Mark Fisher, the talented and prolific creator of environments that helped take the experience of rock concerts to a new and more spectacular level, passed away on June 26, 2013. He was 66. Fisher was responsible for the stage design of iconic and groundbreaking concert environments for such Hall of Fame Inductees as the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and U2, among others.
With news of his passing, the Rolling Stones issued the following statement, quoted in the Daily Mail newspaper: “We are all extremely saddened to hear of the death of dear friend Mark Fisher. The remarkable sets he designed for us over last two decades played a major part in the success of all those tours. His passion, dedication and professionalism was infectious. We all loved his dry sense of humor and unflappable demeanor ... a quietly soft spoken genius.”
Among his credits, Fisher designed the set for the Rolling Stones’ 1989 Steel Wheels tour and ex-Pink Floyd member Roger Waters' The Wall extravaganza in 1990, when he performed the 1979 album The Wall at Potsdamer Platz, the site of the Berlin Wall. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is proud to display examples of Fisher’s work from both of these tours, including an installation that mirrors the Berlin performance and celebrates The Wall’s most famous song, “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2).” The 30-foot-high “teacher” from the song looms over the wall, while “Pink” sits behind it in a bleak motel room, watching TV. Visitors exit via the small hole through which Roger Waters sang the final song of the first half of the show, “Goodbye Cruel World,” as the last brick was put in place, completing the blank and alien wall.
Fisher started collaborating with U2 in 1992, working on the band’s Zoo TV, PopMart, Elevation and Vertigo tours. While Fisher worked primarily on the set designs for outdoor stadiums on the Zoo TV tour, the indoor versions featured six highly decorated East German Trabant automobiles (pictured, left, inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum), which were suspended from the lighting rig, 35 TV monitors and a remote mini-stage, onto which a seventh Trabant was lowered during intermission. The Trabants’ headlights served as spotlights, while messages, slogans, pre-recorded videos and live television broadcasts appeared on the screens. “We’ve got all this technology available, and it’s our duty to abuse it,” said lead singer Bono, who, dressed in black leather and wrap-around sunglasses, had been transformed into The Fly, the ultimate rock star. Those cars appear in the Museum's first floor. Fisher's work with U2 reached its apogee with 2010’s 360˚ tour, which became the largest touring production in history.
In addition to his work in the music world, Fisher also designed the U.K.’s Millennium Dome inaugural show in 1999, and the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing and London Olympics in 2008 and 2012, respectively.