“Oh my god. Holy sh—. Are you f—-ing kidding me?” About three songs into U2’s set at The Sphere, this is what replaced the sound of an audience-wide singalong. An entire crowd having a borderline mental breakdown about what they were witnessing- the power of one of the worlds biggest bands using the world’s most high tech music venue to it’s highest capacity to blow minds.
And blow minds it did. At 516 feet wide and taller than a football field, The Sphere in Las Vegas has forever changed the game in live shows. The entirety of the inside walls sans seating is the highest def projection screen known today. You know your super-cool 4K TV you got at Best Buy? These screens are 18K. Behind those screens are the highest of high-tech speakers.
This place cost $2.3 billion, and it felt like every dollar was worth it. The Sphere is the ultimate fifth member of the band, elevating any song into a spectacle. But when that band is one already known for its over the top live shows, the result is quite simply astonishing.
The visuals are by design overwhelming. During “Even Better Than The Real Thing” it feels as if the floor is levitating as the wall and ceiling are filled with slowly descending pop-culture themed collages, creating a sensation that almost made me lose my balance. At some points the visuals are genuinely terrifying, but in a good way – like when you’re at the top of a roller coaster waiting for the drop.
During “The Fly”, a giant mass of digital 1s and 0s cluster together to give a look as if the roof is rapidly collapsing onto the crowd. During the entire duration of “Love Is Blindness”, we’re held inside an illusion of thousands of giant bugs landing one by one on the outside of the sphere blocking out the sun and trapping all of us concert goers inside.
Thankfully, there are breaks in the stimulus overload with more intimate, stripped down and mostly technology free moments interspersed. People have asked me if this is an experience best seen on drugs, my opinion is that they could either slightly enhance an already elevated experience, or quite possibly quickly turn the evening into a two hour hellscape.