"What a fancy pad!"
After shaking their booties for the better part of an hour to new wave tracks spun by opener Pauli The PSM from the back of a dayglo-painted Trabant, the capacity crowd exploded when Edge, Adam, Bono, and drummer Bram Van den Berg (sitting in for Larry) took to the Brian Eno inspired illuminated turntable stage.
It was more than a sort of homecoming for the band and their fans, many of whom hadn't seen each other in four years. Beginning with 'Zoo Station' and rounding out the two-hour-plus show with a spirit-raising 'Beautiful Day', with the entirety of Achtung Baby (including live rarity 'So Cruel') performed throughout alongside tracks from Rattle and Hum, new single 'Atomic City', fan favourites.. as well as a bit of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and an impromptu romp through Thin Lizzy's 'Dancing in the Moonlight' added for extra zest.
Songs were reimagined in arrangement and sometimes lyrically, making an album from more than 30 years ago feel both immediate and prescient. It was an aperture expanding, consciousness-elevating, musical and emotional feast for the senses from start to finish, making lavish use of Sphere's unprecedented multimedia technology. They promised 'a big one tonight' and they delivered in ways no one in the audience of us here could have imagined.
In The Press
"The band's "U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere" performance is a marvel…. It's fair to wonder if such a gargantuan production eclipses a band. Not this one. Especially since some of the most moving moments were in the small details and the inherent earnestness of U2's music." — USA Today
"Sphere magnifies U2, pairing a band that has attempted to innovate with each new tour over their 40-plus-year career with a venue that seemingly has no limits of innovation." — Billboard
"An utterly astonishing, admirably raw Vegas extravaganza…This cocktail of eye-popping visuals and slightly unruly performances absolutely works." — The Guardian
"Are you ready to have your mind blown? On Friday night in Las Vegas, U2 inaugurated the new state-of-the-art Sphere venue with a concert that sets a new bar for live entertainment." — Neil McCormick in The Telegraph
"[U2's] most ambitious and transportive live show ever: An electrifying live performance and visual odyssey" — The Hollywood Reporter
On The Socials
"People are going to talk about this show — forever." — @SamOnTV
"This is just all so heartwarming. They sound amazing, the crowd just sounds so full of joy, everyone is losing their shit on here from home IM SO HAPPY!!!" — @ScoobyGangKid
"Happier than I've felt in a long, long time. Thanks Lads. You lift my spirit & connect me with My Tribe. You've elevated your art to new heights with the #U2UVSphere shows. My heart is so full
"This is literally the best 'show' I've ever seen." — @chris_mabee
What did Bono Say
"Where are we? Who are we?" [He introduces Adam and Edge and gets to Bram on drums]: "Who the hell are you? I think I know you... let's go!"
"What a fancy pad!"
"I've never told anyone this before, but this is an attempt to write a wedding song from a woman's point of view," while introducing 'All I Want Is You', which he later says, "I sang that song for Larry Mullen Jr.," He added that it was the first time since October 1978 the band have performed without Larry.
"That is a very cool Dutch gentleman." After he mentions that it's Bram Van den Berg's birthday, he hands the mic to the drummer and asks whether he'd like to say something, to which Bram stands up, gestures pointedly with his hand and says: "Make no mistake: There is only ONE Larry Mullen Jr.!" (That went down well…)
"It's so hard to say goodbye." In an emotional tribute to the late Jimmy Buffet, who died on September 1, and whose family and doctors were in the house.
Shout outs to: Sir Paul McCartney, Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, former managers Paul McGuinness and Guy Oseary, present manager Irving Azoff, Willie Williams, Gavin Friday, Joe O'Herlihy, Live Nation chief Arthur Fogel and Sphere owner James Dolan.
"I never dreamed we would ever hear Bono singing like this again... mind blown!" — Canadanne
"I would like to report a murder. Edge has just killed me with AIWIY." — stateless
"Not Love Me Tender after One the tears have not stopped