U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere

Dec 9 2023
Las Vegas, NV, US / Sphere
with Pauli The PSM

U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere #22

Saturday Night in Vegas

'From the sublime to the ridiculous, that is our job this night', Bono announced, declaring the mission of the twenty-second show at the Sphere. 

Mission accomplished.

There was a lotta love in the air tonight  including at least two proposals of marriage — between 'art and science' and between the band and their fans. Familiar cameo's from the rock'n'roll canon including The Beatles ('Drive My Car'), Van Morrison ('Into The Mystic'), The Rolling Stones ('Paint It Black'), Primal Scream ('Movin' On Up'), and Frank Sinatra (or was it Sid Vicious?) - 'My Way'.  

What Bono Said

Introducing 'All I Want Is You': 'In some non-preposterous way, we're getting married, you and us. 'I think we're ready for a committed relationship. What do you think?'

Moving  from 'Angel of Harlem' into 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For': 'It's fun getting lost in America…There's so much here to discover, to uncover, to recover. It's also fun to get lost in American music… America, it's a work in progress. Aren't we all?'

Toward the end of 'With Or Without You': 'Look after each other. We love you! Look what you did to us! Look what you gave us! What a life. Thank you. Thank you. Sing us out! One more time...'


To Primal Scream bassist Gary "Mani" Mounfield after Bono sang a snippet of the band's song 'Movin' On Up'— 'That was for Mani'

On the Socials

'We did it! At the Sphere for U2! Neither of us can remember how many times we've seen U2 live #ILoveAdamClayton #U2' —@rachel_is_here on Instagram

'#vegas #sphere #u2 Preshow: There is a bird flying around inside. Or is there?'—@BIGRICK_XLDJ on X

'U2 at @spherevegas was mind melting. People get focused on the visuals (which are insane) but the audio experience is equally crazy.' —@netsecdude on Threads

'Have to say it again: Best choir in the world!! #U2fam #U2 #U2Sphere'—

@HerzensSonne22 on X

Zootopia/U2 Faniverse

'Bono's falsetto is as smooth as butter this weekend.' —mich40

'Chills! I love the Moment of Surrender at the beginning. This song has a special place in my heart. The song that kicked off my love affair with this band.' —YouToo17

If you were at the show in Vegas, add your own review and upload your photos here.

