More than seven months after the Grammy-winning rockers announced their mammoth run of Las Vegas shows at the Super Bowl, the band marvelously combined both sight and sound on the opening night of U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere, pairing beloved tracks from past and present with jaw-dropping visuals from Es Devlin, John Gerrard, Marco Brambilla, and Industrial Light & Magic that were projected onto the newly crafted, dome-shaped venue behind them.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers drew most of the night’s inspiration from their acclaimed 1991 album, Achtung Baby, playing songs like “Tryin’ to Throw Your Arms Around the World,” “So Cruel,” and “Zoo Station.” During the latter, a large cross-section of the sphere appeared to be sliced open, revealing colorful television static and close-up footage of Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Bram van den Berg (who is filling in for drummer Larry Mullen Jr.) as they spun on a Brian Eno–inspired turntable stage.
Donning his Fly sunglasses, Bono also made several references to some of the famous faces in attendance, which included Jon Hamm, Ava DuVernay, Mario Lopez, Jimmy Kimmel, Dr. Dre, Katy Perry, Lars Ulrich, Oprah Winfrey, Orlando Bloom, Matt Damon, Snoop Dogg, Jason Bateman, and Paul McCartney. Bono paid tribute to the Beatles star throughout the evening, weaving “Love Me Do,” “Blackbird,” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” into the group’s 22-song setlist.
“The Macca is in our presence,” Bono said at the show, reports Rolling Stone. “It’s like having Mozart. Your songs will be played in a thousand years, dude. Just know that we love you, and we’ve stolen a lot of your songs.”
U2 ended the evening by playing a medley of their greatest hits, including “Beautiful Day,” “With or Without You,” and “Where the Streets Have No Name,” during which the Sphere’s interior transported concertgoers to a sprawling desert at sunrise. The band also debuted a new single, “Atomic City,” a nod to ’70s post-punk, fellow rock band Blondie, and Sin City itself.
U2 is set to perform 24 more U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere concerts, which conclude Dec. 16. Check out more photos from the opening-night show below.
Sign up for Entertainment Weekly’s free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.