After years of waiting, the highly-anticipated Las Vegas Sphere finally opened this week with U2 kicking off the venue’s inaugural weekend. And what a weekend it was. The $2.3 billion dollar project was met with amazing reviews with critics complimenting the visuals, sounds, and overall ambience of what some dubbed “the concert of the future.”
The concert’s opening night, which was attended by celebrities such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Josh Duhamel, Metallica’s Lars Ulrich, Katy Perry, Jeff Bezos, Jon Hamm, Paul McCartney, Flavor Flav, and more, was preceded by a DJ that drove around in a neon car playing classic pop hits before U2 took the stage (a half hour late, reportedly due to technical issues).
U2 performed two hours of their classic hits (and some new ones) on a rotating stage while the sphere’s domed ceilings and walls changed from digital collages of Las Vegas nostalgia to colorful kaleidoscope imagery to falling night stars to a desert scene that was so hyperrealistic that it almost seemed like concertgoers were outside during the day time.
The Sphere’s architects have noted that until now, no major indoor venues were build specifically for music with many concerts taking place at football or basketball stadiums, meaning that the acoustics and viewing were not always ideal for concerts.
Since July, Las Vegas residents and visitors have already seen the Sphere’s 580,000 square foot fully-programmable LED exterior (the Exosphere) become an eyeball, planet earth, a basketball, an emoji, and much more. This weekend,
The Exosphere consists of approximately 1.2 million LED pucks, spaced eight inches apart. Each puck contains 48 individual LED diodes, with each diode capable of displaying 256 million different colors. The Sphere is 366 feet tall and 516 feet wide. For reference- the venue could fit the entire Statue of Liberty (including the base and torch) inside The interior’s bowl-shaped seating area holds 18,600 and boasts 160,000 speakers with over 260 million video pixels, immersing the audience in the experience while still keeping the performers as the central focus.
For now, U2 has scheduled their two month residency, “U2: UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere,” at the venue although many other artists are reportedly in talks for 2024 performances.
While tickets for the U2 show are pretty costly (starting at about $500), the Sphere also offers “the first Sphere Experience,” Postcard from Earth directed by Darren Aronofsky, with tickets starting at about $49. More info on all the venue’s upcoming events can be found here.