U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere - Beautiful Day
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U2 13/12/2023
El mejor concierto.
Best Concert Experience
Read your bible kids…
Amazing experience
I enjoyed every minute of the show, we were in section 4 so pretty high but still the sound and the visual experience was amazing. The only thing I didn't like was that the people there were watching the show more than attending a rock concert, seated and silent... only standing up for drinks...
My sons first show
His face says it all
Mind. Blown.
Just when you think seeing the boys couldn’t get any better, along comes the Sphere. GA gave us intimacy with the band & immersion in the visuals. The sound was outstanding. We danced, we jumped up & down, we sang our hearts out, we cried (maybe just me for that bit), what a night. What a weekend. Worth every penny spent, all 5,500 miles travelled & every moment of jet lag suffered back at work. Viva Las Vegas!
U2 Sphere December 9 Show ... A Natural
Our 1st U2 concert April 1992 in Austin, TX. Now a little older ... December my birthday month & our upcoming 50th anniversary. This was a phenomenal way to celebrate and start the New Year! Who else can christen the immersive experience at the Sphere but U2. Thank you, Bono, the Edge, Adam, Larry & Bram for your exceptional musical talents, voices and songs that intrinsically connects us all!
Achtung baby! Sphere LV
Greatest concert ever. U2 did it again. Best part, I got to experience it with my 21 year old son who loves U2 than anything else. Thank you. Thank you very much.
U2@Sphere 9 December
Simply Mind-Blown. Another absolute U2 Spectacle! Band Fantastic - thats a given : ). I want to shout out to every person behind the scenes - from visuals to lighting, just amazing performance in the coolest venue! Information/Visual Overload of Awesomeness. Thank You U2 and All! It was a whirlwind 2days-1nite.. trip. timC Mount Pleasant WI USA.
Beyond Beautiful
3rd show in the Sphere and this was beyond anything I could have hoped for. Best concert in all my 50 years!
From ZOO TV to U2 live at the Sphere, 30
Where to start? With the shape of the sphere, i’d like to, somehow, close a loop. Indeed, for me, it all started 30 years ago, when I discovered U2 with a documentary about Zoo TV, in 1993. It was so phenomenal to me, not only because of the music, but because of all the concepts of the show. I think I have never seen such an accomplished show since. It was so mind blowing that I decided to work in the video industry from this moment. I was 11. So my first real U2 concert was Pop Mart, in Paris (i’m french) on september 6th 1997. And I’ve done every tour since then (several times) until my last show on December 5th 2019 in Tokyo for the Joshua Tree tour. This JT Tour Anniversary was quite something. I never thought U2 would be that kind of band doing something like an anniversary tour. But one of the reasons I still love this band after 30 years is because they sometimes do something I wouldn’t imagine them to do. Anyway, after that anniversary tour, some fans started to fantasize about a ZOO TV Tour anniversary. Not me. Zoo TV was an absolute genius that could never be equalized. U2 was at their top level, so never in the world something like a “ZOO TV revival” must be done. And, I think that, deep inside, I would not allow myself to hope. Then Bono made his autobiography, and a solo tour, that I saw in Paris (magnificent). A small dose of u2, somehow, and the first since the pandemic. … and then, the rumor of U2 opening The Sphere… and this video with a (creepy) baby on that sphere in the middle of the desert… U2 UV… UltraViolet… baby baby baby, light my way… And then, it was official: they will play the entire “Achtung baby” album. Yeah, because as you know, they never played “Love is blindness” live since Zoo TV, and when Edge plays the solo part, it’s like his soul takes the shape of the music. Or is it the music shaped after his soul? Anyway, it’s a thrilling moment that I never experienced for real, and it seems that I will now… but in Las Vegas ! The Irish poet Oscar Wilde said “Follies are the only things we never regret.” And I knew he was right, so didn”t think twice and take a chance to have tickets for that show. I thought I had a rendez-vous with my destiny. Zoo TV was the beginning of all I lived with U2 for the last 30 years. Back then, Bono had a vision, television. He now has a 18K immersive television called The Sphere. And I wanted to be in the middle of it. I flew to Las Vegas for 3 shows: October 5th, 7th and 8th. I didn’t want to be part of the first 2 shows because the sphere is brand new and never been used in real conditions, nor the show itself. So I pass my turn to let them correct small things for the third show if needed. But I shut down social media 2 weeks before to keep the surprise. In 1997, when I went to Pop Mart, the internet wasn’t as developed as it is today, so I didn’t have all the information about what’s going on during the show. I remember clearly my surprise when, in the middle of the show, I was in the middle of the fog, seeing nothing, and then, suddenly, discovered that the giant lemon standing right next to me was now a giant mirror ball ! And that mirrorball is moving !! OMG, and it’s opening !!! And U2 is inside !!!!... Since 2001, such things were impossible, you could see everything on the internet. And today? Well, you could see the entire show live in 4k ! So I did all I could to try to live that “surprise” feeling once again, like my first U2 show. So, here I am, in Vegas, oct 4th, 9pm, my suitcase left at the hotel to see the sphere for the first time. I saw it from the plane when I landed a few hours before. That big yellow smiley face seemed to say “Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas”. But now, the thing is right in front of me and I feel small. “U2 UV” is now displayed on it. So it’s real! (“I believe in Las Vegas ! I’ve been there, I know that it exists!”) I haven’t slept during the last 24h (except maybe 1h in the plane), so I tried to sleep a bit to be on my feet for the first show, but I was so excited (and maybe jetlagged) that I barely slept that night too. My first show will be in the general admission. I’ve done 32 U2 shows since then, always in the GA (and almost every time in the first 3rd rows). OK, so we are on October 5th, I go to the sphere at 7 a.m because they let you come in à 8 a.m to grab a wristband with a number on it so you can come back later (at 5p.m) and be in that number position in the G.A Line. It’s pretty well organized and the mood is good, even if it’s always stressful. At 6 p.m, here