After a three-week break, the band returned for their 18th show in the Las Vegas run — a Friday night of surprises and an emotional tribute to Shane MacGowan.
After 'All I Want Is You', the band segued into The Pogues's 'A Rainy Night in Soho'.
'Sing with us for Shane MacGowan,' Bono said, before updating a line or two for the moment.
'MacGowan's song is never over Tho we may never found out what it means There's a light I hold before me You're the measure of my dreams, The measure of my dreams'.
After his passing on Thursday, the band had posted a portrait of MacGowan drawn by Bono with the message: 'Shane MacGowan's songs were perfect so he or we his fans didn't have to be'.
Friday's 22-song set saw the return of 'Two Hearts Beat As One' and 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' between sides A and B of 'Achtung Baby', and song snippets including 'My Sweet Lord' by George Harrison, 'Young Americans' by David Bowie, 'Purple Rain' by Prince, 'Paint It Black' by the Rolling Stones and 'Rescue' by Echo and the Bunnymen.. with lead guitarist, Will Sergeant in the house.
The evening closed with a dive into 'Gloria', and thanks to Van Morrison and Patti Smith for a song of the same name they made famous, speaking 'G-L-O-R-I-A' to end the show.
What Did Bono Say
While introducing 'Sunday Bloody Sunday', Bono recalled the song's genesis with Edge, while Bono and Ali were on their honeymoon in Jamaica. 'It's his idea', Bono began, motioning to Edge. 'It wasn't to be a song about war. It was to be a song about peace…a song about the longing for peace in Ireland at a time when such a thing just felt impossible.'
'It might seem ridiculous to talk about peace in a holy land right now', he continued, 'But on our small island of Ireland, we found people who were ready to be ridiculous to find peace, to put themselves in ridiculous situations to find peace, and we're very grateful to those people who brought peace to the island of Ireland. Some of them were American...
'Here's to the peacemakers. Let's pray there's more of them out there somewhere….If you're not the praying kind, maybe you close your eyes and promise yourself to bring some peace home with you this evening'.
As the band began to play 'Beautiful Day': 'I see some green-white-and-orange in the house…We know many of you've made long trips to get here. Really, we know that. We have drones. We can see everything'.
To 'another great guitarist who's in the house tonight', Will Sergeant of Echo and the Bunnymen. 'It's World AIDS Day!' he reminded people during 'Elevation', acknowledging the day marked on December 1 every year since 1988. Earlier Sphere's exterior was lit up as a red-and-white globe with a message that said in part: 'Over the last 20 World AIDS Days, 25 million lives have been saved around the globe thanks to America…Americans…PEPFAR…you…millions of voices speaking as ONE'.
ONE's partner organization (RED) has raised more than $750 million since 2003, the message read, 'But we can't stop now because where you live shouldn't decide whether you live. #ENDAIDS'
On the Socials
'Flowers, Elvis, and just about everything else under the Las Vegas sun, and in the Sphere, at the amazing U2 concert tonight. Just wow.' — @photosimmons on Instagram
'Everything that you hear is true! U2 at The Sphere in Las Vegas is all that and so much more! What an incredible show and experience!!' — @kellyjoneshospitality on Instagram
'Mind. Blown. I've never seen anything like it #U2UVSphere' — @DaveNorth on X
From Zootopia/U2 Faniverse
'So many snippets, so little time. They're on fire! They seem to be loose tonight.' — lukylysp
'It sounded like Edge put a little funk into the guitar before he took off on The Fly tonight.' —Mahohlive
'Oh, UTEOTW...I've missed your apocalyptic beauty...' —dmway