My friend in the concert business Daniel “Danny” Mayo died of a sudden heart attack in his sleep this past weekend.
I’ve talked to quite a few mutual friends and the surprise of losing Danny, his passion, his art and his sense of humor is a loss to many in the Kansas City entertainment industry.
Danny painted on a big canvas.
He created stage and lighting designs for private events for many years. And he had a long list of loyal clients. Charity organizations could count on Danny to light a mountain on a molehill budget. Danny was a welcome sight in every venue hosting an event in Kansas City.
The set up would be organized and Danny was always there to make the subtle changes and assure the client that the show would be beautiful
Danny hired me as the stage manager for Sandstone in 1985. He would do the phone work in advance with the artist coming to perform at the then two year-old amphitheatre and it was my job to make sure their show was set up in time for the audience to see them perform.
Back in the 80’s, loud colored shorts were in style but Danny, with his sense of fashion, added a button down dress shirt to the mix that set him apart from the band of hooligans in silly shorts working for him in those early summers at Sandstone.
When the show was over, and the last truck was loaded, the shot glasses came out and Danny and I would toss one back and head home. Only one shot, since two shots of Tequila made Danny smile bigger and stay too late.
Danny was always working. He had roots in Kansas City, but he left for a few years to be Tour Manager for his Wichita friends, John and Martina McBride. When Danny tired of the road, he came home and focused on stage and lighting design here.
Danny took over the Creative Desk at Digital Sound Systems in December 2002. He would take something that was supposed to stand up straight and set it on it’s side, or he’d take a column and fly it over your head to give things a new, fresh look and dimension. Why not, Danny would ask as he walked through the shop of Digital Sound Systems tilting his head to look at something in a different perspective.
There are no rules in design, and Danny created something fantastic and of course unique for each client.
His skill and passion became very well known to Kansas City charity organizations working hard to raise funds. Danny was their design quarterback. He could scramble and make things happen. Danny designed many events in the past few years at the Midland by AMC. He and I designed the lighting system for the new Midland. Of course, our first Midland lighting system hit a few budget barriers since we wanted all of the toys including the sun, moon and stars. But our final result has enough lights to finesse a private event and we can punch out a kickass rock show.
Through his art, Danny touched many lives in Kansas City. And so on Tuesday, March 22 at 6 pm we will do our best to honor and celebrate his life at the Midland by AMC.