Review: Concert Lighting, Third Edition

Concert Lighting - Third EditionA while back, Focal Press announced one of their latest books, Concert Lighting, Third Edition: Techniques, Art & Business by James L. Moody. I was fortunate enough to receive a copy from the publisher to write a review of the book.  It has taken some time for me to read through the book.  Not because it is 352 pages long, but that it is packed with some great information and history. In order to do a proper review, I wanted to full comprehend and take in everything that Mr. Moody wrote.

Let’s take a look at the description of the book from Focal Press:

Get ready to pack your bags and go on tour with the most trusted and comprehensive text for concert lighting. With a special focus on rock and roll, learn how to use computer aided drafting, moving luminaires, learn about the people and the history that shaped the field and more. Expand your design possibilities by learning about cross-media use of concert lighting techniques and their application in film, video, theatre and the corporate world. From snagging those precious contracts to knowing the best equipment to use to designing a show, Concert Lighting: Techniques, Art and Business covers everything you need to know.

History of the book

This is Mr. Moody’s third edition of Concert Lighting with the first edition being released in 1989, the second edition being released in 1997 and then this, the third edition being published late 2009.  Every ten years, Mr. Moody seems to be updating the book with more information and history which completely understandable.  Over the course of just the past ten years, the lighting industry has seen some wonderful new technologies come around and put into the market.  Not only does Mr. Moody cover the history of products, but gives a unique look at how new products came to life and how they got their start first in the concert realm of lighting and then moving into other entertainment lighting markets.

What the book covers

Mr. Moody has been in the lighting industry for 30+ years and has seen the industry grow, change and adapt to new technologies, styles of lighting and management.  The main focus of the book is to help guide the reader through the adventure of becoming a lighting professional at which ever level they desire. But in order to be prepared and ready for almost anything you do in life, you have to understand where things began and how they came to what they are. During the course of the book, Mr. Moody shares his views and memories of how lighting has evolved. All the while Mr. Moody is providing a detailed guide of how a concert lighting event is began and finished with detailed examples and explanations of everything that is involved with putting on an event. Ever wonder the different levels and responsibilities of a production team for a tour is structured? That is covered and explained in detail. Mr. Moody covers everything from the ground up with a live event production leaving out no detail.

With the Third Edition of the book, Mr. Moody has added some of the latest technologies and products that have been developed and released since the last edition of the book.  Provided in the book are snapshots and quick overviews of some of these products such as LED lighting fixtures, the latest lighting consoles, media servers and of course moving lights.

Towards the end of the book is one of my favorite sections and reading materials, interviews with working professionals.  Mr. Moody interviewed some of the top lighting designers in the industry today.  It is always fascinating to see how a working professional got his start and how they have developed their techniques along the way.  It gives the reader a glimpse of their own potential with in the lighting industry.

Who is the book for

With the levels of details that Mr. Moody goes into on every subject and all of the history and stories he provides, the book can provide a great read for any technician, at any level of experience in the business.  But the book is targeted at providing the entry level or newbie a detailed understanding of where the concert lighting world came from and how it pioneered specific technologies and products to all of the entertainment lighting industry. Concert Lighting, Third Edition is a great addition to any professionals or aspiring professionals bookshelf. If not for the history lessons, certainly for the wealth of knowledge and insight into the lighting industry Mr. Moody puts forth into the book.


Thank you Mr. Moody and Focal Press for providing an advanced copy of the book to write this review.  You can pick up your copy of Concert Lighting, Third Edition: Techniques, Art & Business from Focal Press’s website For just $49.95, the book could help pave your way and guide you into the concert lighting industry.

Have you read Concert Lighting, Third Edition?  I would love to hear your thoughts on the book.  Leave a message in the comment section of this review below.