The Sound Cafe
The World's Biggest Band, U2, Set To Launch The World's Most State-Of-The-Art Venue In Las Vegas
By Stevie Connor.
U2 dropped the ultimate sneak peek - to a mass global audience - with a Super Bowl commercial that has fans wondering if the band is perhaps announcing inter-planetary travel or an out-of-this-world experience.
The ad gives a glimpse into their next ambitious project - titled U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At The Sphere - which will see the world’s biggest rock band launch the world’s most exciting all-new state-of-the-art venue, MSG Sphere at The Venetian, in Las Vegas this Fall.
This special run of shows marks the band’s first live outing in four years, following the massive success of their acclaimed Joshua Tree 30th anniversary stadium tour which was seen by over 3.2 million fans worldwide and their 2018 eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE indoor tour which played to a combined audience of 1 million across Europe and North America.
The full-length trailer announcement is a celebration of the global U2 community, featuring a select group of new and longtime U2 fans (along with a few band doppelgangers) coming together for a futuristic Achtung Baby adventure in a unique desert landscape.
Acknowledged as the best live act in the world, U2 have always – since their earliest days, including the industry-defining ZOO TV Tour which broke the mold in 1991 - consistently pushed the boundaries of live performance, with ground-breaking stage shows that embrace the latest in technology and innovation. Live Nation’s announcement that the band will launch MSG Sphere, the state-of-the art venue currently dominating the Las Vegas skyline, is fitting for a show from the world’s most thrilling live band.
The announcement comes with confirmation that Larry Mullen Jr. will take time out to undergo and recuperate from surgery in 2023. These Las Vegas shows will see Larry and the band welcome drummer Bram van den Berg who will be sitting in to join Bono, The Edge and Adam Clayton onstage at MSG Sphere.
Bono, The Edge and Adam said, “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.
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.”
The Edge added – "The beauty of the Sphere is not only the ground-breaking technology that will make it so unique, with the world’s most advanced audio system, integrated into a structure which is designed with sound quality as a priority; it’s also the possibilities around immersive experience in real and imaginary landscapes. In short, it’s a canvas of an unparalleled scale and image resolution and a once-in-a-generation opportunity. We all thought about it and decided we’d be mad not to accept the invitation.”
Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. Executive Chairman and CEO James L. Dolan said, “MSG Sphere’s advanced technology allows a legendary band like U2 to bring its music to life in entirely new ways. The Sphere is a new medium that will redefine entertainment.”
MSG Sphere introduces a new medium of entertainment. Fans will feel the impact of the greatest band in the world’s most experiential venue. MSG Sphere introduces the first 16K screen that wraps up, around, and behind the audience. Sphere Immersive Sound delivers pitch perfect audio to every seat in the house. 4D technologies will let the audience feel the wind on their face, the heat on their skin and the rumble of thunder. The U2 UV Achtung Baby Live At The Sphere opening series of shows will tap into this exclusive technology, allowing fans to experience something completely new.
The band has also released “One” from their new album Songs Of Surrender – a collection of 40 seminal U2 songs from across the band’s catalog, re-recorded and reimagined for 2023 in sessions spanning the last two years which sees the band revisit some of the most celebrated songs of their 40+ year career, to be released in full on Friday March 17th. A special world premiere of “One” could be heard during the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Super Bowl feature.
U2 is acknowledged as one of the best live acts in the world. Formed in Dublin in 1978, the band were marked out by their drive and ambition from the beginning. U2 has toured the globe countless times, released 14 studio albums, sold over 170 million albums and won numerous awards, including 22 Grammys and Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience award. U2 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 and have twice been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song: in 2003 for ‘The Hands That Built America’ for Gangs of New York, and in 2014 for ‘Ordinary Love’ for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. U2’s fourteenth studio album Songs Of Experience – the companion release to 2014’s Songs Of Innocence - was released in December 2017 debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200, setting U2 apart as the only band in history to have topped the chart in four successive decades.
In 2018, the U2 hit the road with the eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour, an arena production which saw the band continue to push the creative boundaries of technology and engineering. And following 2017’s acclaimed stadium run with The Joshua Tree Tour - the record-breaking smash hit tour celebrating the band’s seminal 1987 album The Joshua Tree – The Joshua Tree Tour took U2 to New Zealand, Australia, and Japan, as well as bring “the biggest band in the world” (The Guardian) to Singapore, Seoul, Manila and Mumbai for the very first time.
In November, 2019, the band released a track in collaboration with A.R. Rahman titled ‘Ahimsa’, which was performed live at Mumbai’s, D.Y. Patil Stadium.
In 2020, SiriusXM and U2 announced the launch of U2 X-Radio, a complete immersion into the work and influences of the band from the Northside of Dublin, all curated by U2.
And in May 2021, Bono and The Edge collaborated with Dutch DJ Martin Garrix to create the track ‘We Are The People’ the official anthem for the UEFA 2020 European Football Tournament. 2021 also saw the release of a new U2 song ‘Your Song Saved My Life’, which featured on the original motion picture soundtrack for the animated feature film ‘Sing 2’.
Songs Of Surrender – a collection of 40 seminal U2 songs from across the band’s catalogue, re-recorded and reimagined for 2023 in sessions spanning the last two years - will be released in full on Friday 17th March.
With approximately 17,500 seats and a scalable capacity up to 20,000 guests, MSG Sphere at The Venetian will become the venue of choice for a wide variety of content, including Sphere experiences, concert residencies, product launches, and marquee events. In addition to the world’s highest resolution LED screen, MSG Entertainment has developed a multi-layered audio system – Sphere Immersive Sound – equipped with thousands of speakers that utilize beamforming technology to deliver targeted, crystal-clear and consistent audio to every seat in the house.
The venue will also feature 4D multi-sensory technologies such as immersive seating, evocative scents and changing temperatures, to take experiential storytelling to an entirely new level. The impactful exosphere, exterior screen features a fully programmable display, the largest LED screen on Earth. MSG Sphere at the Venetian is scheduled to open Fall 2023.
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