Show Review: Mika at The Fox Oakland, 10/24/2009

by Marie Carney on October 25, 2009


Either singing or reacting to the painkillers

I didn’t find out I was reviewing this show until I stumbled in to the beautiful Fox Theater, stressed and tired, in the middle of opener Gary Go’s last song.  “Who’s reviewing the show?” I ask David Price and Gordon Elgart, senior members of the Spinning Platters staff.  They laugh and say “You are!” and I protest:  “my computer’s still broken!”  But I was betrayed by the fact that my ancient laptop can slowly chug along and allow me to post this.  Three blog writers, all unwilling.  I lose.  Boo!  There was a time when I would have loved to review a Mika show, but now is not that time.

I loved his first album, I loved the first time I saw him at the Fillmore, I liked the time I saw him play the Warfield, I even enjoyed meeting him after the show.  But that was two years ago, and now, after the disappointment of his new album The Boy Who Knew Too Much I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be there, much less put my impressions in to print.

The start of the show found me in the photo area, for three songs, stuck in between the most adorable, enthusiastic, young fangirls and the stage.  As a fangirl myself, it felt strange.  It was nice being so close, but I couldn’t really enjoy it.  As much as I pretend to be laid back, I am at heart a perfectionist, and I don’t think I even heard the first three songs (all from the old, wonderful album Life in Cartoon Motion).  Being stuck trying to perform a task that I am not at all prepared to do made me want to scream.  I love taking pictures, but I haven’t touched a “real” camera for over 15 years, and let me tell you, it is not like riding a bike!  I got about three amazing shots, about 15 okay ones, and a million pieces of crap.  [Editor’s Note: These pictures are better than you think, Marie. Everyone can look at the photo gallery below to see.]

Then I got thrown out of my special place and had to fight for a place on the floor.  With my nerves shot I decided not to fight and settled in toward the back of the floor to dance the stress away.

Mika’s fan base is really interesting.  It is mostly young teenagers (female) who like to wear ridiculous 80’s inspired neon outfits and glitter.  I love them.  These girls have been coming to Mika shows, as I have, from the beginning.  At this show though, there is a new contingient of even younger males (12-14) with their 30-something parents, and gay men from 28-40.  I do not know where these people came from, but boy did they like to drink and dance!  Well, except for the 12 year old boys.

Mika himself gave his usual theatrical, high energy performance, despite having torn tendons in his foot earlier in the tour.  “Tonight’s show is brought to you by American prescription painkillers!”  Mika proclaimed after the first song.  They must have been some good pills because he kept dancing through the hour-and-a-half show, running about and hopping on one leg.

Musically the show was spot on.  The back up band is tight and entertaining, also posing and having fun throughout the show, but not nearly as much as Mika himself.  Mika’s Freddie Mercury-esque vocals are always impressive, though, maybe because of painkillers, or the stress of the road, he did lose some of the strength of his falsetto  toward the end of the set.  During the intro to “Love Today” his voice completely gave out.  But he managed to clear his throat, laugh about it, and continue on with the show.

As always, the crowd seemed to love him more for this moment of humanity and danced along fanatically through the whole song, especially towards the end when Mika commands the crowd to close their eyes and on the count of three, JUMP!  Looking around the room, the crowd listened.  Everyone was jumping, the drinkers in the back, the people in the balcony, and even the constantly making-out couple next to me.

If there’s one thing you can expect from Mika, it’s is a good show.  The set was beautiful (all blacklights and hanging white planets) and the energy was high.  There were touches for each song like a giant pair of eyes that came down during “Blue Eyes” to the requisite voluptuous girls in lingerie for the song “Big Girls, You are Beautiful.”  The band and sound were great with Mika’s strong voice soaring over it all.  There was plenty of dancing and energy from everyone, audience and band, which kept the evening fun.  It was fun enough that I didn’t even notice the lackluster new songs between the enthusiasm of the fans and the interesting set.  Consider the evening a success!

Mika’s setlist for 10/24/09

Big Girls (You Are Beautiful)
Stuck in the Middle
Dr. John
Blue Eyes
Touches You
Pick Up Off the Floor
One Foot Boy
Blame It on the Girls
Happy Ending
Billy Brown
I See You
Love Today
We are Golden
Toy Boy
Grace Kelly

And our photo gallery:

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

ioan October 25, 2009 at 9:51 pm

It seems that you were more interested in writing about the people that were at the show and your experience but not interested in the people’s reaction and the actual show.
You were right about the few glitches and the second album being not up to the hype, but Mika delivery of the songs were just amazing. Look at U2 on SNL. Crap.
Glad to see that you end up the article on a nice note.
Thank you.


Frank Grimaldi October 26, 2009 at 9:27 am

This was a well written review because it was honest. I agree Mika is a great performer and gives a great Concert. I saw the show on October 16th in NYC. Mika rocked the house.

There are many who do not like his second CD and I have yet to understand why. I find the songwriting better than the first and I find the production more consistant.

I did a write up of the NYC concert. If you want to compare notes, please check out my blog at

Frank Grimaldi


Noelle October 27, 2009 at 7:41 pm

The song is called “One Foot Boy,” not “One foot Body.”



Gordon Elgart October 27, 2009 at 8:05 pm

@Noelle: Blame the editor (me). I fixed it, thanks!


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