Michael O' Connor


February 5, 2022

Michael O’Connor

May 1957 - Dublin, Ireland


Lighting Technician/Production Manager

Your Work:

Your first job after full-time education?

I worked for six months in a garage to help fund a 15-month round-the-world solo bicycle trip.

What inspired you to get into the world of production?

As a lampie in the 90’s I worked with some great production managers and I was very impressed with how they delivered the shows that I was working on.

And what was your first job?

My first production job was with Erasure in 1997. My first show with them was at the NEC Arena in Birmingham…straight in at the deep end.

Is there anyone you would describeas a mentor?

I would not describe them as mentors but three key people in my career path would be Peter Clark (Supermick Lights), Mick Double (PM with Eric Clapton) and Maggie Mouzakitis (TM with Erasure and Oasis).

What is your favourite touring memory?

Seeing a happy and satisfied audience walking/staggering out of a venue. It is a combination of the artist, production crew, local crew and venue personnel that make it happen. Remember it’s the audience that pay your wages.

What is your WORST touring memory?

Seeing a venue burning down incentral Madrid with our Riverdance production inside the building. A fireman came down from a huge turntable ladder and said, “It used to be an arena and now it’s a stadium”, meaning the whole roof had collapsed onto the venue floor. We went in with 15 trucks and came out with 3.

And the funniest?

Too many to mention.

What people may not know:

What is the trait that has help you during your career?

Perseverance and a sense of humour.

Do you think there is currently enough practical encouragement of young production talent?

No. Another thing which has always baffled me is the lack of representation of the BAME community as crew members within the UK industry.

What have been the major highlights of your career to date?

Working on Pope John Paul II’s appearance before an audience of 1,250,000 people in the Phoenix Park in Dublin in 1979. He rocked it..! Working as a lampie on the Oasis shows in Knebworth came a close second. There are also lots of other great shows that I really enjoyed working on over the years.

What occupies your free time?

I like to walk in nature and I also enjoy reading.

How has lockdown affected you?

Unfortunately I was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease last December so I have had to hang up my lanyard and take early retirement.

What is your focus currently?

Keeping active for as long as Ican.

Whats the most inspiring thing anybody has ever said to you?

I read the following at the bottom of a daily tear-off calendar in 1975 and it had a big effect on me: “He who ventures gains adventure”.

Who would be your four ideal (real life) dinner party guests?

Arthur C. Clarke, David Bowie, Oscar Wilde and Mahatma Gandhi. I’d just listen to their conversations..!

What have you been up to during the Pandemic?

Getting out for plenty of walks and catching up on some books that I never managed to read.

Your favourite record of all-time (could be an album or single track)?

“Heroes” by David Bowie.

What was the first gig you attended?

A New Year’s late-night show of Rory Gallagher’s at The Carlton Cinema in Dublin in January 1975. A drum playing friend and I didn’t have any tickets, so we took some of his kit in soft bags to the venue and told security at the front door that it was the extra drums for the show. When we got inside, they were doing a change over from the cinema setup to a rock show, so we just walked up to the stage with the kit and put it in the stage right wing. Gallagher’s people thought that we were with the support band and they thought that we were with Gallagher’s crew. After the support band played, we moved over to watch Rory’s stunning set from the stage left wing and were joined there by Phil Lynott.

After the show we just walked across the stage, picked up the soft bags and walked out the front door. Not a bad night for two 16 year old kids…..simpler times..!

What would be your advice to the teenage you?

Don’t bunk into gigs..!

What's the best piece of touring apparatus you've discovered over your career (and why)?

A bunk in a tour bus - sleep, sleep and more sleep.

Closing Questions:

What are your hopes for the future?

I hope the industry kicks back into life very soon for my touring friends and colleagues and that management and agents don’t start back with lots of back to backs as NO ONE is currently road fit.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Always expect the unexpected and deal with it.

And, if you weren’t doing this,you’d be?

Either driving or working in hospitality.

Article By:  

Joel Perry

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