Bono Talks about 2023 Las Vegas Plans

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2022-11-05)

This morning on RTE’s Radio One, Bono was on the Brendan O’Connor show promoting Surrender. The full interview can be heard here. During the course of the interview, O’Connor asked Bono about the new music and the plans to appear in Vegas which have previously leaked. The interview with Bono starts around five minutes in on the broadcast and focuses on the book.

O’Connor asks during the interview “Are you making music at the moment?” Bono replies, “Yes. Unreasonable guitar music. That’s where we are at. We have lots of songs put aside, some of which will emerge at the right time. But the only thing the Edge wants to talk about right now is unreasonable guitar music. He’s just really fed up with the pop charts. So that’s U2s…”

Bono is cut off and quickly asked “So when might we see new music?” and Bono blames the delays on The Edge, “You have to hurry up The Edge. He’s still mixing our first album.” Asked if the material is finished Bono offers up, “We’re writing these songs. We’re demoing them. But we’ve different albums, we have this very reflective album called Songs of Ascent. It’s nearly finished. But it’s just not … to put it out…It’s about 70% there. It’s just not right for us. We only want to put out music when we’re ready to take the music to our audience. Live.”

At this point O’Connor asks Bono, “Would that be Vegas next year?” and Bono answers, “I hope it would be ready. I can’t announce Vegas, you’d have to shoot me. But if it happens, I can promise you it won’t be like anything you’ve ever seen in Las Vegas or anywhere ever. It is the most extraordinary…If it comes off, it’s grand madness by 100. It would centre around Achtung Baby, which we feel we need to really honor. But it will also, but we have to have the new songs out don’t we?” Asked if there would be a residence, Bono replies, “There’s no place yet, big enough. If we can build one for our audience. But it will be, for us to go, it have to be like no one has ever gone before. That sounds a bit Star Trek. Part Star Trek, part traveling salesman. I’ve got some books….”

From there the interviewer returned to talking about the book.

Back in October we were able to share that we had been told by reliable sources that U2’s next performances together as a band were expected to be at the MSG Sphere starting next fall. We were told it is likely these dates at the MSG Sphere will start in September / October and will run for about three months. The venue is still under construction, so dates may still be impacted by any delays in construction. U2 are expected to be playing multiple shows, but these will not be back-to-back shows on consecutive nights. Early rehearsals for these shows will start in the summer. Bono suggested on today’s interview that the performances at the Sphere would only happen if the new music was ready.

Fans were surprised in July to find a report in Billboard Magazine outlining U2’s plans to headline a residency in Las Vegas. The Billboard article suggests that U2 will be the first band to perform at the new MSG sphere complex in Las Vegas, currently under construction. The article suggests that the band has booked several nights at the venue, stretching over several months, but the shows will not be on consecutive nights during that time. It looks like the band may be planning on doing several shows there, but they also may be leaving the door open to do other performances in North America. They could also be in the early planning stages of the tour and are keeping options open to use the venue at several points, which may be whittled down later. They have planned multiple tour routes in the past before choosing the one that they follow. Billboard was unable to reach MSG or U2 for comment on the rumours.

The opening date of the MSG Sphere has not been revealed, but it is said they are working towards having the venue ready to go by November 2023. The venue which will be connected to The Venetian, can hold 20,000 standing or 17,500 in a seated configuration. The sphere is being built as a state of the art complex, including interior and exterior LED technology which will be fully programmable. It opens the possibility for bands to create an entirely new environment by transforming the walls, floors and roof of the venue. Also said to be included are other new technologies which may generate scent, or even wind in the venue, and there will be advanced speaker technologies delivering individual audio to each guest via 164,000 speakers. Imagine the entire venue transforming into the view from above the earth, and actually seeing the Bedouin fires from space as Bono sings about them in “Beautiful Day”.

The venue is being built by Madison Square Garden Entertainment in conjunction with The Venetian Resort. A second sphere is being constructed in London, with construction expected to start in March.

Thanks to Mark and Valerie for the heads up on the RTE interview.

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