I was lucky to see Mika recording a full concert for French television at Versailles Royal Opera in France and feel grateful for the experience and believe it will inspire me long after the immediate excitement is over. The concert will be broadcasted on television in the beginning of 2021.
2020 has showed us many different sides of Mika. When I was watching him in Versailles he felt somehow so mature, controlling his own presence in a way that determines how we see everything else. All the details, his guests, the whole environment. That’s something extremely intelligent, I think, something that comes with age, something that demands sensitivity and ability to understand complex dynamics.
I always hope the guests are on stage to support Mika’s own performance, make his own work even more interesting. That obviously happened in Versailles in an amazing way. I loved seeing the guest musicians. Mika’s authority was mesmerising to watch. The whole concert was an incredible experience. The beautiful singing and every gesture. The wonderful classical orchestra. All the different instruments and musical performances. The way Mika so carefully controlled his own presence to give space for every single detail. The way he made us pay attention to everything totally new and different. A beautiful, beautiful night. Something that alone was enough to save the year.
The concept reminded me of I Love Beirut. Everything was pure and at the same time both extremely powerful and super intimate. The Versailles Royal Opera was a glamorous but small venue. Despite of the fancy environment everything was kept simple and was as pure and beautiful as possibly could be and created wonderful circumstances to listen to Mika’s voice and to hear the new arrangements.
The exact form of the event is difficult to categorise. The groups of classical musicians from the orchestra played together and separately and were guided by a joyful conductor. The orchestra was absolutely lovely. People looked thrilled to be on stage with Mika. The way the setlist was done worked really well, everything was beautifully clear and I could hear every instrument with my whole body in a way that happens only rarely. My chest was full of warm feeling and the sensation continued to my arms and legs and during some instruments to my fingers and toes. The experience was surreal to mind and sensational to body.
I couldn’t believe I was sitting there. I kept admiring the gorgeous, gorgeous venue and the orchestra arrived and then Mika came on stage wearing a stunningly beautiful outfit with black, slim trousers, white ruffles and a deep green velvet jacket. He looked elegant, royal and born to perform in Versailles. Every single detail was simply perfect and I loved the velvet jacket and how well the dark green fitted together with Ida’s pastel pink dress when they later performed together.
Ida Falk Winland and Max Taylor didn’t appear on stage during the first song. Mika started with Over My Shoulder and a guest vocalist which gave an indication we would see many new details and changes compared to what we are used to. The talented young vocalist was called Jakub Józef Orlinski. He seemed an artist with a lot of personality and did a very focused performance. I obviously enjoyed the performance but the whole situation was still difficult to comprehend and I couldn’t concentrate on the song as fully as I usually do.
After Over My Shoulder Ida and Max joined and Toy Boy was more playful than ever before and I absolutely loved it, the performance was my favourite ever Toy Boy version for sure. At this point it was already clear Mika was in a very expressive mood, adding little gestures here and there. Ice Cream as the third song with pianist Vincent Bidal was beyond words. I don’t know how to put it. I didn’t know Ice Cream can be like that. I had no idea it can be that amazing, so subtle, so exciting. The biggest surprise of the night, without a doubt and I loved it how Mika’s eyes sparkled during the song and the whole night, him very well knowing how incredible and special it all was.
Beautiful, simple Grace Kelly and after that a cover of Without Her (Without You) together with wonderful Gautier Capucon, a French cellist, and what a lovely, lovely performance. Absolutely precious. Then Last Party and again together with Gautier Capucon and the gospel choir The 100 Voice Of Gospel. The performance I had waited most eagerly was everything I had hoped for and much more. So stunningly beautiful, so powerful. The choir naturally continued in Origin and with new interesting details the song was almost overwhelmingly wonderful.
Underwater is one of the intense songs but with new instruments I had never heard or seen before I couldn’t help but smiling while listening to it, we were truly taken under water. Lollipop with the choir after that was playful as well, there was a lot of joy on stage. I had been worried I can’t feel that joy anymore, that I can only occasionally remember how it was. Versailles Royal Opera was full of joy. Ida and Max joined for Good Guys and again, I absolutely loved the version. I have never loved this song as much as I did in Versailles. My favourite ever version.
Every single song was done in a new, different way, Elle Me Dit as well. One of the songs that impressed me most was Baisers Perdus. Mika’s beautiful singing combined with the absolutely stunning guitar performance by Thibaut Garcia and lovely strings made the whole song and every sound in it so powerful I couldn’t keep my fingers and toes still anymore. What a performance it was. One of the biggest highlights of the night for sure.
During the special version of Tomorrow I could only think how much I had missed seeing Mika on stage. I had missed him so much. I wished he could have seen faces and everyone’s happiness, that he could have known how much it meant to see him again. For safety reasons everyone was wearing a mask of course. For Love Today he created a full story. I couldn’t catch his French introductions to some other songs but with Love Today he did it partly in English and anyway the idea was familiar to me. I loved the story and again, I loved the details during the song.
Relax was in many ways totally new and different and I loved hearing Ida’s voice so clearly in it. After Relax it was the turn for Happy Ending and finally Ida in her pretty pink dress was in the spotlight with Mika. Her role during the concert wasn’t as visible as it is during big symphony concerts but it was absolutely lovely to hear her voice in several songs and Happy Ending felt like the old times. As always I loved watching Mika and Ida together on stage, their scene looked like from a film and the song brought back many memories.
In the end we could hear Over My Shoulder with Jakub Józef Orlinski one more time and that made me extra happy. Over My Shoulder has always been one of my biggest favourites and in the end I could focus on the song better than I did in the beginning of the concert and I enjoyed the performance a lot and my mind went through the same story as it always does when I hear this beautifully serious song with an orchestra.
Magical concert in magical circumstances. I didn’t know in advance Mika would do a full concert. After the challenging year seeing him performing one or two songs felt reason enough to be in France. Having an opportunity to see and hear a full, totally new setlist with a classical orchestra at a venue that special was a dream I didn’t know I could have, a gift I didn’t know to wish for myself. I feel thankful from the bottom of my heart. I felt this was the best performance I’ve seen from him. He is better than ever. That he can continue creating beauty and keeps only evolving during this terrible, terrible time shows extraordinary character.