Night two of U2:UV was giving big second-date vibes. All swagger and romance, origin stories and spirits recognizing spirits.
Any getting-to-know-you-again opening-night nerves had disappeared like vapor through the cyber-oculus at the top of Sphere's Pantheon-esque dome by the time the helicopter appeared and the band took the stage.
The capacity crowd was on its feet from the moment Bono, Edge, Adam, and Bram Van den Berg walked onto the huge turntable stage as the final strains of Brian Eno's bespoke choral introduction heralded their arrival and they stood, danced, and bounced throughout a walloping 22-song show that included all of Achtung Baby as well as tracks from Rattle and Hum, All That You Can't Leave Behind, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, The Joshua Tree, and their brand-new single, 'Atomic City'.
Along the way, Bono threw in a bit of French and German, a touch of Elvis ('Love Me Tender') and Sinatra/Sid Vicious ('My Way'), nods to Donna Summer ('I Feel Love'), Edith Piaf ('Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien'), and Lou Reed ('Walk on the Wild Side), and a heartfelt tribute/lament for the band's longtime friend Sinéad O'Connor, who left us on July 26 ('Nothing Compares 2 U').
The evening closed with a moment of true rock 'n' roll transcendence in 'Beautiful Day', with some new lyrics that reflected the show's artistic and ideological focus on the natural world, including dozens of endangered species native to Nevada.
See the world in green and blue, all these creatures right in front of you … see the peregrine falcon in the sky, there are no monarch butterflies… U2 return to Sphere next Thursday, October 5, for their third date.
What did Bono Say
While it might be a tad premature for a second date, Bono proposed before launching into 'Mysterious Ways', shouting: 'Let's get married later, in the Elvis chapel, cathedral!'
Speaking of Elvis, before making his group proposal, the lead vocalist recalled a theory he'd heard from a punter who claimed that Elvis is alive; it's the rest of us who are dead. 'Tonight's show is an attempt to disprove at least one part of that calculus, is it not, The Edge?' Bono told a roaring crowd. 'Because we're all feeling very much alive this evening! Very much alive. Feeling grateful for it. Indeed, we are in flirting form, are we not?"
(After singing a few lines of Reed's 'Wild Side' — 'Holly came from Miami F-L-A…'): "Everyone is welcome here! All the burlesque artists in this city — welcome to our show. Everyone is welcome in our show. Whatever you do!"
"Let me introduce you to a man who became a fan of U2 with the Pop album in 1998. Not only a fan, a man who became a student of Larry Mullen, Jr., a man we send our love to this evening, an injured man, whom we love, utterly love."
Introducing Bram: "When we were rehearsing in Dublin and I wasn't there for the first few days — it's a singer thing — real musicians like to get on with their real musician stuff. Anyway, I came in on the third day and I was talking to Edge and Adam asking how it was going and in came this big man, this incredible man, Bram. And my first reaction was He's too tall, that will never work; he's too good looking. I looked at him, he looked at me, and the first words out of his Dutch mouth was, he says, 'Oh, there is a fourth member of U2'."
"Is there anything you'd like to say tonight?" Bono asked Bram, who responded by laying down a few measures of the iconic 'Desire' Bo Diddly beat. "That's very Larry Mullen of you," Bono said.
"Did you hear that? All the way up did you hear that? Those whispers were for you," Bono asked fans in seats high up in the nearly 400-foot tall indoor amphitheater with state-of-the-acoustics, who cheered in response. "It cost about $2.3 billion to hear those whispers."
In The Press
"If there was a perfect choice to open the Sphere, it was U2. Plenty of pop culture X (formerly Twitter) accounts are reposting video footage from the first concert — the band's first time in pop culture since the iTunes debacle — and I've seen many ponder: Why U2? Achtung, y'all, it's because they're still the best live band on earth." — Clutch Points
"Despite fancy Las Vegas Sphere, U2 reaffirms its strengths lie in connection" — Riff Magazine
On The Socials
'Videos, photos, and words can never describe seeing #U2 at the @SphereVegas. An incredible experience, and thanks to the @VenetianVegas for above and beyond hospitality'. — Danny Kushmer on X
'Live Music has just had it's equivalent of someone turning on the Internet for the first time :astonished::astonished::astonished: That U2 show is beyond description and off the walls ...The Fly is back' — John Harpur on X
'Breathtaking. I'm in love all over again. Thank you @U2' — rebecca on X
'When I heard these songs live last night it reminded me so much of when I originally saw ZOO TV tour (and happened to be here in Vegas, Nov 1992). They definitely trigger that memory, particularly "Until The End of the World"'. — lukyls