we are, at the door of the entrance for the general admission. They scan our tickets and give us an other wristband (prettier), with “Sphere - General admission - U2 UV - 10.05” on it. And then… you go inside. A long, dark corridor, some people of the staff telling you where to go, and then you enter the actual auditorium of the sphere. I think everybody, at this point, do naturally one thing: raise your eyes to the ceiling ! The room is surrounded by large blocks of concrete that go up until the top of the building, except a round hole at the very top of it. When you are outside, you can see the top of the sphere, so when you are inside, you really see the size of it, its height ! Oh wait… unless… of course, it’s a screen ! OMG, it’s so photorealistic ! They mapped it so they can shape the size they want, so maybe it isn’t that high… but you can’t tell. I remember Zoo TV. I was fascinated because I understood then how you can manipulate people with the media. And, I liked it too, being manipulated. And, well… here I am, in the sphere, losing my bearings already. So I look carefully at this wall / screen. You really have to be close to it to see the trick. I mean, less than 10 meters. And then you look around and realize that there is almost nothing on stage. 2 mics, a drum kit, a pedalboard for Edge and a piano. There are 4 poles with 2 sets of lights on them, at the back of the stage, 3 stage monitors for the lyrics… and that’s it. No amp, no speaker. So the stage is not that big, but as it’s empty, it feels like it’s big enough for 3 guys and a child. During the 2 hours I have to wait until the beginning of the show, I try to imagine all the scenarios that could happen for the opening. Will they start with “Zoo Station” like they did 30 years ago? Will they put a lot of different media on that huge screen and gradually replace every concrete block by an individual screen and flood us with information like they already did 30 years ago, but this time including social media that actually floods us with too much media everyday ? Or will they start with “even better than the real thing”, using The Edge’s effect like an alarm and make it turn around us with the audio system that sphere provides? Well, all of that (and much more) will disappear when our favorite Irish come on stage. Bono comes in the front to grab his fly sunglasses and then Bram hits the drums with the beginning of Zoo Station (before Edge, that’s a change) and, by doing that, starts to crack the concrete of the wall. Wow, of course ! That makes sense too. The Berlin wall, ready to fall, like just when they were in Berlin to record that album. And so it begins, and the wall actually cracks and lets the light come in on us, and discover how huge the screen is when you see it moving all over your field of vision. It’s like in virtual reality, except you are entirely IN the VR glasses. You and all the people around you. So the fly is back, and even if he's twice as old as last time, he still throws away just as much. Since the Vertigo tour, I wear earplugs when I go to a concert, especially when it’s a U2 concert. But here, right after the beginning, I put them away, because the sound is loud but not too loud and, more importantly : it’s balanced ! It sounds incredibly clear, you can hear everything like they are on different channels (maybe they are?). I came here and had expectations about the video, of course. And I read some things about what Edge said about the sound system, but that sound, that quality, was unexpected. And that’s very hard to describe because I have no comparison. I mean, it’s not about the quality of the audio system, it’s not the volume, it’s not the stereo… you can’t compare to your HiFi audio system either… it’s the way that every instrument and voices are delivered to your ears. Try to imagine that, until now, all you heard was like the light you see : a mix of all the colors, and for you, it’s white. Sometimes it’s warm, sometimes cold, sometimes you can see more or less of a color, but it’s like 1 channel. Well, the audio system of the sphere is like a prism. Do you remember the cover of “dark side of the moon” from Pink Floyd? It’s like that, but with the sound. You can see all the colors that compose the sound. It really is one of the major things that blew my mind in the sphere, and I tried to explain it with words, but you can not realize it completely until you live it. When “The fly” starts as the second song of the setlist, you start to hope that they will play the ZOO TV setlist, with minor changes to put all the Achtung Baby songs in it. And they kind of did it… at least, for the 6 first songs. Well, that’s already a blessing ! The fly comes with a huge surprise too. During The Edge’s solo, a column of numbers is growing from the stage to the ceiling and there you can see that that tube is way longer than the height of the sphere. And as you look up to the infinite of that tube, it closes itself, like with a cap, and that “ceiling” is now going down on the audience, on you, and transforming the room in the shape of a cube. And let me tell you : i’m working on video, and video mapping, so I know how you can shape an image to fit a building etc. But what I saw in that sphere was the most incredible trick I saw so far. I saw it 3 times, so I can tell you that it works better when you are in the center, but still. I looked very carefully the second and third times, but your mind could not do the math and your brain is completely blown away ! During Joshua Tree Tour in 2017, I once been close the the main stage so the screen covered my field of view and during the intro of “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” I remember the feeling of the entire stadium falling backwards as the screen showed panning shots upwards. Well, of course, in the sphere, they play with that sensation. During “Even better than the real thing”, an animation about Elvis Presley comes from the ceiling and flows gently down the screen during all the song, and, once again, when you are in the center (and, I think, downstairs), you really feel like the sphere leaves the ground with you in it, like the entire place is an elevator… So of course, when Bono sings “you take me higher” at the end of the song… well… that makes sense. Again. I have to say that I’ve been a bit disappointed about “one”. Indeed, during this song, the audience lights up their smartphone flash (like usual now) and, later during the song, on the screen, appears a sea of tiny lights like those in the audience. Well, I know, the song tells that “we are one, but we are not the same”, but I would have really liked cameras, from behind the screen, to