Monday, February 18, 2008

Dodgy Holiday

A couple weeks ago I took the train to Philly and NYC for Mika concerts. I had a great time, and I'm kind of regretting not seeing a couple more shows on this tour (now finished). Here's the scooper:

It was another very quick trip to awesome Philly. When I arrived, I toyed with the idea of running around town for a couple of hours but I got in quite late and instead decided to chill out. I ordered room service for dinner and then showered and got ready for my show.

The venue was the Electric Factory, which turned out to be a great place for a concert. Very cool club. There was an opening band, The Midway State, who was pretty good really, and the lead singer's hair kicks ass, which helped, but I'm not very into opening bands. It's such a bummer to wait for 2 or so extra hours to see the artist you paid to see. Also, the show was general admission. Now. I am 36 years old. I'll be 37 next month. I did general admission 25 years ago, but being pushed and pulled isn't really my thing anymore. And for most shows I guess I would have just taken a seat at the bar or something, but for Mika I walked straight up to the stage when the doors opened and I stayed there as the club filled up.

So, the show was just FUN. 100% crazy, cool fun. Once again, the most fun I've had in a long time, and the best show I've seen maybe ever. I think that his European fans are generally 30-somethings, lots of people from the gayborhood, and just fun, easy going folks. At the Philly show I discovered that in the US, his fans are mostly thirteen year old girls. I was really not expecting that. The vibe was still very alt-y, and there were lots of people dressed up as Lollypop Girl (and even a mom and dad dressed up like Grace Kelly and the Prince of Monaco) and other Mika characters, which I think is great. When do adults get to dress up anymore? The pushing and shoving did get to me, and I might have complained at one point to a twenty-something in front of me, who replied, "They're teenagers. Their brains haven't fully formed yet." Right.

The show was an identical set to the one I saw in Berlin, which was actually perfect. I guess most people haven't heard of Mika, but it's crazy how hyper his fans are. The crowd sang every word of every song, even one that hasn't been recorded or released yet, and we pretty much danced and bounced on our toes (like he does) for a couple hours straight. High energy, big party, very fun. Mika shows are great for me because of the costumes, the dancing, the style of music, and because his show is so visual and engaging. Very high concept. And it starts with 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton. What's better than that?

After the show I, yes, got in touch with my inner 13-year old and waited behind the venue with about forty kids to see him. It was brief, but really fun, and the pneumonia that I almost caught would have been totally worth it. There was a fan who was at least 75 years old who got to meet him. I kind of hung back and just watched the scene, admiring his bright blue pants and perfect skin that I would kill for.

So I slept that night with wonderful dreams of Grace Kelly, and took off the next morning for the beautiful 30th Street Station to catch the train to NYC for another show and a few days vacation. As I was hanging in the station trying to wake up - guess what? Mika walked by! I was looking at the floor and I saw the blue pants pass by about three inches in front of me, and thought, hmm. That looks like Mika. When I'd convinced myself that it was him, then I had to decide - what do I do? He was just hanging out with his family, getting breakfast for everyone and waiting to board the train for Boston. (Why didn't I go to that show?) I thought about it for a while and finally decided I couldn't not say hello. I got my guts up and went and talked with him for just a minute - beautiful, gracious, polite person that he is. Afterwards, I sat around thinking how cool that was, and how much his music perks me up. I replayed our brief conversation over and over in my head, and thought of the Berlin show and how I was having more fun than basically ever. So I sat there for a while just replaying it all, and when I came out of the afterglow, I realized I'd missed my train. :)

In NYC the show was at Terminal 5 (very unimpressive venue), and despite my hating the general admission in Philly, I arrived early and couldn't resist going up close to the stage. The gravitational pull was too strong. Same experience as in Philly - hated the kids glued up against me, but loved the show. I was just a few "rows" back from the front and just danced all night. Afterwards I walked to my hotel about thirty blocks away, totally sweaty and with confetti stuck everywhere, but so happy. It was a great time.

Highlights: Billy Brown (who had an ordinary life - two kids, a dog, and the cautionary wife - and while it was all going accordingly to plan, Billy Brown fell in love with another man), and Holy Johnny (who once was a whore, now he's a priest at 24).

Here's Grace Kelly and Love Today recorded at the Philly show.


  1. i'll confess that i've never heard of him but you make it sound SO fun. :) i'm glad you had such a good time and got to meet him. that's some serious lost in thought to miss your train. haha.

  2. WOW! I can't believe you actually met Mika and have been sitting on that little secret for two weeks now? I'm so glad he was beautiful and gracious to you. It had to make missing your train completely worthwhile.