Tommy Lights 'Tommy;' Vegas Gigs; LDs for Sheeran, Spoon, Evanescence, Lady A and More

by Debi Moen
in Designer Watch
The Who performs 'Tommy' at Royal Albert Hall in London
The Who performs 'Tommy' at Royal Albert Hall in London

Lighting designer Tom Kenny filled us in on The Who’s two special dates at the Royal Albert Hall recently, saying it was the first time The Who have played the iconic rock opera Tommy in its entirety in 28 years. Though the band originally billed it as an acoustic performance, they decided in the end to plug in to be more faithful to the 1969 version. On The Who’s website, it was noted: “Our own Tommy (Tom Kenny, lighting designer) made the room look amazing, using every surface as a screen and bouncing light everywhere, not just onstage. What an environment.”

The shows benefit the Teenage Cancer Trust, which The Who has supported in song for 17 years, Kenny says.

“It was a pleasure to light these shows at my favorite venue,” he adds. “I’ve lit many shows here, including over 60 shows with Eric Clapton, and a few favorites with George Harrison and friends. The venue has adapted the house rig to what rigs we have put in over the years, so it’s like being in your own venue. The architecture is so wonderful to light, and as we were filming this historic event, we had one massive palette. The Who had Noel Gallagher and Imelda May as special guests to perform before each night, which gave me a wonderful chance to enjoy the whole shows.”

‡‡         Vegas Residencies

LD Alex Skowron returns with John Fogerty’s residency at the Wynn in Las Vegas in May, with extra runs set for September and in January 2018. The show’s creative director is Raj Kapoor, with lighting design by Mark Butts. Skowron’s long time colleague Ed Motts helped with programming as Alex looked after the media servers.

Lighting director Chris Lose fills in for LD Rob Koenig on the Billy Idol: Forever residency at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Idol is booked for the months of May and October.

‡‡         Quick Cues

Mark Cunniffe is again the lighting and production designer for Ed Sheeran’s Divide tour. Though Sheeran is going solo on this round, Cunniffe says “it’s a huge production and well worth a look.” Cunniffe has been working with Sheeran since 2011.

LD Dan Hadley and lighting director Jack Davis spent time programming lighting in Spoon’s hometown of Austin, TX to prepare for the band’s tour kickoff on April 27.

Designers at Pulse Lighting are on a steady beat. LD Preston Hoffman went out with The Record Company for their opening slot for John Mayer, before turning it over to a lighting director. Another Pulse LD, Justin Bridges is out with The Story Tour: An Acoustic Evening with Brandi Carlile.

Marty Postma is touring with Evanescence as their lighting director, covering for regular LD Dan Hardiman.

LD Sooner Routhier updates us on her latest. “Robert (Long) and I are looking forward to putting Depeche Mode and Lady Antebellum in production this month! We are also starting up The Weeknd in North America, which is a lighting design for Es Devlin’s massive starship.” Out with Lady A are lighting director Brent Maxon and programmer Andre Petrus. Depeche Mode’s team includes lighting director Manny Conde and programmer Brian Jenkins.

While Imagine Dragons prepare for a summer European festival run, Mitchell Schellenger lit the band in a few U.S. concerts — one at the ACLU benefit concert at the Staples Center, and another for the band’s debut performance of “Believer” on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Ultra Music Festival 2017 rendering

Patrick Dierson says design firm The Activity has taken on production design duties for Ultra Music Festival globally, and just wrapped up their Miami festival a few weeks ago.

It’s the time of the season for The Zombies to celebrate their 50th anniversary of the recording of their album, Odyssey and Oracle. LD Craig Gaff is touring with them as lighting designer and director as well as the video director. The four surviving members have reunited: Colin Blunstone, Rod Argent, Chris White and Hugh Grundy.

LD Patrick Woodroffe hosted a one day lighting design workshop April 21 at the University of Johannesburg Arts Centre alongside colleague and friend, LD Roland Greil. With slides and video, the two specifically focused on The London Olympics in 2012, the 2009 Michael Jackson show that never came to fruition and the recent Adele concert tour.

Steve Garner is programming The President Show for LD Chris Landy at Comedy Central.

David Davidian reports in from his video directing stint with Enrique Iglesias at the F1 race on the island nation of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. He then returns to tour managing Alice Cooper.

LD Andrew Drury hit the road in April for Trace Adkins’ tour. Find out more in On the Road in this issue, page 18.

Got any summer touring news for Debi? Reach her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..