The king of horror-rock theatre, Alice Cooper, was on the road once again this past autumn. The European leg of his Dragontown world tour featured a dramatic and eye-catching lighting rig supplied by Bandit UK. Along with the performer's usual onstage antics, this time around the entertainment culminated with the guillotining of pop princess Britney Spears as played by Cooper's daughter, Calico. Lighting designer for this spectacle of heavy-metal mayhem was Mick Thornton, who designed a colorful and fast-paced show.
Cooper himself gets involved with the show at conceptual stages, but allows everyone creative freedom. Thornton needed a versatile lighting rig to match the intricate stage set and the manic pace of action onstage. At the heart of the set is the Rejuvenator chamber, designed by Rob Roth who also choreographed the show, and constructed by Colorado-based Distortions.
The rig is a three-truss system, with each truss hinged in several segments and raked for an anarchic appearance. The fixtures are based around a moving light core of Martin Professional MAC 500s and MAC 300s, which are the workhorses of the dynamic show. There are 24 six-lamp PAR bars plus Martin Atomic strobes, four-light Moles, a plethora of single floor PARs, some ETC Source Fours, and four smoke machines to pump up the gothic quotient.
The LD utilized a mix of dramatic beams and bold color washes, lots of stark white, and sinister colors like browns and greens. Thornton ran the show from an Avolites Diamond 2, a desk that gives him hands-on access and improvisational options, all of which were used in this full-tilt show.
Thornton used Bandit Lites earlier in the year for The Moody Blues tour and didn't hesitate in returning to them to service this one worldwide. “The kit, the crew, and the service from Bandit are consistently unbeatable,” he commented.
Thornton completed a week of production rehearsals and programming in Phoenix, AZ, before the tour hit the US (the US leg was serviced by Bandit USA), with lights operated by Kent Schafferman, as Thornton had other commitments. The European leg ended in mid-December.