Zenith Strasbourg in Strasbourg, France 10/3/2024

I saw the Apocalypse Calypso Strasbourg show seated and thought I will write my thoughts about the show and setlist from that point of view. I can still remember the show in Strasbourg in 2016 as one of my favourite ever shows and I looked forward to seeing another Strasbourg show, they seem to always deliver, and we indeed saw a great show with a great crowd this time as well. 

Watching the show seated was a sensible decision that day but it meant I was alone and far away from the stage and this time, to be honest, it felt I was watching the show outside of the gig bubble. I didn’t have the usual feeling of belonging but despite of that I of course did admire everything and find the show absolutely beautiful from each side I’ve seen it so far. My feelings were surely partly connected to not understanding the language. Mika was interacting with the crowd more than he usually does and he and the Strasbourg audience had long, very  literal conversations where he talked and the crowd gave a collective answer. It was different than we usually see and actually an extremely cool form of taking contact with the audience if the crowd happens to be co-operative like it was in Strasbourg.  The conversations continued and worked really well and even people around me answered to him and were clearly excited about talking to him (as a crowd).

Also, as someone who loves details I felt frustrated not being able to pay my usual attention to the new details like numerous new outfits the way I usually do. I saw them but I can’t describe them properly and hope to see them again at some future gigs. When watching the show from distance everything big becomes important, not only the big elements on stage but big themes in different songs as well. It can become difficult to separate tones in more subtle songs but it’s impossible to miss powerful emotions like the atmosphere in Underwater which once again was my favourites during the Strasbourg show. I loved also songs like Happy Ending and Any Other World for the same reasons and obviously C’est la vie is the huge highlight for the seated audience and not only because of the big size sign coming from the ceiling but also because of the gorgeous lights and the theme which is one of the deepest in any Mika song. I filmed small clips but they really can’t express how amazing the performance looks, you have to see the lights live and a bit further away.

Going through the setlist shortly. Clearly the setlist is done for big venues to begin with. There are some songs that would definitely be even more beautiful and intimate at small venues but work also at bigger ones. I would love to see sweet and intimate versions of songs like Apocalypse Calypso or Moi Andy et Paris or Sweetie banana in small circumstances but everything has made to work also at arenas. 

Bougez starts the show in a hugely dramatic way. Releasing the firebird from the cage is an adrenaline moment. If the show is all about freedom, this is the moment when it starts. When the bird is out, anything can happen. A crucial moment for the whole story and something everyone inside the venue needs to properly see and understand and for that reason the lights are incredibly important, this moment can’t be missed, it needs to be highlighted in every possible way. An effective start and leaves me both ready for the show and looking forward to hearing the song one day as a regular, high energy gig song. So many possibilities for the future. 

I have loved Apocalypse Calypso since the beginning and find the topic - making love in an apocalyptic moment - both wild and crazy and hugely romantic. The whole world might go totally wrong but at least two people have their each other and the intimacy. I couldn’t imagine any show elements for the song in advance but I like the pink vibes and roses and love seeing how the song has totally won over the audience since the beginning. The thought behind the song can be a bit exciting but I wish people wouldn’t scream the lyrics, it totally brings down the mood, and for that reason I particularly enjoyed the song in Strasbourg. Two other songs with the red suit are Talk About You and Sweetie banana and they both work really well with different crowds. The seated audience in Strasbourg seemed to enjoy Talk About You a lot and it raised the energy and Sweetie banana is simply enjoyable no matter in which part of the audience you happen to be. 

After the four first songs it’s time to change the outfit and in Strasbourg we saw the suit in beautiful deep blue instead of the rich yellow. Seen from close distance Feels Like Fire has been almost like a tiny show inside of the big show but seen from further away I felt like watching a combination of a film and soundtrack performance because the screen can be seen more easily. I absolutely love this song and can’t wait to hear it in a smaller or especially symphonic environment one day but enjoy this version as well. For me one of the most important moments wherever in the audience I am. Then, wearing the same suit, it’s the turn for Underwater and my absolute favourite song when I’m alone in the middle of the big crowd. Just hearing the current intro makes speechless. This song is so enormous and powerful every single time I have no words to describe it. If you can’t feel it in your soul you might not have one.

