Crystal Ball: Filming Sphere, New Single and More

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2024-02-02)

NOTE: This article contains information about upcoming projects that have not been officially announced. Although we do our best to present accurate information by confirming information with multiple sources, until such time that projects are officially announced they should be considered rumour.

U2’s time at Sphere in Las Vegas is quickly wrapping up. 28 shows down and 12 to go. After U2 vacate the Sphere, Phish is up next to perform in the venue, and it looks like they will be followed by Dead and Company (members of the Grateful Dead with John Mayer). While Phish are only doing 4 shows, Dead and Company are scheduled to do 18 to start, and look to be taking over the venue for May and June. Like U2, Phish, have sold out the shows that they have booked at Sphere. Tickets for the Dead and Company shows go on sale on Monday.

For those interested in pricing of these new acts? For GA, U2 had a base price of $268, Dead and Company are charging $395, and Phish charged $196. For the best seats in the house, U2 had a base price of $501, Dead and Company are charging $395, and Phish charged $196.

But is U2’s time in the Sphere done? As far as concerts go, we think so. The shows in late February and March were announced to be the “final four shows”, so if they did come back later on it’s likely that the U2:UV show ends here.

But we’re told that U2’s ties to Sphere may continue in another form.

The final two shows in February are being filmed using special camera equipment. This will be the full show being filmed. These are the same cameras developed by Sphere to capture footage used in not only the film Postcards from Earth but also in U2’s own show. It looks like U2 are filming the concert for a later release as a film at Sphere itself.

We are still being told there there are no plans currently for a home video release for these shows in Las Vegas. It sounds like it is likely this will remain an exclusive film at Sphere for some time.

This Sunday you will be able to watch U2 performing at Sphere at home, one song anyway. The band filmed “Atomic City” at the first two shows in 2024. We’re betting the audio will be from the second night filmed, as a few lyrics got missed on the first night, and overall it was a tighter performance. Look for U2 to present an award that night as well.

This year the ceremony starts at 8pm Eastern and will be broadcast live on CBS in North America. It will also stream live, and on demand on Paramount Plus.

“Atomic City” was not released early enough to make the cut off for the Grammy Awards this year. The cut off was September 15, 2023, and the song was released on Septmber 29. So U2 won’t be up for any awards themselves this year.

Last year Kiss the Future debuted at Film Festivals. The film, produced by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, takes a look at how U2 inspired Sarajevo and the music scene during the war there. It had been limited in release until now. Starting on February 23, the film starts its theatrical run in the USA, exclusively at AMC theatres in the US. It has been announced it will also be available to stream later in the year on Paramount Plus.

AMC will be holding early screenings on February 21 which includes additional content, including an introduction by Damon and Affleck, and a conversation between Bill Carter and The Edge and Adam Clayton. Global distribution of the film has not yet been announced.

We are also told that U2 will release “Glorify” as a single sometime in the near future.

Yes, that’s the song which has been ending each show at Sphere was recorded with vocals by Brittany Howard. Bono has been singing along with it as it plays over the PA at the end of the night. When’s the last time U2 let someone else take on a lead vocal on one of their songs? “The Troubles” with Lykke Li and “The Wanderer” with Johnny Cash both jump to mind.

Like “Atomic City”, the song will be released as a stand alone single, and it is not known if U2 will use it on an upcoming record. Brittany Howard who is heard on vocals, has her own album coming out next week called What Now on Island Records. (“Glorify” is not part of that album.)

Crossing our fingers that this might be U2’s contribution to Record Store Day, which is due to be announced soon. If it’s not “Glorify” there are plenty of anniversaries this year with The Unforgettable Fire hitting 40 years, How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb hits 20 years, and No Line on the Horizon is hitting 15 years. Even Songs of Innocence is hitting 10 years. (Record Store Day will take place on April 20, 2024, the announcement of items to be released should be available soon.)

Short term plans call for the band to get into studio to finish off recording the next album. We’re told the songs they want to use are chosen. Similar to what U2 did with Songs of Experience they want to re-record it fresh at one time. A source has told us that Universal Records are hopeful that they will have a U2 album on the schedule for this Fall, but no dates have been set at this time. U2 would likely have to finish up the new album by July to make a Fall release work.

As the shows at Sphere started in September, Edge told Apple Music, “There’s a lot that we have ready, some that need a bit of dusting off, but will be ready soon.” He told CBS at the time, “Nothing has been recorded other than ‘Atomic City’ but we’ve got some great tunes.” In December, Adam Clayton shared, “we want to put another record together, and then we would tour again. I think if we go out again, it won’t be next year (2024), but probably the year after (2025). It’ll probably be a worldwide tour and we’ll go everywhere that we can.”

The schedule is dependent on Larry Mullen’s health and his ability to perform, first in studio to finish recording, and then readiness for the road. If an album is ready for Fall it will be seven full years since the release of the last album of new songs.

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