Las Vegas Concert Review – Billboard

Billboard was in the orb for the very first night, and we’ve rounded up the best moments from the concert (and venue) debut.

Was it the hard-to-fathom floor-to-ceiling graphics? Or the way the immersive audio made it feel like you were in a recording studio with U2? Or maybe the way Bono carried on a seemingly intimate conversation with 18,000-plus fans?

It’s hard to pick the most impressive part of Friday’s (Sept. 29) U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere opening night — also the debut of the concert venue itself — but one thing is certain: U2 was exactly the right band to welcome the mind-blowing space.

You might think that all the technological bells and whistles could overshadow the performance, but U2’s music and message always remained the focal point throughout the two-hour set — even when a pop-culture kaleidoscope of images scrolled up the 366-foot screen in rapid succession, making it unclear if the floor or the stage might be moving or if your mind was just playing tricks on you. (That was during the Achtung Baby single “Even Better Than the Real Thing,” only three songs into the concert, and it was truly the most unreal moment of the night.)

But the real magic was often when the production chose not to inundate the full screen, pulling back with just a monochromatic blue backdrop or a starry night sky for quieter songs, or just projecting large images of the bandmembers during a turntable segment that will feature different non-Achtung Baby songs each night over the 25-show run.

In the end, Sphere never overshadows U2; Sphere magnifies U2, pairing a band that has attempted to innovate with each new tour over their 40-plus-year career with a venue that seemingly has no limits of innovation.

Billboard was in the orb for the very first night, and we’ve rounded up the best moments from the concert (and venue) debut below.

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