Stage themes

The breathtaking acoustic symphony performance Mika did at the Royal Opera of Versailles in December 2020 must be the most stunning, the most special performance I’ve seen from him. The venue was luxurious, the circumstances to listen to his beautiful voice were as ideal as they possibly can be. I loved the Marie Antoinette festival stage with paintings and gorgeous outfits in 2011. The 2020 performance in Versailles made that stage fantasy become real in a very literal way. Mika looked royal on stage, I absolutely loved the performance and will never forget it.

During the years we have seen many different themes on stage. I can still well remember the elements from my first ever Mika show I saw in the beginning of 2008. The stage was full of flowers and candles and in the end of the show the venue was filled with balloons and confetti. Big Girls, Lollipop Girls, animal characters and the beautifully dressed skeleton with a flowery hat took over the stage during different songs. The Parc des Princes show created with stage designer Es Devlin in July 2008 found inspiration from the circus theme. The big, one time only show was in every way like a surreal dream. During Love Today a giant Chinese dragon circled in the middle of the audience. 

For the Imaginarium Tour in 2010 Toy Boy joined the character team. There was a puppet boy dressed in a suit and a big soft Toy Boy doll in colourful clothes. The background animations showed how the same Toy Boy set a house on fire, the house being soon in full flames. Several scenes were related to growing up just like the second album implied. In the beginning of the tour the show started with an intro scene where a school boy was sitting at his desk writing on a big notebook. The darkest scenes included a cemetery, a scene where Mika killed his band and the famous death march where a bride and several Big Girls and Lollipop Girls walked through stage wearing Mexican style death masks.

The Imaginarium stage had many imaginative elements like a fantasy tree with fairytale details and a living teapot. However, some of the elements felt so real it was difficult to remember we were actually in the middle of the pop concert. Relax started with a space walk and a news report, in the beginning of Rain there was a scary nightmare scene where a character with an animal mask took Mika under the stage. I can still remember how real those details felt, watching the news report felt like watching real news on television and the space walk, that was historical. I felt something historical happened for real.

The polkadot stage for the third album was designed for smaller stages and was more symbolic than the previous stage settings.  With smaller venues both the spirit of the venue and the interaction with the audience have particularly important roles. The performance needs to listen to the atmosphere created by the space and the people. With simple festival stages and big crowds the main focus is on the energy. The polkadot festival stage was created using the same simple elements that were used for the theatre size tour and had polkadot flags and simple, symbolic cubes.

The Heaven Tour stage in 2015 designed with Studio Job was huge and like the title told built around the heaven theme. The elements pointed to Heaven and included a sign to Paradise and a gate to Hell. The big show at Bercy in May 2016 celebrated Mika’s love for Paris and introduced several other colourful elements like Arc de Triomphe and a huge throne and a cake that were used also during the Heaven summer tour and later to create the setting for Casa Mika on Italian television. On the background of the Bercy stage were enormous letters spelling MIKA that showed colourful animations and small, beautiful clips filmed in Paris.

The Revelation Tour in 2019 made everything personal exactly as the album My Name Is Michael Holbrook guided. The show created a very personal story and the main points on the background were photos of Mika’s parents. The stage floor was a rainbow describing different colors of life. During the show Mika danced on the rainbow and rose high on his pink piano. Watched from the audience all that looked as bold and brave as the space walk in 2010. As a final highlight the venue was filled with big colourful balloons, the pink piano went high for one last time, a huge red heart came out and we could see Mika in his colourful suit dancing in front of it.

I always dream about seeing another Mika show whether it's my favourite type of tiny, intimate show purely focused on performing or a big arena or festival show offering circumstances for a huge, visual stage setting. If I let my imagination wander my mind can easily picture a full Mika tour built as a circus tour with a ringmaster, clowns and acrobats. Mika likes circus elements, in my imagination everything is just more literal than ever before and the highlight of the show is a real circus act performed by Mika himself. Joining a touring circus was my childhood dream. Seeing concerts and even full tours has been my adult way to make that happen. There's something fascinating in being in a constant move and circus is based on talent, colors and interaction just like every Mika show. Circus clowning, for example, is all about creating a connection with the audience.

In one of the Italian interviews Mika mentioned writing new music about freedom and I wonder if the revelation will in the future turn to a peaceful yet colourful revolution, celebrating personal freedom and general tolerance. With Mika we never know. On stage he can be in space, under water or anywhere between. 

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