Words by Tracey Moyle – Music Maven Events
It’s been a long wait for Australian fans of multi-national pop icon MIKA, but finally the talented musician has brought his Revelation Tour, along with a giant dose of happiness, to his dedicated fan-base, with thanks to Frontier Touring.
There were eager devotees lined up waiting, hours before The Tivoli Brisbane doors opened. They possibly knew the calibre of the show the crowd would be witness to and knew not to miss getting the good spots.
On his 2015 Album ‘No Place In Heaven’ MIKA asked “Where have all the Good Guys gone?” Well, there is one right here tonight, about to perform to hundreds of dedicated fans. Touring off the back of his latest and fifth studio album ‘My Name Is Michael Holbrook’, we are promised a night of new inspiring pop melodies along with the favourites that lifted this musician to his current pop-idol status.
Heading into the show tonight I am obviously aware of MIKA’s music, mostly through my daughter and more recently familiarising myself with his songs ready for tonight’s show. I have friends attending the show, big fans, and we were looking forward to a great night of dancing and fun pop tunes. That is the most underestimated vision I think I have ever had of a concert. What you hear on your home or car stereo isn’t even close to the way MIKA gives his songs the breath of life in his performance. I only hope this review captures half of the amazing energy felt by everyone on this night.
Supporting MIKA tonight is Melbourne’s electronica, indie pop artist Chela, bringing a visually uplifting show to already packed room. With a bass guitar and dance a major part of her performance the focus was clearly on interpretive dance alongside the music.
No stranger to touring, with shows at SXSW and Coachella already on her list she has collaborated alongside the likes of Banoffee, Paces and Goldroom to name a few. Tonight Chela was bringing her show to a room full of existing and possibly new fans.
The crowd were full of applause and excitement for Chela. With an accompanying dancer for the performance, the choreography of the set is equally as mesmerising as the music. With her bass guitar and a beautiful tone in her vocal we are treated to some wonderfully uplifting electro pop numbers while visually encapsulated by the dance.
She had the crowd warmed up, clapping into the second track with this not just musical but visual experience. Providing bass to the first two tracks, Chela takes a rest with Heart ‘O Hearts, only the backing track supporting her vocals and choreography.
The delivery was very much a double act but in a completely unique way. The music had a very ‘80’s pop’ feel about it. The electronic beat of Hand Full of Gold had the crowd dancing with Chela jumping into the front row to briefly join in the celebration.
Then she’s back on bass again for Self Care. With just vocal and bass and an occasional electronic beat coming in, the song showcases the range in her voice. Closing the set with Zero we welcome the dancer back on to a more sombre but still pop driven number with the signature choreography again a big part of song.
The crowd showed their approval with a roar of appreciation for the opening act. Chela was a great artist to warm up the crowd for the main man.
During the break an upbeat mood fell in to place around The Tivoli. People were chatting, friends were finding each other and one corner of the room were having fun chatting and interacting with a fabulously flamboyant drag queen and her gorgeous friend. People of all ages, orientations and walks of life had gathered in one place to see the infectiously upbeat MIKA. I’ve always believed music brings people together and scanning the room I could see this was the perfect example.
When MIKA took the stage, it was a reaction fit for a venue four times the size of The Tivoli. The screams, the applause, the adoration of the fans; was deafening. Dressed for the occasion in an attention grabbing, bright red suit and white frilled poet shirt he stood up front, taking in the crowd and seemed honestly in awe of the admiration.
The cries of excitement got even louder as he broke into the first song of the night, Ice Cream from his latest release album ‘My Name Is Michael Holbrook’. Dancing was compulsory and I got the feeling the party had only just started. There was so much energy on stage and off.
Taking time to thank the crowd, and admitting he couldn’t understand why this was his first trip to Brisbane, he took the fans into Dear Jealousy, the fourth release off the new album. A groove driven pop track, he put all focus on the fans and what a performance. Not one person was standing still.
The sound of keys open up Relax (Take It Easy) and the crowd screams out in excitement, singing along and this performer knows how to play up to the crowd in the best way. “Relax take it easy.” His distinct falsetto and great range on display with the crowd singing along not caring that they were no match to this vocal maestro. His performance on stage is almost theatrical at times. MIKA danced with boundless energy and wooed the crowd with mesmerising banter toward the end of the song, enticing the crowd to sing-a-long. At the end he took it back to just a keyboard accompaniment and the crowd singing like a choir. He had them eating out of his hands. Hanging on every word.
In my eclectic musical brain I saw a wonderful performance combination of Phil Jamieson and Freddy Mercury on stage in front of me and to me that is like almost perfection.
More banter from the musical poet, “If red is the colour of love, and green the colour of jealousy, then pink is the colour of desire” going on to share his thoughts on love and emotion, taking the lit up room into Origin of Love. Throughout the crowd there were hands held up in the shapes of hearts, the crowd’s open display of their love for this charismatic performer.
Next we have the perfect interaction with MIKA and one of his fans, as mentioned before there was a fabulously gorgeous Drag Queen in the audience. He brought her up on stage to another song from ‘My Name Is Michael Holbrook’ – Platform Ballerina, and what a perfect impromptu moment. They sung and they danced together, like it was meant to be, singing; “Dancing in her platform ballerinas, That’s about as girly as she gets. She ain’t like no other señorita, And she will never let you forget”. They danced and sung together like it was rehearsed, which it wasn’t. The feeling of unity, acceptance and equality poured out across the stage into the very diverse MIKA fan base. The moment captured in the lyrics “Grooving to the music like a woman do, Throws her body in it not for me, not you, but for her, And that don’t make her less of a girl”. The flamboyant fan, later introduced by MIKA as Skye Blue, had the love of MIKA and the crowd behind her and I am sure will never, ever, forget this moment.
