Rumours: U2 at the Sphere

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2023-04-22)

Please note: This article is about a series of live shows which have not been fully announced. All information should be considered a rumour and subject to changes up until official announcements are made.

Tickets for the U2:UV shows at the Sphere in Las Vegas are expected to be announced on Monday, with presales starting mid-week, and general sales on Friday. Before all that happens, just wanted to have one last look at the rumours and share what to expect over the next few days.

U2 will be performing on Friday and Saturday nights at the venue. There is an option left open that the band could play Wednesday night shows as well, but these will not be announced initially, and only would be announced if ticket sales for the other nights are good and demand is deemed as high.

The shows were announced in February via a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl, but at that time no dates were announced. An extended version of the ad can be seen above.

When does it all start?

IMAGES: Open nights (circled) and nights booked for the film (X-ed out)

The Sphere is also running a film experience on days that U2 are not performing. Tickets for Postcard from Earth, directed by Daron Aronofsky, went on sale on April 12. The calendars show which days the sphere is in use for these shows. Anything marked with an ‘X’ means that there is a film performance on that evening, and U2 will not be playing the sphere. The films start on Friday, October 6, meaning it is not possible for U2 to play that evening. There are no showings for the film prior to that date, meaning that all of the dates leading up to the 6th are available, but as the venue is still under construction these earlier dates may still be unavailable due to the venue not being ready.

When does it end?

There are no open weekends past November 18. There are film showings every Friday and Saturday night from that point onwards. So U2 will be finished at the venue by that time.

There’s a big block of open time from November 15 – November 19, but that is when the F1 race is in Vegas. The track for this new F1 race wraps around the Sphere complex, and the highest concentration of seats for attendees will be outside the Sphere facing the race. Rumours from the earliest days have said that the Sphere will be in use for the F1 race, and if so its likely that the Sphere will be off limits that weekend for general access, meaning if U2 were to perform that weekend, you’d likely need race tickets to get near the venue. We’re guessing the U2 shows will end the previous weekend, November 10 and 11, and that they won’t play F1 weekend.

All along the rumour has been 10 – 12 shows will be announced courtesy of the local media. If this is the case and November 10 and 11 are the final dates, one can easily count back and see that it is likely everything will start the first weekend of October. Although Friday October 6 is booked, the following night, Saturday October 7 and Sunday October 8 are free, and could be used for U2. If the band is not playing every weekend, there could be earlier shows as well.

Will there be General Admission? What are the prices?

We’re told that the tickets will be for seats at the venue. At this point we aren’t expecting a general admission area for the U2 shows, but this has not been confirmed. We’ve been told that ticket prices will not be staggered with expensive and cheap sections. Rather one price will be used throughout most of the venue for all of the seats. The prices seen for the film however do offer expensive and cheap sections ranging from $49 – 199 depending on seat location. We should all know more about ticketing on Monday, and expect by Wednesday many of us will have bought tickets to the event.

Will there be presales?

Yes. U2 will be having presales for these shows in Las Vegas and that has already been confirmed. From “All paid-up subscribers at 8pm GMT on Sunday Feb 12 2023 (12pm PST/3pm EST/8pm GMT), will have the opportunity to be first to access tickets in a special subscriber presale. Those who subscribed after this time, will follow them in the presale window.”

If you’ve been a subscriber since before February 12 at noon, you are eligible for these presales. (If you’ve resubscribed since that time, and have not let your subscription lapse, you’ll be fine.) If you subscribed new after February 12, you will not be in the same presale window as those who were subscribed before that time.

Presales will not be announced before the announcement of dates, which is expected to happen Monday morning (Pacific time)

What about general tickets?

These Sphere shows are using a system called “Verified Fan” through Ticketmaster for ticket sales. To register you will need a Ticketmaster account, and the process to register and more details about the process is available here. Please note, that page also confirms you do not need to be a verified fan to participate in the U2.Com subscriber presale.

Registration has been open since U2’s Super Bowl commercial aired, and some fans who were verified were offered an opportunity to buy Songs of Surrender on limited red vinyl.

Being a verified fan will allow you to take place in the initial sales. If tickets are still available after that time, the verified fan requirement may be dropped, but if you are interested in attending the shows, your best bet is to sign up in advance of the ticket onsale, which is expected to be Friday.

Will Larry be there?

Larry is dealing with health issues and has required surgery for injuries sustained through years of drumming. Although the band hoped he would be able to be part of these shows, in the end it was not possible, and the band have announced a replacement drummer for these shows. Bono, The Edge and Adam said, “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 Edge told Rolling Stone “We’re so disappointed that he won’t be able to be there occupying the drum stool. Everyone has the right to call in sick. Forty years of working together, this is the first time it’s happened. I think it’s kind of amazing that we haven’t ever hit this in the past.” The Edge has also shared that these shows were originally scheduled for 2021. U2 met van den Berg via Dutch DJ Martin Garrix, who recently worked with Bono and the Edge on the EURO 2020 song, “We Are teh People”, and Garrix also assisted with U2’s song “Your Song Saved My Life” for the film Sing 2.

What will the band be playing?

The Edge has confirmed that the plan is to play all of the songs from Achtung Baby during these shows, but that they may not be in order, or even altogether as was done with the recent Joshua Tree tours. The Edge shared with the Los Angeles Times during promotion of the new Songs of Surrender recordings, “It’s going to be a rock n’ roll show, for sure, and we’ll probably dip into these interpretations for part of it.” A full concert is expected, and Adam has suggested Achtung Baby would make up about half of these shows. The band has already been rehearsing with Bram van den Berg, and full rehearsals are expected to start after Bono’s solo shows wrap up mid-May. Willie Williams has been working on video content and show ideas at MSG Sphere Studios, located in Burbank, California. The dome in Burbank is one-quarter the size of the Sphere in Las Vegas, and features the same LED screen technology that wraps around the interior of the Sphere in Las Vegas.

Why Las Vegas?

The Edge has made it clear, they aren’t playing Las Vegas to play Las Vegas, but it is the technology of the new Sphere venue that has drawn their attention. Had the venue been built elsewhere, they would have played wherever it was built. The Edge shared with the Irish Independent, ““I don’t think we would be considering playing in Vegas if it was just any regular residency. This is a state-of-the-art venue that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. This is light-years ahead of any other venue in terms of design and the technology involved.”

Will this show be taken elsewhere?

In recent interviews, The Edge has confirmed there are not plans to take this show to other locations, and that fans will have to come to them this time. The show is being developed specifically for The Sphere, and it is only located in one place right now, Las Vegas. A second Sphere is in the planning stages, but hasn’t even received planning permission at this time, so is unlikely to be built for a few years.

Bono has suggested further plans will wait on Larry Mullen’s recovery, telling the Los Angeles Times about the time line for the new albums, “We didn’t want to put either album out before we could play live, so we were waiting for our drummer to heal.”

What’s this Apple Music thing?

In May when the Songs of Surrender album launched, Bono and the Edge were part of a video with Apple Music DJ Zane Lowe. He traveled with Bono and The Edge through the desert, interviewing them about the new album.

There is a second part of that interview which airs on Monday at 10am PT. The second part of the interview sees Lowe, Bono and The Edge arriving at the Sphere, and will give us our first interior look at the venue. The interview will be available via Apple Music. It is expected that the video will be part of the ticketing announcement on Monday.

Where should I watch for updates?

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