The four next songs are labeled in my mind as “silver glitter songs” for the suit and they are in order Relax, Yo-Yo, Jane Birkin and Moi Andy et Paris. Relax starts beautifully in a new way and is such a classic it’s easy for the crowd behind. People got excited as soon as they could recognise the tune. Yo-Yo might not be automatically known by everyone but it’s energetic and continues well after Relax and after that Jane Birkin is lovely and relaxed in an energetic way and the whole crowd from the front area to the back moves well along it. Moi Andy et Paris seems different at each gig depending on the audience. In Strasbourg I liked the version because the audience wasn’t screaming too much. Moi Andy et Paris is an extremely personal song so screaming the lyrics feels totally wrong in my ears. He has shared a lovely song with very personal lyrics, the least the audience can do is to sing along beautifully instead of screaming. 

Big Girl is done with a bright yellow outfit that can be seen well in the middle of the audience if you have a good spot. In Strasbourg I was on the side and behind people and saw as little of him as I see when I’m in front and he’s at the back of the venue. People around me were still clearly excited about the thought of him coming closer to them. In my opinion Big Girl is the best possible song to go to the crowd. The seated audience loves it everywhere he goes and only Grace Kelly would be equally loved. On the other hand, I genuinely don’t mind if I can’t see him during a song as familiar as this one when he’s hiding in the middle of the people. 

The next group of songs includes Elle Me Dit, 30 secondes and Grace Kelly. Elle Me Dit feels more energetic when I’m located in the front area with people I know and who love this song but it goes well to big crowds as well. The French audience seems to love the new French songs even more than EMD which is a surprise to me. 30 secondes looks and sounds amazing and has become one of my personal favourites of the new songs at gigs. The white piano looks stunning with the graphical backgrounds. Absolutely beautiful. When the rainbow comes from the piano during Grace Kelly the crowd almost believes the show will end and so did I when I saw it for the first time. It didn’t, and the next song is the massive highlight and C’est la vie. “This was the end?” asked people close to me after C’est la vie and again I answer “no!!”  and there’s much more coming indeed. I’m not surprised by the question though because a full series of fireworks like this is simply unexpected. 

Mika is wearing his pyjamas for C’est la vie, and Happy Ending after this is performed in the same outfit and the same scenery the Club Apocalypso sign above the stage with added pinks and foggy elements. I found Happy Ending in Strasbourg really beautiful and important. The scene is visually beautiful and the new delicate ending is fresh and touching. The song was definitely a highlight seen from far away but at the same time it made me wish I was closer to see it better. I definitely hoped the same during Love Today even though the atmosphere around me was good and energetic. People standing and dancing my view was getting worse and the blue bird outfit is my absolute favourite detail and I wished I could have seen it better. What a stunningly beautiful piece, I’m not getting enough of this outfit, I want to see it again and again.

In Lille I felt Any Other World was almost “slow” in the middle of the two high energy songs but in Strasbourg I didn’t feel that way. The crowd in Strasbourg was good but the energy level around me wasn’t as high as it was in Lille. People calmed down to listen to Any Other World easily and I think I cried once again with the song. Super powerful with water lilies on the background. I would love to know if the performance is Mika’s personal vision or someone else designed the backgrounds and who. My favourite parts of the show every single night and together with Underwater definitely my big favourite in Strasbourg. 

After that the final end and We Are Golden with the new pink cape detail. Oh how wonderful  we got the cape in the end! I love seeing Mika running around the stage with his cape, there’s nothing more exciting and joyful than the cape flying during the final moments of the gig. Still recovering from the flu our superhero must have been exhausted after the show but his singing wasn’t nearly as tired as it was at the previous gig and the voice had just a warm “fluish” tone. On the other hand, from far away it’s quite impossible to say anything for sure. At the back of the venue the audience can see the reality in their own way and almost continue the illusion if they want to, the mood depends a lot on the company and many people seemed to watch the show as groups with their family or friends. For me what happens on stage is always the most important and it felt essential to at least hear the flu in Mika’s voice because I know it must be there.

Before gigs we hear songs that are becoming familiar pre-gig tunes already like Modern Talking, Madonna and INXS and after the show there’s a beautiful piece of symphonic soundtrack on the background for the ending bow. During exiting in Strasbourg I could hear older Mika songs like I See You and not sure if it was the first time or if I just hadn’t paid attention to that before but it was still a lovely venue to leave the venue. Thank you Strasbourg, see you next time. 

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