Rockhal in Luxembourg 26/3/2024

Exactly like the gig at Bercy is always loaded with pressure the next one after that has equally big but the opposite kind of expectations: after the work is done it’s time to have some fun. I can remember the gig in Strasbourg in 2016 right after Bercy as one of my most relaxed concert experiences and this year in Luxembourg Mika even mentioned his aim to have some good time and referred to the previous night at Bercy and the level of focusing on it. 

 Rockhal in Luxembourg has always been one of my favourite venues in Europe. It’s not particularly small or intimate but it’s a proper music venue and has only a big standing area and in addition to that a very small balcony for guests and VIPs and that way it offers ideal circumstances for a good concert atmosphere. Rockhal is an experienced music venue and gave again a professional impression. Everything was calm and the staff was polite and quite international speaking different languages. The entrance happened in order but I noticed the crowd was eager and that the standing area filled much quicker than at any other venues during the tour which indicated an enthusiastic audience.

Luxembourg was the first show of the tour outside France and even though it’s French speaking we already got some small changes on the setlist. It was definitely not a surprise, I knew to expect it and of course know it can be complicated especially in the UK to have too many French songs on the setlist. I still feel that the attitude towards French Mika songs has drastically changed during the past few years. People are used to his career in different countries (like both in France and Italy) and see him international and a “citizen of the world” instead of a UK artist who is spreading to the French markets and that way having a multilingual setlist feels much more natural than it did ten years ago. I’m not French speaking myself but I genuinely love the new album with my whole heart and can feel the same vibe coming from many people I know. The new songs are definitely big and clear highlights on the setlist and even though I knew to expect the changes (and in Luxembourg the change was only a small one) it still felt a downgrade and not just as change.  

Mika was adding Origin and Popular on the setlist in the beginning of the tour and we have heard Rain and Good Guys earlier at rehearsals and from older songs for example Lollipop. At Rockhal we got Billy Brown instead of 30 secondes and no other changes. I was happy to hear Billy Brown again and would have definitely expected it for London or the UK summer Pride gig but in a French speaking country it felt hard to give up 30 secondes. It’s an elegant and timeless song and the version we have seen with the gorgeous white wing piano from Studio Job has sounded amazing, been visually stunning and definitely shined signature Mika style. I have loved the combination of the piano and simple red patterns on the background and thought the mix of different elements is extremely and particularly impressive and an important part of the show so even though it was good to have Billy Brown back it was a sacrifice at the same time. I’m sure the majority of people would love 30 secondes also outside France. 

Generally, the new album shows a beautiful side of Mika and I would love to see him showing his full self to the whole world. It’s time for people to be united and open and tolerant in every country and being genuinely international and being able to perform also in French and for example capable to change the language in the middle of the sentence from English to French and then to Italian and Spanish and even Greek is one of the things that makes Mika such unique artist and should be embraced and not hidden or apologised.

We saw the big sign again in Luxembourg and I tried to take a few more photos of it because we never know how long we will see it, it demands a high ceiling from the venue. C’est la vie was absolutely wonderful once again, it’s been a surprise to me how well it works live even though I’ve liked the song since the beginning. It has been also a surprise how Happy Ending has become a bigger highlight than for a long time. Obviously it’s one of the most famous classics but I’ve always particularly appreciated it  in special symphonic or intimate circumstances. Now I really enjoy the new tones in it and how it’s suddenly more emotional than for a long time and also visually beautiful with the foggy stage.

 In Luxembourg I was particularly happy to see the blue feather outfit again and find it the most beautiful of all the outfits. There was a fierce tone in the Love Today performance and it came as a surprise to me and scared me a little bit. I simply wasn’t sure if it was a part of the performance or if something had happened and that moment it took me by a surprise and I think I was a bit confused to focus on the last songs and even Any Other World which is my biggest personal favourites. Luckily I can see that moment several times and decided to next time enjoy it twice as much. Lovely, fun show in Luxembourg and interesting times coming. Curious to see how the show will be in countries outside France. 

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