U2’s long-rumored Las Vegas residency was confirmed Sunday evening via a Super Bowl commercial announcing “U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at the Sphere,” a run of concerts spotlighting the band’s 1991 classic at the new MSG Sphere venue in Sin City this fall.
The even bigger news, though, is that the band confirmed that it will perform for the first time without founding drummer Larry Mullen Jr., who will be recovering from surgery.
Bono, The Edge and Adam Clayton will be joined by Dutch drummer Bram van den Berg.
U2 has not yet announced when these concerts will take place or how many will be performed. Fans can pre-register for ticket information at u2xsphere.com.
“It’s going to take all we’ve got to approach the Sphere without our bandmate in the drum seat, but Larry has joined us in welcoming Bram van den Berg who is a force in his own right,” the other three band members said in a statement accompanying the announcement of the Las Vegas project.
Mullen’s absence is not exactly a surprise, as The Washington Post reported in November that the drummer said in his first interview in seven years that “if the band plays live in 2023 it will probably be without him, as he needs surgery to continue playing.” The article described Mullen as “a powerhouse who now struggles with the physical toll of a lifetime of pounding.”
U2, which hasn’t played live since late 2019, has not described how it will spotlight Achtung Baby at the Sphere, whether that means a recreation of the 1991-1993 ZOO TV/Zooropa tours or a new production.
The band’s statement continues:
“The Sphere show has been in the works for a long time. We don’t want to let people down, least of all our audience… the truth is we miss them as much as they appear to miss us… our audience was always the fifth member of the band. Bottom line, U2 hasn’t played live since December 2019 and we need to get back on stage and see the faces of our fans again. And what a unique stage they’re building for us out there in the desert… We’re the right band, ACHTUNG BABY the right album, and the Sphere the right venue to take the live experience of music to the next level… That’s what U2’s been trying to do all along with our satellite stages and video installations, most memorably on the ZOO TV Tour, which ended in Tokyo 30 years ago this Fall. The Sphere is more than just a venue, it’s a gallery and U2’s music is going to be all over the walls.”
The band will be releasing a new album, Songs of Surrender, on March 17 that features re-recordings of classic U2 tracks, a collection assembled as part of the audiobook version of Bono’s recently-published memoir “Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story.”
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