The Sphere isn't just an enormously bright structure sitting on the Las Vegas skyline anymore; now it's open to the public — specifically to U2 listeners — and is taking the concert world to new heights ... literally.
Instead of just boasting a wraparound LED screen on its outside — turning itself into a basketball, a blinking eye and other spherical objects in recent months — the $2.3 billion Sphere is now creating that same effect on the inside, with floor-to-ceiling graphics surrounding concertgoers in 160,000-square-feet of immersive visuals.
These high-tech features were seen for the first time Friday when U2 headed the venue's grand opening, marking the band's first show of its three-month residency there.
The two-hour set inside the 366-foot-tall and 516-foot-wide arena featured visuals unlike most other concerts, with kaleidoscope images and lifelike helicopters zooming around the starlit screens in the world's largest spherical structure.
More than 18,000 fans, including celebrities like Oprah and Matt Damon, were there to see the larger than life performance, with U2 band members sometimes appearing as tall as buildings in front of attendees.
Bono once stared at this larger version of himself on the screen after commenting on the "fancy pad." And after covering a song by The Beatles, as Paul McCartney sat in the audience, Bono acknowledged the Sphere's owner James Dolan for leading a new era of the live concert experience.
"I'm thinking that the Sphere may have come into existence because of Jim Dolan trying to solve the problem that The Beatles started when they played Shea Stadium," Bono said, according to the Associated Press. "Nobody could hear you. You couldn't hear yourselves. Well, the Sphere's here ... Can you hear us?"
And it seems like it's not just concertgoers "hearing" them.
Following the two weekend shows, stocks for Sphere Entertainment rose 11% Monday, according to CNBC, with videos circulating on social media surely adding to the eagerness surrounding the "next-generation space," as the company describes it.
The rest of U2's tour already sold out on Ticketmaster, but fans hoping to see the 22-time Grammy Award-winning group at the Sphere can still find tickets on secondary platforms like SeatGeek and Stubhub — just prepare to pay a pretty penny.
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