was not the case. Amazing that more than 100 musician can play in such a harmony. Not a single disturbing sound, pure bliss to my ears, so easy to separate Mika, Ida and Max. Wonderful acoustics. Never ever experienced anything like that. 

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