U2:UV Announced: Vegas Residency

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2023-02-13)

With a short 15 second ad at the end of the Super Bowl, U2 announced their residency at the new MSG Sphere in Las Vegas. Or rather Bono, The Edge and Adam Clayton did. A longer video, posted to YouTube was also available.

Drummer Larry Mullen will be sitting out these shows. In his place will be Bram van den Berg. Bono, Edge and Adam shared, “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.”

It’s a sudden change from what sources had been sharing with us. We’d been told the tour would be called SOS Baby by multiple sources, and that considerations were in place to make things work for Larry Mullen right up until the announcement today. In the end, the name changed, and Larry will not be taking part in these shows. We believed Larry would be there, and took comfort in Adam Clayton’s recent words in December when asked if they would have to perform without Larry, “It’s very hard to face, if it were something we had to face, I imagine you would do what needs to be done, but it wouldn’t be a decision we would take easily or comfortably. But I don’t think that’s the decision we are facing at the moment.” Adam also shared, “I think Larry has some significant injuries from a repetitive motion – something that drummers are susceptible to, and sportspeople – so I think he wants to mind himself and take some advice and find out what’s the best thing to do.” Footage filmed to promote these shows included a Larry Mullen look-a-like, as well as look-a-likes for the other members of the band.

Personally, I wish to express my apologies for passing along information that Larry was expected to play, I did believe it would be the case based on the information shared with us. Like others, I am having difficulties coming to terms with this residency being billed as U2, and personally would have been more comfortable had they found another name to bill themselves for these shows, but that’s not my call. I am sending my thoughts to Larry Mullen, and hope that he takes the time that he needs to get healthy and repair the injuries he has suffered over the years. And I’m sure that the others will put on an entertaining show with these songs many of us have wished to hear together for years.

The announced residency will focus on the Achtung Baby album, and will be called U2:UV (Ultra Violet?), and seems to have done away with a planned emphasis on both that album and the new Songs of Surrender. The tour will used verified fan ticketing, which was a disaster for fans in 2018 when used on the U2 Experience and Innocence tour, resulting in a group of over two dozen U2 fans representing multiple sites to band together to document the issues with the system for the bands manager at that time, Guy Oseary. A pre-sale through U2.Com will happen, which does not require signing up for verified fan which is a step forward. In 2018, you had to sign up for verified fan to take part in the pre-sales as well.

No dates of these shows were announced beyond “Fall 2023”. Ticketing prices and other information was likewise unavailable. We’ll bring you that information when it is announced via our show listings for the Sphere Residency.

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