Mark Cunniffe was the lighting programmer and operator for Michael’s fifty concerts at London’s O2 Arena. Mark has worked with many of the world’s greatest performers including David Bowie, Rod Stewart, George Michael and Stevie Wonder and was delighted to get the call to be involved in Michael’s concerts. In a recent interview Mark said that Michael performed a full show twice on the Tuesday and Wednesday before he died and he “nailed” it both times. “He was stopping to give us notes,” he said.
“I was devastated when he died. Even if he’d done one show, it would have been great to see him do it and take the accolades for it. I think it would have been one of his finest moments.”
After the briefest of hellos with the greatest entertainer we’ve ever had, Mark was thrown straight into work. “In our first meeting he was explaining the lighting notes for ‘Billie Jean.’ It was six weeks before he died and before we moved to the Staples Center for the final rehearsals. He was telling me, ‘I walk on stage, cock my hat, click my fingers and a light comes on.’ I’m writing all this furiously. ‘Then I move over, click fingers, light comes on. I turn to the audience, look this way, look that way, light comes on.'” Mark was grinning at the memory saying; “It becomes a surreal moment. Afterwards, I said ‘thanks very much, Michael’, went back to the control room and was straight on the phone to my kids saying, ‘Guess who I’ve been speaking to.'”