LD Mick Thornton and the Moody Blues

by Debi Moen • in
  • Current Issue
  • February 2018
  • On the Road
• Created: February 16, 2018

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Mick Thornton photo by Dave Stabley

TOUR: “Days of Future Passed: 50th Anniversary”

DESIGN: “Tours of this size are obviously influenced by budget and truck space, while designing with flair and personal touches. Each year, I endeavor to change the design and most of the media content for the screens. Keep it fresh. I have complete control of the way I present the artists. They trust me after many years of designing their shows. The first half of the show is their greatest hits. I use one-third of the video wall using archival photos, and the whole lighting rig is blue and white. In the second half, they perform the entire album, Days of Future Passed. This part is in full color and full video, with a main video wall of 6mm, and floor video panels of 20mm. The difference in pixel range works well. I spent a month on the video content with video designer Dave Stabley.

“Band member Justin Hayward wanted the video accompanying the album’s song list to be British — using clips from London, overhead shots from rooftops and such. Each song is a section — the video literally follows the album, lyric for lyric. Also in this show, we pay tribute to the passing of Ray Thomas, who died Jan. 4 this year. We got word of his passing after we got off the ship on the recent Moody Blues Cruise.”

LIGHTING PHILOSOPHY: “I aim to make each song or composition have its own definitive look and make all my fixtures work hard and get the most out of their potential. Big focuses and strict color management.”


HOME BASE: “I live in the historical UNESCO Heritage village of Saltaire in Yorkshire, UK.”



CAREER SPARK: “Art college. I used to share a flat with the drummer of New Model Army. They were going on their first European tour, and their tour manager needed an LD. He said, ‘I’ve seen you dance in the clubs, so I know you have rhythm. And you’re in art college, so I know you’re creative. Do you fancy doing lights?’ I had done a little local crew work in theatres, so I knew what was involved. I jumped into a van to Europe for six weeks for was my first industry gig, lighting and tour managing New Model Army in 1983.”

OTHER TOUR DESIGNS: “The Cure, Andrea Bocelli, Opeth, The Mavericks, Slayer, Machine Head.”

DESIGNERS YOU PAY ATTENTION TO: “Andi Watson, Oli Metcalfe and Cosmo Wilson.”

TOURING HIGHLIGHTS: “In 1989, New Model Army was supporting David Bowie at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin. People were climbing over the Wall (which separated East and West Germany at the time). Crowds grew to 120,000 people there during the show. I was standing on the delay tower at the FOH — it was an immense scene. And halfway through the concert, the audio cut out. I think it came back on 10 minutes later. But at that time, apparently authorities stopped caring that people were going over the Wall. Two weeks later, the Wall went down.”

WORDS TO LIVE BY: “Treat everybody as you would like to be treated yourself. I do not like rudeness and litter.”

Photo by Debi Moen




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