Being the brilliant entertainer he is MIKA again chats directly to the crowd, talking about “getting to know each other better.” He goes on; “We’ve sung together, I’ve danced with one. But if you really want to get to know someone, you should ask them to dance.” The crowd again scream out approval. “Tivoli; Let’s dance together”. The beat starts, MIKA jumps from the stage and heads into the crowd. And one of his biggest hits Big Girl (You Are Beautiful) rings out around the venue with the star performer working his way through the crowd, dancing with the fans. Cheers erupt amongst the crowd. Everyone is jumping, hands in the air, yelling out every word like it’s an anthem, the volume almost obscuring the artist himself. He works his way to the centre of the crowd, and with hands raised, the hundreds surrounding him join in, all bouncing along “Big girl, you are beautiful, Big girl, you are beautiful” and repeat. It was plainly obvious the good vibes were felt by everyone in the room.
This act of togetherness was also a distraction from the stage where a very large piano was being rolled on and set up ready for the piano playing singer-songwriter to wow the crowd in his best possible way. Working his way back to the stage the song finishes up with the loudest roar from the crowd yet (if that was possible). The performer takes his seat at the covertly placed piano and takes us into another new but popular song, Tiny Love.
From the intro, the band takes over, and MIKA took a seat on top of the piano, then stands on top, projecting his performance to every corner of the room. The big sound from the band, matched with his falsetto vocal, create a melody that will stick in your music memory forever. The song is a beautiful example of story telling through music and reminds me of the early days of Elton John. It follows with a progression from gentle keys and soft vocals, taking a musical incline through the song to build to a impelling crescendo and back again to where it began walking your through the peaks and valley’s of a musical story in a very Bohemian Rhapsody or Tiny Dancer kind of way. The crowd were completely enthralled.
Taking us back in time to 2012’s ‘Origin of Love’ album we are graced with Underwater. A beautiful performance on the piano, with the lighting producing a ghostly effect to support the ethereal feeling of the song. The crowd sings the chorus giving the effect of a choir being present. He had the crowd under his spell like a magical conductor, having the audience sing – “Underwater” louder or softer at his instruction.
Back to new music he continues on, telling another story with Paloma and the acoustic guitar accompaniment ringing out into the hearts of everyone. Follows on with positive energy in the cheerful pop number Tomorrow, another new song.
The popularity of the new album is evident with the crowd singing along to every word, smiles as wide as their faces. The range of MIKA’s vocal is extraordinary and is showcased in this song. The crowd do their best but can’t quite meet his range.
He sits again on the piano, red suited legs crossed, giving advice that his mother and some ‘wise American man’ once gave, always wear sunscreen, and ‘suck hard on a lollipop. Evidently taking us back to his 2007 debut album ‘Live In Cartoon Motion’ with the song Lollipop, a number that gives, that good old fashion boogie, feel. He tells another story through the song, connecting with the crowd again.
Then we’re back to 2012 with Popular Song and I want to again say another ‘popular song’ but all his songs are popular with the crowd.
And just when you think it can’t get bigger we get the classic Happy Endings. If you thought the night had hit it’s high already you were wrong. The crowd were so happy they were almost in tears, his high notes gave you goose-bumps, the love oozed from the artist to the crowd and back again. It was seriously one of the most loved up musical experiences I have ever witnessed. The song ended with MIKA taking it down to an almost whisper adding to the heart warming sentiment of the song and although everyone was standing, the end felt like he’d received a ‘standing’ standing ovation, that was so loud and went on for so long I thought the old rafters of The Tivoli ceiling would come loose. It wasn’t even the last song of the set. He just stood there in awe of the adoration and appreciation from the fans. It was actually quite moving to see an artists as in awe of his fans as they him.
The spell is broken and the groove picks up again with Love Today getting the dance floor shaking once again. A mass sing-a-long full of energy, love and smiles took over the venue with all eyes on the man himself, a master performer who loves the limelight. He worked the crowd bringing the lights down, slowing the pace, building up to a burst of dance energy once the lights exploded back on.
He finished the set off with We Are Golden from the 2009 release ‘The Boy Who Knew Too Much’, a happy and theatrical pop anthem, full of audience participation which basically summed up the feels of the night.
The wait for the encore was short and there was only one song missing. He returns to the stage, changed into a black and white spotted suit, and took us right back to the beginning with, by far his biggest hit song, Grace Kelly. By this stage of the night I had put my notes away and had been carried away by the atmosphere and the music. The low piano in contrast with his falsetto creates a wonderfully complementary sound. ‘Everyone’ was singing. It was magical. He took the night out with a reprise of Tiny Love/Stay High mash-up. The band taking a bow and opening arms to the crowd.
I know I have over used the words love, happiness and adoration in this review, but there was such a strong presence of all those things last night that I felt the need to try as hard as I could to have a tiny bit of that feeling leak through into my account of the show. It sounds corny but the love and happiness that this concert evoked was spectacular. Every single person left happy.
Mika Revelation Tour continues on to Sydney and Melbourne.
Get tickets HERE
Wed 26 Feb – Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Thurs 27 Feb – The Forum, Melbourne