'This is 40'

5 Mar 2024

'This is 40'

One for the ages on Saturday night, never to be forgotten by those of us lucky to be there, with some big surprises and big emotions. Onstage surprises included longtime collaborator and friend Daniel Lanois to play on 'One' and, via remote recording, Neil Finn for a duet of his 'Don't Dream It's Over'. And a surprising and moving closing for the 18,000-strong congregation in the 'Elvis cathedral'. 

'There might be an actual encore after this', Bono mused as the band began 'Beautiful Day', the last song of U2:UV set. After a snippet of 'Gloria' and The Beatles' 'Blackbird', Edge and Adam switched sides, and a roar went up as fans recognized what that stagecraft signalled… the final song of the 40th and final night of U2:UV would be '40'.

'It's been 40 days and 40 nights in the desert — what's a fella with a messianic complex gonna do?'  asked Bono. 'This is a song we wrote in 40 minutes. We had 40 minutes on the 'War' album left to record, opened up the sacred text to the Psalm of David, and just kinda read it out— that was the lyric. This is “40”.'

As the band left the stage one by one — Bono first, then Adam, Bram, and finally the Edge, waiving one last time as he carried his guitar offstage — there were more than a few tear-streaked faces, singing the familiar litany:  How long to sing this song? How long to see this song?

Until we meet again….safe home.

If you were at the show in Vegas, add your own review and upload your photos here.

What Bono Said

Before 'Desire': 'You, sir, have run away with the circus…On the drums, this is Bram van den Berg — an extraordinary man. Take the microphone, if you would, sir', he said, as Bram stood to speak.

Bram:  'Where to start? Thank you, I guess. I mean, thank you guys, and Larry, for trusting me with this legacy. I [could have] been a total weirdo. You didn't do a background check, did you? Oh, I am a weirdo? It was a freakshow, right?'

Bono: 'If you had a job in the circus, what would you choose, what sort of a circus performer would you be? Let's say a musical contortionist? Tightrope walker, somethinlikethat?'

Bram: 'Safety net'. 

'Before 'Don't Dream It's Over': 'The U2UV experience is kind of a tightly constructed show, but as it's our last night we wondered if it might be alright to experiment on ya a little bit'. Bono explained they had  something special in store tonight for their cover of Crowded House's 'Don't Dream It's Over', which they've been dedicating to Alexei Navalny since his death on February 16.

'The idea is to record something special to honor Alexei Navalny's widow, Yulia [Navalnaya], who's continuing a fight against Vladimir Putin for a free, free Russia, which is what we want for the rest of the people….We got a beautiful email from Neil Finn, who wrote this bewilderingly beautiful song and he attached to the email a version of the song that he said we could play — it's a new version that he did and we thought if we're gonna record, maybe if you'd be on that recording and we could make the session the last night kind-of recording session and dedicate it to Yulia. It goes, 'Hey now, hey now, don't dream it's over…' and it's a song about freedom'. 

'Comin' in from Auckland, New Zealand, this is Neil Finn', he said, as a recorded track of Finn singing the first lines  began to play.

Before Acrobat: 'Shall we wake the baby up? Fuckin' right we'll wake the baby up!' 

After Acrobat:  'Was that intense enough for ya?'

Shout Outs

To Coldplay front man Chris Martin, after singing a snippet of 'Yellow' during 'All I Want Is You': 'Happy Birthday, Chris Martin!'

To 'Mrs. The Edge', after 'Trying To Throw Your Arms Around The World': 'Morleigh Steinberg — love you!'

To Dr. Jill Biden, while introducing 'All I Want Is You', dedicated to all the great women in their lives : 'And one woman in particular who's with us tonight — she's a teacher, she's your First Lady. This is for Jill Biden!'  

To Yulia Navalnaya, at the end of 'Don't Dream It's Over', in a chant joined by the audience: 'Yulia! Yulia! Yulia! Beautiful'.

To Willie Williams during 'Love Is Blindness': 'Thank you, Willie Williams, for this blue sky'.

To  Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl, during 'Beautiful Day': 'We believe in you…David Grohl…yes we do'.

To former Rolling Stone Magazine chief Jann Simon Wenner, during 'Atomic City': 'For everyone…for Jann SimON…SiMON!'  

On The Socials

'After all these years (and 40 shows at the Sphere) #U2 still know how to light our fires #U2UVSPHERE' —@u2tour.de on Instagram

'Tired beyond words. Physically exhausted, emotionally spent. The desert Cathedral was rocking, jumping, praising & praying. The singing was deafening. From Elvis to Alexei Navalny to Neil Finn to King David — what a thrilling night. To @U2& #U2UVSphere, much love & thanks! is archetypal in the Jungian sense, a resonance w the collective unconscious. This is NOT just music.' —@timneufeld on X

'Dave Grohl @foofighters in complete rock fan boy mode supporting @U2's final night is a total mood @SphereVegas #U2UVSphere #U2 #FooFighters Video: Chris Carey / U2 at the Sphere' —@elliehoulie on X

'Tearjerker- what a 'residency' - EPIC to say the least. These dudes man - #BRAM, I will miss him, I cannot wait to see what he gets into with his band, he is a beast on the drums - and we all cannot wait to see Larry back in his seat...see you guys next year #U2UVSphere' —@RebelNapoli on X

'How Long To Sing This Song? #U2 closes their amazing @SphereVegas residency with the most transcendent moment #U2UVSphere' —@KevinS2U @ X

Zootopia/U2 Faniverse

'What an incredible night.  A great end to the whole run, I'm still awestruck by it all.' —trilo

'I can't thank you all enough for your excellent company over the past few months. It's been a wonderful experience - I will miss it enormously and treasure the memories forever. I hope you've all enjoyed it as much as I have. Think of these nights whenever you hear "blah blah blah"!' —Canadanne

'Just wanted to thank you all for welcoming me here last night - first time I did a live chat for a show in Zootopia! I literally crashed out right 40 and my cat stomped on me at 4:30 (2 hours later - SO NOT COOL) - What a gorgeous night...been watching the 40 video over and over and all my videos from the shows I attended...was a special run, wasn't it. Much love to you all. Cannot wait for the next one. I'm gonna miss our Bram - cannot wait to see his long journey and cannot wait to see our Larry back and well.' —sarahnapoli

'Sleep well, Zootopians (I know I'll do)... Sleep well and dream it all up again... see you soon... #U2UVSphere' —MaxTsukino


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