By Ray Waddell, Billboard
U2 manager Paul McGuinness had a long and fruitful relationship with late, great architect/set designer Mark Fisher, who passed away on Tuesday (June 25) and was invovled with every U2 tour since 1991. Here's his thoughts on Fisher's "genius."
"I had known Mark in a previous life. Before I managed U2, back in 1973 I worked on a movie called "Zardoz," made in Ireland by the director John Boorman. It's kind of a cult movie now, sci-fi, Sean Connery, Charlotte Rampling were in it. In those days, Mark Fisher was a student at the Architectural Association in London. He and a couple of other kind of hippies from the Architectural Association worked on that movie building inflatable buildings -- it was set in the future. I always thought [the Rolling Stones tours] was where they developed the technology, and John Boorman must have heard about it and brought them in. That was the first time I met him, and then some years later he cropped up in rock 'n roll. We started working with him in 1991 and he was involved in every production since then."
On U2 360: "What happened with that production, we only played football stadiums, and we increased the capacity of those stadiums around the world by abut 20%. Unfortunately, because we sold out all those shows, in every city we played, the authorities - the transportation, the highway people, the cops - they never took it quite seriously. We told them, 'This is not just another sold out rock 'n roll event, it's not the same as a sports event in that stadium. It's 20% more people, you have to be ready for that.' And they hardly ever were, there were a lot of delays around the world on that tour."
"Mark was really a genius, that was the key to it. He was an architect with an extraordinary imagination. Some rock 'n roll production people are very set in their ways, the band or the artist comes to them with an idea, 'How can you execute it?' Some [set designers], I'm afraid, say, 'Oh, you can't do that, that's never been done before.' But Mark was never like that. He turned everyone's wild ideas into steel and lumber and canvas reality. He built extraordinary things for us."
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