On the eve of the launch of its U2:UV residency at Las Vegas’ extravagant new venue the Sphere at the Venetian, U2 has released the new song “Atomic City.” An accompanying video, filmed on the Vegas Strip last week, is also out now.
The title nods to Las Vegas in the 1950s, when its proximity to the atomic bomb test city in the Nevada desert seemed exotic. The song itself is a straight-ahead rocker that would fit in on any of U2’s post-2000s albums, and its the band’s first new tune since “Your Song Saved My Life,” which appeared on the Sing 2 soundtrack in 2021. U2’s most recent album was 2017’s Songs of Experience.
“It’s a love song to our audience …’where you are is where I’ll be’,” Bono says of the song, which was produced by longtime collaborators Steve Lillywhite and Jacknife Lee.
Directed by Ben Kutchins, the “Atomic City” video was shot in the same area where U2 filmed its clip for “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” more than three decades ago. The video features drummer Larry Mullen Jr., who will not perform with the band during the residency as he recovers from a medical procedure. These are the band’s first-ever shows without the drummer, who will be replaced by Bram van den Berg.
U2 will play 20-plus shows at the Sphere through Dec. 16, and will heavily feature material from the 1991 album Achtung Baby. A related interactive fan experience, Zoo Station, is open now at the Venetian and will offer a retrospective of Anton Corbijn’s band photography and videos, a pop-up shop with exclusive merchandise, and intimate theater screenings of rare U2 footage curated by the Edge.
It’s been a busy 2023 for the long-running band. In March, Bono and the Edge starred with David Letterman in the documentary A Sort of Homecoming. Streamed on Disney+, it saw the duo perform new versions of some of its classic songs. It also traced Bono and the Edge’s journey as songwriters and as friends, while hopping around Dublin with Letterman. That same week, U2 also released Songs of Surrender, comprised of 40 new versions of tracks from its catalog.