SPOILERS: Set List Update and Video Content

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2023-09-27)

Things have been quiet on the rehearsal front haven’t they. The band have been rehearsing most evenings since starting just after Labour Day in Las Vegas. Prior to that rehearsals were taking place in Europe, both in Monaco and Dublin. We are told the band are well rehearsed, and ready to start these shows. Today is likely the final rehearsal before the show kicks off on Friday.

Although spoilers have been few and far between, we are not entirely without information. At this point, if you are trying to maintain a spoiler free show, you should look away from this article. This will feature spoilers for the screen presentations as well as the songs themselves.

Spoiler Content Below

We’ve been told that the band has worked out a number of alternate set lists at this point. Each night has the same basics, but three to four songs are switched out for others in each of these set lists. These rotational songs are not all in one segment, and are at different points in the show. Video has been developed to allow the band to do this as well. The Edge had previously shared with Rolling Stone, “Unfortunately, because of the amount of time and expense in creating some of these set pieces visually, it’s quite hard to be as quick on our feet and spontaneous as we might have been on other tours. But we still are determined that there will be sections of the show that will be open to spontaneity, and it will change from night to night.”

The band have been rehearsing all of the songs from Achtung Baby but these are not being rehearsed in order, nor are they expected to be played all in one set during the show. They will be mixed throughout the set list. And we won’t be waiting to hear them either, but the band intends on opening the main show each night with “Zoo Station”. Expect to hear that kick off the show on Friday.

“Atomic City” is the new song out this Friday, and the band intends to play it live, likely as part of the encore each show.

Last night in “GF:UV” on U2 X-Radio, Gavin Friday, Adam Clayton and Bram van der Berg had a conversation about the show. During that conversation they revealed that “Beautiful Day” will be played and performed each night on the tour. Adam said 27 shows, and Bram corrected him to say 25 shows in total. They also confirmed that “Pride (In the Name of Love)” is not being played at these shows, although Bram calls it a favour because of Larry Mullen’s drumming. Adam joked that maybe they could add it in later in the show, but it was clear, at this point it’s not planned according to Adam and Bram’s conversation.

There’s been a few other things that we have had shared from other reliable sources. “Vertigo”, “Beautiful Day” were both included on the list of songs that the band have been working on in Las Vegas. At least early on in the rehearsals the band were also working on “Where the Streets Have No Name” and “With or Without You” in Las Vegas but had not been performing “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. Perhaps this is why it sounded pretty rough at last week’s video shoot. Most of the songs beyond Achtung Baby could be considered bigger hits, but we are told they’ve worked on a handful of songs from Zooropa which are less played, including “The Wanderer”. Lets hope a few of them make it into the final setlists this week. (The Edge did mention that the band were looking at the Zooropa album as well, and we’re told that they’ve played around with five songs from the album over the last few weeks.)

We are also told that not a lot of material has been rehearsed acoustically, but there will be some slower moments in the show, but it will not be the focus. We are told that the show will be a fairly high energy one, but that there are some moments to allow people to catch their breath. Gavin Friday on Friday night’s discussion from Las Vegas shared a similar thought, “It’s quite overwhelming. We’ve paced the set musically and visually so you actually need your fucking breather because its so overwhelming in parts.”

On the visual side of things expect some incredible images, and some special effects that are really likely to mess with your brain a bit. The band have been working on images to go with this show for almost two years. One company, StormStock, recently published they’ve contributed 25 shots from their archives which will be used in the video presentation including images of tornadoes, lightning and hurricanes. One of the segments is expected to put a focus on Earth, and the climate crisis as well.

Gavin Friday has revealed a bit more about the upcoming video pieces, talking about Es Devlin who has put together a video on species expected to go extinct with the current climate change issues facing the world. Irish digital artist John Gerrard is also putting together digital content for the show including a piece focused on flags. Gavin also confirms the stage itself is based on Brian Eno’s turntable art piece from a few years ago, and shares that it will indeed change colours throughout the performance.

As well report in The Art Newspaper shares that Marco Barmbilla has created a piece called King Size focused on the history of Elvis Presley that will be part of these Sphere visuals. A clip can be seen below. The film was commissioned by Willie Williams. The Elvis piece will play during “Even Better Than the Real Thing”.

MBS_KING_SIZE_EXCERPT from Marco Brambilla Studio on Vimeo.

Spoilers have been kept closely under wraps for these shows. Sphere is a pretty sound proof venue and little music has escaped. Employees are being asked to pouch their phones and have signed non-disclosure agreements. (We have been told that fans will not be required to pouch their phones at the actual concerts, however.) At this point we’re just a couple of days away from the first show. All will be revealed over the next few days.

All of our Sphere updates can be found in our Show Archive as they are made.

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