Mika’s larger-than-life energy filled Corona Theatre to the brim
Mika is back on the big stage—or at least it felt that way last Sunday at the Corona Theatre, as the multilingual artist gave the 1000-seat venue a stadium-like performance. Last time Mika was in town he took to the stage with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra for a unique collaboration.
This time, however, Mika returned for two nights on his “Tiny Love Tiny Tour” with his classic band backing him. Tiny Tour is an apt description, as Mika returns to North America for only six dates in five cities – “Tiny Love” is also a reference to the most recent single of his upcoming album, My Name Is Michael Holbrook.
Doors to the sold-out show opened at 7 p.m, but the line stretched around the block and moved slowly. The crowd was made up of every generation – from toddlers to seniors. Kiesza, the support act for the night, came out at 8 p.m. to a good few cheers, and took her place beside guitarist Chris Malinchak.
After her first song, she explained that she had been in a terrible car accident and had to put her career on hold. Now she has returned, with her own music label and new indie-folk sound. Kiesza dived into some of her unreleased material; the crowd adored her and by the end, everyone was singing along to“My head is f***ed.”
Mika’s band took to the stage at five minutes to nine, and as the first notes of “Ice Cream” began to play, the singer ran on stage, dressed in a red pantsuit and a white shirt with a LOT of ruffles. The unoccupied piano was positioned on the left of the stage with the rest of the band at the back on individual platforms. This left a lot of room for Mika to fill – and fill it he did. The crowd was immediately jumping along with him and singing the catchy single that dropped last spring.
Mika then introduced himself and asked the crowd what language they preferred before telling his first story. Almost every song came with a detailed intro, whether it was a joke, a story about the song or just where he’s at in life. For a first time viewer of Mika, it really helped form a connection and learn a bit about him, but it resulted in a shorter setlist.
The stories weren’t the only way he connected with the crowd. Mika tried on fans’ hats during “Dear Jealousy,” had a dance-off with the balcony in “Big Girls (You Are Beautiful),” and even jumped into the pit and literally danced with the crowd during “Popular Song.” The room’s cheers peaked as “Elle Me Dit” began playing. The only French tune on the setlist, it was clearly a fan favourite here in Quebec.
Alas, the end was soon approaching; Mika was breaking a sweat but not losing any steam. Having already ditched the suit jacket after the third song, he excused himself for a minute and removed his ruffled shirt before performing “We Are Golden.” The band stepped out and then quickly returned for an encore with the 2007 megahit “Grace Kelly,” and ended it on a high note as the crowd sang along to a remixed version of “Tiny Love.”
With that kind of energy and storytelling throughout his set, Mika is someone everyone would be lucky to experience live. While I couldn’t return the following night, I was grateful to have experienced this award-winning artist for the first time and enjoyed it so much.
Feature photo by Cecilia Piga