Ronnie James Dio

1985 Concert Touring Set

Hydraulically Articulated Dragon

and Castle

Designed & Built at

Nomad Productions

Morris Day

1987 Concert Touring Set

Designed & Built at

Nomad Productions

Stevie Wonder

1988 Concert Touring Set

40’ Turntable &18’ Turntable

Designed & Built at

Nomad Productions

I was fortunate enough to be involved in the early days of serious Rock and Roll Touring. Initially, in the early Seventies, there was not really much in the way of touring scenery. Other than a drum riser and maybe one or two other risers together with all the sound gear, lighting was the main scenic element. I did a lot of lighting work in Europe in the Seventies, but I felt that there was a lot more that could be done with scenery. I once saw a big stage set that Alice Cooper carried around. It was visually impressive, but it was really built more like circus scenery, heavy, bulky, and awkward to put together. That set the wheels turning, and when I returned to the States in 1978 I was able to start getting into the real nitty gritty of touring stage production, first at FM Productions in San Francisco, and later with some partners in our own company, Nomad Productions. I had some great opportunities to design and build for some of the biggest names in the Music Industry. The following is a sampling.

The design concepts for Rock and Roll Touring sets, or any other entertainment event, are centered around the Artist’s persona. This Heavy Metal Touring Set that I designed for Ronnie James Dio featured a castle / dungeon environment protected by robot knights that emerged from the turrets SL and SR and an 18’ (not 18”) fully articulated dragon that rose up on the castle ramparts, breathed fire, and shot lasers from its eyes. Ronnie James Dio confronted these romantic antagonists and conquered with his songs. 

The Dragon Machine

Stevie Wonder played to audiences in the round on this set of my design. It was the early days of MIDI technology with all its possibilities of sound linked to the keyboards and the days of transition into CD technology. I designed this double turntable stage with control button graphics on the sides to present the Artist in an environment of CD player imagery.

Morris Day is all about Style. In my design for this set, the Art Deco flavorings, the city-scape backdrop, the backlit staircase, and the cream and gold elegance of the surfaces gave the lighting designer a lot to work with and gave Morris Day plenty of room to move.

Morris Day Backdrop

I designed Stevie Wonder’s clear acrylic keyboard stands outlined with programmed light strings. They were built in our shop at Nomad Productions.

Based on my design for Stevie Wonder we built several turntable stages for Budweiser’s summer concert tours

Budweiser concert tours

At Nomad Productions I created the structural design for the stage concepts of other designer’s . Below are a few examples.

Sammy Hagar - The Red Rocker

Madonna - Material Girl

David Bowie - Glass Spider Tour

Several staging companies contributed to this set.

Nomad Productions created the spider’s head with an elevator inside to bring

David Bowie out the top

LL Cool Jay

Film, TV, Trade Show and Retail Projects on the following page.


Photo courtesy of Performace Magazine

Kenny Loggins

You can see the diagonal seam that marks the edge of a stairway that folds out for access to the drum riser.