Fans watching Super Bowl LVII on Sunday saw much more than the Kansas City Chiefs topping the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35. During one of the ad breaks, U2 confirmed the long-speculated and widely-reported rumor that the band will open the new MSG Sphere at The Venetian in Las Vegas as the groundbreaking venue’s first residency. Though exact dates were not given, the ad pointed to a fall 2023 opening.
In the vaguely Close Encounters of the Third Kind commercial, U2 fans new and old are transported to the desert by a floating sphere. Joining the fans in the desolate environment is the band itself, with guitarist The Edge asking, “Are we doing this?” “We’d be mad not to,” frontman Bono responds as they walk toward the Sphere, legions of fans following behind. The giant baby inside the Sphere says “There’s room for everybody,” though last month the project’s CEO said the venue—which is still under construction—would have an estimated capacity of 17,500.
U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At The Sphere | Teaser
U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At The Sphere will utilize the venue’s immersive sound with over 164,300 channels, the world’s largest LED screen, and 4D technologies to bring the band’s 1991 album to life. U2 has not performed live since December 2019, following the wildly successful Joshua Tree 30th anniversary stadium tour as well as the eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE indoor tour, which together played to over 4 million people.
The band also announced that drummer Larry Mullen Jr. will take time to undergo and recuperate from surgery this year and will miss the residency. The Las Vegas shows will see Bono, The Edge, and Adam Clayton perform with drummer Bram van den Berg.
“It’s going to take all we’ve got to approach the Sphere without our bandmate in the drum seat, but Larry has joined us in welcoming Bram van den Berg who is a force in his own right,” Bono, The Edge, and Clayton said.
The band continued,
The Sphere show has been in the works for a long time. We don’t want to let people down, least of all our audience… the truth is we miss them as much as they appear to miss us… our audience was always the fifth member of the band. Bottom line, U2 hasn’t played live since December 2019 and we need to get back on stage and see the faces of our fans again. And what a unique stage they’re building for us out there in the desert… We’re the right band, ACHTUNG BABY the right album, and the Sphere the right venue to take the live experience of music to the next level… That’s what U2’s been trying to do all along with our satellite stages and video installations, most memorably on the ZOO TV Tour, which ended in Tokyo 30 years ago this Fall.
The Sphere is more than just a venue, it’s a gallery and U2’s music is going to be all over the walls.
Fans can register with Ticketmaster for more information on the show dates and ticketing details once announced.