The Fillmore in San Francisco, US 17/4/2022

The third gig of the spring tour at the Fillmore in San Francisco on April 17th offered a wonderful time for us. The whole night including the time the gig wasn’t even started was like planned to make people in a good mood or at least it certainly worked that way. Everything went so well I was in a brilliant mood already long before the show. Everyone I met at the venue was particularly nice and polite. With presale tickets we could enter a bit earlier than the rest of the crowd, just a little bit but still enough to use restrooms and buy a drink before the biggest crowd arrived, and that made a big difference. I felt so relaxed. I waited the gig to start with people I hadn’t seen in years and we chatted and danced and enjoyed the pre-gig songs. They even played Mashrou Leila and the mood had good, positive vibes. Small things created a huge impact.

This was my second time at the Fillmore. It’s a small, old-school music venue and I could still remember the quite particular audience from three years ago and I looked forward to seeing both the crowd and Mika’s reaction to it, these two energies seem always to feed each other. I knew the audience would be loud and cheerful and that Mika would react to it but didn’t expect the night to be that funny and interactive. He’s such a showman and entertainer. He was very responsive for people’s comments and continued the jokes flirting shamelessly here and there occasionally laughing out loud after realising what just said. 

Before the gig Mika posted on Instagram asking people to bring a flower with them and many of us did. Just before the show started his team brought more flowers giving them out to people who didn’t yet have a flower in their hand and during a couple of the first songs and particularly during Origin everyone in the audience waved flowers and it was a beautiful flowery moment, I had hoped something like that would happen. It’s not easy to keep fresh flowers alive during a full gig but during a few of songs it can be done and for a moment the crowd looked like a flower field and Mika could “pick” flowers from the field to stage.

During Tiny Love he started to flirt with a guy called Pablo and the situation evolved and became absolutely hilarious and Pablo became a part of the song intro. After the first three songs Mika’s jacket was off again and I laughed out loud when I saw my shirtless photos of him. He’s extremely daring on stage, both with spontaneous ideas and with his gestures, and during gigs that seems the most natural thing in the world and the same goes with the audience. I had my camera and I took photos of his shirtless body without a shame because he looked beautiful on stage. That’s how concerts work.

I had hoped we would hear the new song Modern Times again and that did happen and it felt right. The crowd was so good that it felt right to reward it with something special. Mika was wearing a bright pink suit and in the middle of the song the jacket was gone again revealing a very special “tattoo shirt” full of different motives like hearts and flowers and words like “love”, “heaven” and “you are here”. I wonder if the last one refers to new song lyrics but it could refer to tattooing people on your skin to keep them close to you as well because that’s what I do, I have tattooed people as symbols on my skin so I can feel they are always close to me. “You are here”.

The shirt by Mira Mikati looked amazingly pretty and cool and was a very special detail. I assume it was meant just as a visual detail but my mind is using it as a symbolic part of the story. As a part of the healing process we often do something physical and I connect tattoos to that and I could imagine having tattoos for that. For Mika the physical has obviously been exercising and when I look at his statue-like look on stage I just hope he’s not pushing himself too far. He looks absolutely beautiful but his well-being should always be the most important and everything else should come after that.

The audience responded really well to all songs, starting to sing during the first notes of Popular and jumping and dancing with the energetic songs like Love Today and even Elle Me Dit which worked astonishingly well considering it’s in French. The setlist is well done for this audience but I’m sure also songs like Stuck In The Middle or Billy Brown and from newer songs Dear Jealousy or Platform Ballerinas would work as well. It’s important to offer something special each time because that’s what makes the gig stand out each time, whether it’s a new song like Modern Times - this time even performed in a new outfit to give a strong visual impact - or something he hasn’t played for a while. Any older song we haven’t heard lately can make the gig stand out, I guess it’s that small change between the gigs that matters.

It was lovely to see Mika smiling the way he did during the whole night. In front of the energetic San Francisco audience and at the legendary Fillmore venue it felt very genuine. It was lovely to see the flowers, San Francisco has a carefree vibe as a city and I love it that after this colourful flowers will make me think of it. This time my personal favourite song together with Modern Times was Tomorrow. There’s something similar in those two songs. Thank you Mika and also San Francisco audience for this fantastic night. 

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