capture the audience live and rebroadcast it on the screen in mirror mode so that the audience finds itself facing itself and the band finds himself virtually surrounded on all sides by the audience. “until the end of the world” comes a bit like the days of ZOO TV and I saw, on the second evening, a person jump during the first explosions. It is indeed very impressive. The use of the screen is a little more refined on this song but remains effective. So indeed, the screen and its effects take up a lot of space in this show, and I have heard people say that we forget the group. I don't completely agree but I admit that I happily took my eyes off the group to focus on decorum. But still, did I feel like I was missing something? No more than usual. Knowing that usually, I already do at least 2 concerts, because during the first, it goes by too quickly and I have the feeling of having missed things. On the other hand, I would go so far as to say that, when the screen stopped working (during the part of the concert they call S.O.S where they play a little more acoustically), I was missing it. The intimacy thus rediscovered was pleasant and, above all, this part of the setlist allows a little spontaneity, but after being amazed by this screen and its potential, I wanted more. And obviously, the group knows this well and plays on this lack. So, when they return to "Achtung baby" with "Ultraviolet", a "simple" luminous, vaporous and colorful impulse is enough to make the entire audience let out an "wow" of wonder. And we literally hear this “wow” throughout the room. Then comes “Acrobat”. And when you’re in the GA, you can’t see it. You can see The Edge doing his solo perfectly, but you can’t see… that the entire stage is a screen too ! I saw it during the third show when I was in P3 section. But, back in the GA, because right after that, I heard (and saw, and felt) “Love is blindness” for the first time in my life. This song is a masterpiece, and the Sydney Zoo TV version is one of the most beautiful guitar solo from Edge I heard. My only hope for tonight was that they don’t do a Song Of Surrender version of it, with an acoustic guitar, because I want this solo so much… and I had it. Oh my god, My jaw literally fell off. And, something I didn’t expected happened (even more on the oct. 7th): then made it even better than during the Zoo TV. My mind was blown away several times during the show, for multiple reasons, but musically speaking, “Love is blindness” was the one song that made me say that it was worth “all that trip and all that money and all that time”. And this song, in this version, with a little passage sung in french, and with the group leaving the stage one by one, reminiscent of "40" but this time with The Edge last (Larry not being there... ) and ending with "Viva Las Vegas"... yes, this song stayed with me for several weeks after that. After that, you have magical moments where you feel like the wall of the sphere disappears completely (Atomic city) or like the sphere is a traveling machine through time and space (Streets, Wowy). The immersive sensation works great again during “With or without you” when you enter into that other sphere which seems to be the earth. During “Where the streets have no name”, you are in the middle of the desert and you see the sunrise. With it, the light intensity of the screen and therefore of the room increases. We ended up meeting in broad daylight. Just like with One, I had a little regret at that moment. I would have loved to feel the warmth of the sun at the same time. Maybe I'm asking too much, but I admit that it would have completely blown me away. I heard some people talking about odorama, it's true that that could also have added to the change of scenery. In any case, it leaves a little room for future improvements. The final screen, on “Beautiful day”, is really beautiful, as you probably saw on pictures. The fact that they leave the stage and let the people enjoy as much as they want this final picture is really cool. I made myself a selfie after the first show, with the screen behind me (or should I say “over my head”?) and it shows how photorealistic the screen is. Yes, they end with "beautiful day", which is, I think, "a mistake". It's not a mistake per sake, but U2 always finishes their show with something emotional, and it’s a wonderful thing. But here, at the sphere, you feel like they do the show and at the end, they put some of the hits that everyone (I mean, non-fan people) knows, and they end with “beautiful day” probably because it’s one of the most broadcasted tunes of their repertory. So for me it’s like remind us “it’s not a U2 tour, it's a U2 show for Las Vegas residency, for a larger audience, a show “à l’américaine” (USA Style). It’s a joyful way to finish a show and to say “we were happy to see you” but for me (and for other fan I talked to), it’s missing something. I could tell you about every song and every visual effect they use during the show, but once again, you have to experience it to feel it and to understand completely what it is. Maybe it’s because i’m not a poet, but I feel that that experience is so much about senses that you can’t really understand until your entire body lives it. In any case I know that I am not the only one to have been affected to this extent by what I experienced there. I've read a lot of comments on social media about this feeling that still stays with you for weeks after the show. Because it's not just a concert, it's really a show. And, as has been said, it is not a stadium or a sports hall set up for a concert, it is a performance hall, an auditorium. And I had never heard a rock concert in an auditorium before, and even less so in an auditorium equipped with 162,000 speakers that you can't see and surround you. They call it "The Sphere", but they could also have called it "the bubble", because you feel like you're in a bubble, weightless in sound and image. Finally, I cannot end this testimonial without talking about the wonderful staff of the sphere, who are among the most welcoming, caring and kind that I have met anywhere in the world. And that's important, especially when you've just experienced something so overwhelming, because the return to reality isn't abrupt as soon as the show ends. It is a whole. I don't know if it was the last time I saw U2, but since Covid, I live these moments as if they could be the last. And I clearly couldn't pass up this opportunity to experience my Zoo TV. And again, I haven't told you about everything I shared with other fans. But this is another story.
Photos from December 9
Still during Ultraviolet.
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