May Your Head Always Bloom Tour 2023

The Mika year 2023 started with the stunningly beautiful symphonic soundtrack for the film Zodi et Téhu, frères du désert. In February-March Mika appeared on the UK television with The Piano and after seeing the heartwarming final concert in London before Christmas 2022 it wasn’t a surprise the concept turned out to be extremely successful. This “talent show” without the usual competitive or commercial talent show vibe was one of the warmest and loveliest shows we have seen on television for a long time. I enjoyed the atmosphere, I enjoyed the chemistry between Mika, Lang Lang and Claudia Winkelman and I particularly enjoyed the possibility to finally follow Mika’s sensitive coaching in English. 

Television in the UK meant reconnecting not only with his local fans but also with the UK audience in general and in a way with the country itself. I was happy to have reasons to visit different parts of the UK in 2023 and feel that performing there several times made Mika more present in the English speaking world than he has been in years. In addition to the Asia tour in May, the full Italian summer tour in July and several gigs in the UK, France and Spain we saw also gigs in Belgium, Switzerland and Monaco and after many years one in Morocco and also the first ever gig in Greece. It truly was an international summer.

The official gig year started in Cheltenham at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival and what an absolutely elegant start for the year it was. Mika had Nomfundo Moh as a guest on stage which was a major surprise. We heard Feels Like Fire live for the first time and I immensely enjoyed hearing both that and One More Dance (originally performed by Harry Belafonte and Miriam Makeba) that we heard as well. One of my favourite ever guest performances! The Mika Asia tour in May after Cheltenham was all about reconnecting with his Asian fans and we saw three gigs with totally different styles and the love and warmth was there every time. There was so much love in the air that I could literally feel it with my body like a cozy blanket. The tour started in Osaka and the show was warm and somehow very intimate.

Asian crowds are exceptional. People are polite and thoughtful and afterwards I always wish that it could continue, that people could be that polite and thoughtful everywhere. In Tokyo after Osaka Mika asked the audience to sit and calm down for Over My Shoulder and it happened immediately, no one questioned his request and the song was breathtakingly beautiful, one of my favourite gig moments of the year. I remember how I closed my eyes and hoped time could stop right there because it was something so special. People were still so enthusiastic that when the show was over they didn’t want to leave. They simply refused to leave the venue and Mika had no other choice than come back even though he was already wearing his pyjamas and he asked his band back on stage and they came without shoes and still putting their shirts back on. It was not planned because an audience reaction like that cannot be planned and we heard an unexpected two song encore performed in pyjamas and I had never seen anything like that before and have never seen an audience that would deserve it more than the Tokyo audience that night. An exceptional situation and very dear memory.

The love didn’t become any smaller in Seoul, Korea. Korea is famous for its particularly enthusiastic concert crowds. This wasn’t Mika’s solo gig, he did a performance at the Seoul Jazz Festival and the line up was fantastic. Yet the night ended with an atmosphere that was better than most solo gigs I’ve seen. Mika came on stage and the whole crowd became a sea of lights and hearts and ice creams and golden pompoms and everyone was singing and dancing and the energy was incredible. It's impossible to even put in words. The look at his face when he saw the crowd! I was happy to see it and I was happy to see the crowd and to be a part of it. It’s special to experience something like that. Obviously, Asia was also the first time we saw the tiger mask on stage. One of my favourite ever details.

We saw the gorgeous tiger head already in Asia but the flower theme was introduced for the first time in Talence and after that in Le Mans in the beginning of June during two absolutely wonderful shows and after that the stage was blooming almost everywhere either in a form of the magical flower piano or with giant, statue like flowers or both. During the summer we saw so many different style of gigs that it’s unusually difficult to pick any favourites, almost every performance was somehow special, unique and particularly memorable. There were rare daylight gigs in Isle Of Wight, Greece and Tarvisio, maybe the hottest ever weather conditions in Southern Italy and the rainiest ever muddy festival in Belgium where Mika literally put his stage shoes in the mud while walking in the crowd. There were fancy gigs like the roof top gig in Cannes, the venue with stone walls at a boutique festival in Marbella and the dinner concert in Monte Carlo. There were relaxed summer festivals in the most beautiful locations at the seaside, in the middle of amazing mountains and at a picturesque lake.

This was the first time I saw a gig in Morocco and felt extremely grateful for it because I couldn’t have imagined the vibe without actually being there. Casablanca was totally chaotic and weirdly organized at the same time. The security at the gig was one of the most professional I’ve seen yet the atmosphere was quite uncontrollable and not easy for the artist. Mika gave the fans who had eagerly waited for him the attention they wanted and the result was an energetic gig with a lot of interaction with the crowd. The joyful sunny day in a natural park close to Athens was the first ever gig in Greece but the elegant Perugia Jazz Festival, old-fashioned seaside vibe in Cattolica and the beautiful view down to the valley from the venue in Chieti were all familiar from some previous tours. In hot Cannes the venue was only steps from the water so it was possible to swim during the day while waiting for the gig, in Matera we walked up and down around the most beautiful old town I’ve ever seen. The summer included so many beautiful locations and special features it’s impossible to choose only a few and the variety of styles and atmospheres made every night (and in some occasions day) of the tour interesting and unique. 

There are numerous moments my mind goes through again and again. The duet with Nomfundo Moh in Cheltenham, No Place In Heaven in Osaka and Over My Shoulder in Tokyo, songs like Origin in Seoul. The piano opening to the full bloom for the first time and “May Your Head Always Bloom” sign rising up in Talence and the giant flowers ending in the “piano vase” in Tilloloy. The rain throwing a huge wave on stage during Underwater in Le Mans, Grace Kelly with animations in Isle Of Wight and rare Last Party in Bristol. Beautiful sunny Relax and the cutest ever little bit of love in Greece and stunningly beautiful Yo-Yo and one my favourite Boum Boum Boums in Matera. Energetic Elle Me Dit in Sion where the whole gig had an amazing, positive atmosphere, the first performance of the new French song C’est la Vie with lots and lots of confetti in Spa, the sweaty and party style ending dance in Cannes and the breathtaking Good Guys with stunning lights in Monte Carlo. My favourites at every gig like special moments during Underwater and Tiny Love and each legendary cape dance ending in We Are Golden or Love Today.

The biggest show elements of the summer were the gorgeous outfits and I was extremely happy when Mika introduced his own atelier. It's something I value extremely high. It's not that I expect him to become a designer or to start a factory, just to have possibilities to give everything his own signature as a part of that artistic freedom he wants and that we all want for him.  My favourite outfits are simple and have a flattering fitting cut, they represent old-fashioned elegance. During the summer 2023 my absolute favourite was the blue and white striped suit with the strong red flower we saw in Tarvisio. No shirt or necklaces. Just the suit and the big flower and the scene on stage in daylight looked astonishingly poetic. The big violas we saw in Tilloloy made the suit look like canvas and the flowers were literally art on it. The green pants gave an amazing statue like figure and the shiny white suit was luxurious and simple yet extravagant at the same time. I particularly love the vintage like pastel colours like pale pink, turquoise and purple. The gorgeous powdery pink large peony looks exactly like real life peonies when the colours start to fade away in them. One of the prettiest flowers I've ever seen.

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