Sphere on U2 X-Radio

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2024-03-17)

The interview with Pauli the PSM and Gavin Friday started at 7pm Eastern. It featured Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Bram van den Berg speaking about the shows for an hour program. Mixed in with the interview recording is some album versions of the songs. “Zoo Station”, “Even Better than the Real Thing”, “Night and Day” (Twilight Remix) and “Dancing in the Moonlight” by Thin Lizzy all are featured in the broadcast. (The clip of U2 singing “Dancing in the Moonlight” used in promotion for the interview today does not appear in the aired interview.)

The interview covered a range of topics. A lot of discussion about the tech of Sphere, and how grand the whole thing is. They spoke about the challenges of getting things right up to the opening night of the show. In one interesting segment Bono talked about how he had encouraged fans to only attend one show due to the costs. The interview segment ran for longer than an hour, bumping back the broadcast of the live performance, with the live show starting at 8:06pm after a brief introduction by Rocky O’Riordan.

However, the live stream and the interview also went live on demand ahead of 7pm Eastern, popping up about an hour early. Both could be streamed ahead of the initial broadcast.

The live show is the full concert, played fully through, without commercials or other breaks. Ahead of the show, U2 X-Radio was playing “Beautiful Day” on the station from this show, to promote the broadcast. That clip had retained the “Gloria” and “Miserere” snippets (both written by Bono) but had removed the snippet of “Blackbird” by the Beatles. That caused some concern that all of the snippets would be edited out, but most have remained. Snippets of “Drive My Car” (The Beatles), “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Paint it Black” (Rolling Stones) and “Love Me Tender” (Elvis Presley) and others are all present in the broadcast. Indeed the only snippet missing appears to have been “Blackbird”.

The broadcast itself starts with the new remix of “Lemon” which features new vocals by Gavin Friday and Bono. This is played into the start of the concert, which opens with “Zoo Station”. The show is pretty complete but there are some noticeable edits. The band introductions at the start of “Desire” are cut short, with Bram’s intro being cut down to little more than his name. The intros for the rest of the band are more complete, but have been edited. Likewise, Bono’s discussion with the audience ahead of “Don’t Dream it’s Over” has been heavily edited, removing things like Bono’s instruction to the crowd on what he wants them to sing. The performance itself sounds tighter than the version released a couple of weeks ago on social media. Other things one might expect to have been cut are in the broadcast including the intermission with Elvis Presley singing “Viva Las Vegas” and the “Elevation” remix.

The sound itself is nice and clear. When the Apollo performance in 2018 had aired, I personally found it murky to listen to, but the audio on tonight’s broadcast is quite clear. SiriusXM broadcasts in a compressed format, slightly better over a browser than their satellite stream. The web stream comes in at approximately 256kbps, similar to the quality that iTunes provides. The full show runs about 2 hours and 14 minutes in length.

The show will be featured throughout the week on replays on the channel. It is also available on demand for those who may want to listen on their own schedule. (The interview is available on demand as well.) Unfortunately SiriusXM is only available to subscribers in the US and Canada. U2 have teased that the performance will be coming to other platforms, but details have not yet been provided. For those without access to SiriusXm we’ll have to stay tuned.

More information about this show, and the other 39 performances at Sphere, you can find our show archive here.

The Interview will air again today (March 18) at 9:00am Eastern, with the live show airing at 10:00am Eastern.

Many thanks to Josh Fuller for his assistance this evening.

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