U2 Subverts Expectations at First Sphere Show: Photos, Set List
U2 both fulfilled and defied expectations at the opening performance of their Achtung Baby Live at the Sphere Las Vegas residency, balancing dazzlingly expansive visuals with musical intimacy.
You can see photos, videos and the set list from the show below.
The band wasted no time showing off the stunning capabilities of the groundbreaking new venue, which features a massive immersive video display that wraps up, over and around the audience. A floor to ceiling patchwork of images and videos enveloped the crowd during the opening "Zoo Station," and the rotating visuals displayed during "Even Better Than the Real Thing" made everybody feel like they were on a gigantic Ferris wheel.
Stunning effects like these turned up throughout the night, as we were transported into all-encompassing new environments such as a desert, a coastline dominated by a massive black sphere and a busy Las Vegas street.
Watch U2 Perform 'Zoo Station'
But the band kept their focus squarely on the music as well, performing on a tiny and relatively bare stage shaped like a turntable, surrounded by four lighted cranes. Their spare and organic four-piece sound contrasted with the state of the art visuals, but in a good way. This was particularly evident during a largely acoustic mid-show four-song set dedicated to Rattle and Hum, during which the visual effects were kept to a minimum and the intimate capabilities of the new venue were showcased.
U2's Set List
As promised, much of the set was dedicated to Achtung Baby, with all 12 of the 1991 album's songs being performed, some for the first time in decades. Bono was in a playful mood, working in snippets of several other songs into the show at various points, such as Prince's "Purple Rain," Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic" and Elvis Presley's "Love Me Tender." He also gave a shout-out to Paul McCartney, who was at the show, saying it was "like having Mozart" in attendance.
"What a fancy pad," the singer noted early in the show. "Look at all this stuff. Elvis has definitely not left this building." The Sphere also paid tribute to Presley with King Size, a giant display of visuals depicting the life and career of the King of Rock 'n' Roll.
The U2: UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere residency is currently scheduled to continue through mid-December.
Watch U2 Perform 'Even Better Than the Real Thing'
U2, 9/29/23, The Sphere, Las Vegas
1. "Zoo Station"
2. "The Fly"
3. "Even Better Than the Real Thing"
4. "Mysterious Ways"
6. "Until the End of the World"
7. "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses"
8. "Tryin' to Throw Your Arms Around the World"
9. "All I Want Is You"
11. "Angel of Harlem"
12. "Love Rescue Me"
13. "So Cruel"
15. "Ultraviolet (Light My Way)";
16. "Love is Blindness"
18. "Atomic City"
20. "Where the Streets Have No Name"
21. "With or Without You"
22. "Beautiful Day"
U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at the Sphere Opening Night Photos
Gallery Credit: Matthew Wilkening