Stones man to put the honky tonk into Mandy's Dome

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The Independent Online
ROCK AND ROLL stage set designer Mark Fisher, who over the past 25 years has worked with the most famous rock acts in the world, including the Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, Pink Floyd, Phil Collins, and R.E.M, has been recruited to bring magic to the Millennium Dome.

The man who has also designed and directed shows for Walt Disney World, Jean-Michel Jarre and the City of Moscow, will stage the show in the central plaza in the dome, six times a day in peak season and three times a day in low season.

Twelve thousand people are expected to watch each performance which will last about 20 minutes, but these figures don't frighten the designer of the Stones concerts sold out all over the world. This is the designer who can turn an event into a spectacle.

Mr Fisher, 50, is a British architect who trained at the Architectural Association, with an international reputation for the creation of spectacular rock concerts. His recent work includes "Popmart" for U2, in which he catapulted the band on stage in a 60ft revolving lemon, and "Bridges to Babylon" for the Stones. That set deconstructs with Egyptian columns and doric columns and the ruins of past civilisations. Both Popmart and Bridges to Babylon proved the biggest grossing shows in the US. "The show won't be the history of rock and roll, but it'll be spiritually uplifting and optimistic about the future," Mr Fisher said.

His first show for the Stones in 1990, "Steel Wheels", catapulted the band from eight to three in the worldwide chart of top performance earners. That road show, which was seen by 3 million people in the United States, generated revenues exceeding $100m and cost the band $18m to stage.

He has up-staged the impresario Sir Cameron Mackintosh, whose plans for a musical to be staged on the original auditorium proved so expensive that they were scrapped. So was the auditorium, to be replaced with an plaza. Mackintosh is said to have needed pounds 250m to equip it. He is still retained as a creative adviser.

Mr Fisher won't be drawn on his ballpark figure for the Millennium Experience. "It'll be splendidly expensive and completely wonderful. I am thrilled at them asking rock and rollers to show the world what real British pop culture is all about."

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