Two hours before Mika’s sold-out show in Hong Kong was about to begin last Monday, the Grace Kelly singer told Young Post he had no idea what was going to happen. “I just don’t want it to be some sort of karaoke performance,” was all he would say.
In the intimate setting of Wan Chai’s The Vine Centre, there’s little pressure on Mika to keep him from having a little some fun. In between delivering old hits and songs from his latest album, No Place in Heaven, he teases the audience (“I can hear everything you say - so be careful what you wish for”), shows off his Cantonese, and tells a story about how he got sick in China once from eating too many snacks.
“It all began in a train,” he says. His band crowds around him, each holding a pair of drumsticks - you never know with Mika, he could be re-enacting some Jackie Chan fight scene - but as one they begin hitting different parts of his piano, producing a sound uncannily like the rattle of a train. To the mechanical clattering Mika adds a piano melody, which he slowly builds up into the cheerful notes of Lollipop. Ignoring the crowd’s excited cheers of recognition, he slows the song down to ballad tempo, and just as the anticipation mounts to near-bursting levels, the drums blast in, the lights explode, and the whole auditorium was dancing along to the full-on chorus.
The energy was kept ultra-high for songs like Talk About You, Grace Kelly, Relax (Take It Easy), We Are Golden and the sizzling French number Boum Boum Boum, with Mika hopping about, singing while on his back, or doing some slow-mo running .
He may have had to cancel his concert in September because of damage to his vocal chords, but his vocal delivery was powerful, pulling off his signature falsetto high notes with ease and dropping the next second to some solid low pitches. At the end of Happy Ending, Mika hushes the crowd and sings without his microphone, leaving little room to doubt his singing abilities.
But the night’s highlight was Underwater, which created a such serene, hazy atmosphere that it was hard not to get lost in the music. Mika ordered the lights to be switched off before crooning out final repeats of the chorus and asking the crowd to join in - “Sing as loud as you can - as if Donald Trump wouldn’t become president if you did!”
He ended the set on a sad note with Last Party, a song so depressing it felt guilty to dance along. The crowd wasn’t going to let him get away with that, and after a quick change of clothes Mika was back on stage with Love Today. Yes, we love, love you, Mika.