U2's Sphere Las Vegas Opening Concert: A Jaw-Dropping Affair with Swagger and Iconic Songs
U2's "U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere" performance at the Las Vegas venue is a visually stunning experience.
The opening rush of U2's shows at the multibillion-dollar Las Vegas venue, "U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere," is nothing short of a marvel. The Sphere itself is an awe-inspiring structure, standing at 516-feet wide and 366 feet tall. It takes up about two city blocks and is taller than a football field. Designed to be the world's largest spherical shaped venue, it envelops the audience with its walls of video screens and delivers pristine, isolated sound.
The experience of being inside the Sphere is like a combination of IMAX and the Death Star. It's a spectacle with swagger, featuring artsy graphics and a trove of heartfelt songs. When the lights dimmed for the inaugural event, U2 made a grand entrance from the back of the stage, which was designed to resemble a turntable as a tribute to Brian Eno's art project. The band members, Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, and fill-in drummer Bram van den Berg, delivered a captivating performance.
Bono, with his trademark swagger, donned The Fly persona and kicked off the show with "Zoo Station," the first track from their "Achtung Baby" album. The band played the entire album as promised, but with a shuffled track listing. Throughout the performance, towering screens displayed neon words like "Patience," "Destiny," and "Truth," adding to the visual spectacle.
One of the standout moments of the show was the mega-sized video of Elvis Presley combined with scenes of old Las Vegas and U2 floating in bubbles during "Even Better Than the Real Thing." It was a visual stunner that showcased the band's affinity for the classics. Bono even acknowledged the presence of Elvis in the building, referring to the venue as an "Elvis cathedral."
The show was filled with nods to Vegas icons, including a stripped-down version of "Love Me Tender" and a tribute to Van Morrison with elements of "Into the Mystic" woven into "Angel of Harlem." The band also unveiled their new rock song, "Atomic City," inspired by Las Vegas, preceded by a rendition of Frank Sinatra's "My Way."
Dedications were a significant part of the night, with Bono paying tribute to Sir Paul McCartney and the late Jimmy Buffett. The emotional moments were not limited to dedications, as Bono choked up while speaking about their drummer, Larry Mullen Jr., who was absent due to health issues. Despite Mullen Jr.'s absence, Bram van den Berg proved to be a proficient substitute.
The setlist included rare live performances of songs like "Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around the World" and "So Cruel," delighting diehard fans. Casual U2 followers were treated to a 30-minute feast of favorites, culminating in the explosive roar of sound and illuminations during "Elevation."
The grand finale of the show featured "Vertigo" and "Where the Streets Have No Name," accompanied by stunning visuals on the screens. The gargantuan production of the Sphere did not overshadow the band; instead, it enhanced the experience. U2 managed to deliver moving moments through small details and the earnestness of their music.
In conclusion, U2's "U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere" performance at the Las Vegas venue is a spectacle like no other. The combination of the massive structure, captivating visuals, and heartfelt music creates an unforgettable experience for the audience. U2's ability to engage and move the crowd proves that they are more than capable of living up to the grandeur of the Sphere.