U2 utilized a Super Bowl commercial tonight (Feb. 12) to confirm a long-rumored series of concerts to launch Vegas’ new MSG Sphere entertainment venue this fall. “U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at the Sphere” will take place over multiple nights at the new, state-of-the-art MSG Sphere at the Venetian. It will mark the band’s first live shows in four years and, as the name indicates, will focus on material from U2’s beloved 1991 album.
In a major additional piece of news, Dutch musician Bram van den Berg will fill in for drummer Larry Mullen Jr. for the Sphere shows, while the latter recovers from unspecified surgery. “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 band shared.
Details about Sphere show dates and tickets will be announced at the verified Live Nation web site in the coming weeks. Fans can also register to get updates.
SPIN reported last summer that U2 would be part of the grand opening of the $1.8 billion MSG Sphere, which is being built by Madison Square Garden Entertainment chairman James Dolan at the Venetian Resort off the Las Vegas Strip. Its high-tech features are being hailed as the next generation of live entertainment.
The Sphere will reportedly offer 160,000 square feet of immersive video displays that “wrap up, around, and behind the audience,” coupled with Sphere Immersive Sound and 4D technologies for a multi-sensory experience. The venue can reportedly host 20,000 standing fans or 17,500 seated guests and will have 23 VIP suites.
“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,” U2 said in a statement. “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 groundbreaking Zoo TV Tour was staged in stadiums worldwide in 1992-93 to promote Achtung Baby).
On March 17, U2 will release Songs of Surrender, a retrospective album offering “re-imagined and re-recorded” versions of 40 of the band’s classic songs. The band was also recently honored at the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony, while frontman Bono will play more dates at the Beacon Theatre in New York this spring to promote his memoir, Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story.
“U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At The Sphere” comes after the huge success of the band’s 2017 and 2019 stadium tour celebrating the 30th anniversary of Joshua Tree, which welcomed 3.2 million fans globally, as well as its 2018 eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE tour, which drew another million in attendance.
See the Super Bowl commercial for “U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At The Sphere” below and check out the extended, full-length trailer at U2xSphere.com.