The Las Vegas Sphere officially opened on September 29, with U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere heralding in what Sphere stakeholders call a “next-generation entertainment medium” with a 160,000 square foot interior LED display plane and 167,000 individually amplified loudspeaker drivers.
U2 (Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Bram van den Berg standing in for Larry Mullen Jr) lit up the Sphere stage with the opening night of the band’s highly-anticipated U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere 25-date run of shows, “reinventing the live music experience” with and launching what’s billed as of the world’s most cutting-edge venue.
The band utilised every part of Sphere’s LED screen – the world’s largest and highest-resolution – into an “awe-inspiring” gallery that showcased bespoke art from renowned artists including Es Devlin, John Gerrard, Marco Brambilla, and Industrial Light & Magic; all while performing on a Brian Eno-inspired turntable stage.
The run of shows celebrates the band’s acclaimed album Achtung Baby, as well as its accompanying industry-defining ZOO TV Tour which broke the mould in 1991 – with key songs from other albums also featuring. The band also performed their new song Atomic City, a homage to the magnetic spirit of 70’s post-punk with a nod to Blondie, whose pioneering work with Giorgio Moroder inspired and influenced the band. Atomic City is itself a 1950s nickname for Las Vegas, from a time when nuclear fascination swept the nation and the city promoted itself as a centre of atomic tourism due to its proximity to the Nevada Test Site.
The Sphere’s Immersive Sound is powered by HOLOPLOT, which provides “crystal-clear”, individualised sound to every seat, and is the world’s largest, fully integrated concert-grade audio system, specifically developed for Sphere’s unique curved interior.
The system consists of approximately 1,600 permanently installed and 300 mobile HOLOPLOT X1 Matrix Array loudspeaker modules and includes a total of 167,000 individually amplified loudspeaker drivers. The system utilises HOLOPLOT’s next-generation 3D Audio-Beamforming and Wave Field Synthesis technology to transform how audio is delivered in large-scale venues. This results in “controlled, consistent, and crystal-clear concert-grade audio” for audiences of up to 20,000 people, providing each audience member with a truly exceptional and personalised listening experience.
The entire sound system is completely hidden behind Sphere’s 160,000 square foot interior LED display plane. Any audio transmission losses are fully compensated for by HOLOPLOT’s algorithms in the optimisation engine, resulting in clear, full-range sound with virtually no coloration and a completely unobstructed visual LED surface – which wraps up, over and around the audience and combines with Sphere Immersive Sound to create a fully immersive environment.
Ahead of the official launch of Sphere, on 27 September, Sphere Entertainment Co announced that DreamWorks Animation is the first movie studio to launch a brand campaign specifically designed for the Exosphere – the fully programmable LED exterior of Sphere – in support of DreamWorks’ action-packed new film in the Trolls musical blockbuster franchise, Trolls Band Together, which hits US cinemas nationwide on November 17.
“We’re thrilled to have the innovative and imaginative DreamWorks Animation be the first movie studio to collaborate on a bespoke marketing campaign for the Exosphere,” said David Hopkinson, president and COOof MSG Sports, who oversees brand partnerships across Sphere Entertainment. “The Exosphere’s larger-than-life canvas has become the premier platform for brands looking to tell their stories on an unparalleled scale, reaching audiences across the globe from the heart of Las Vegas.”
The third instalment in the blockbuster Trolls franchise, Trolls Band Together, not only brings fan-favourite characters Poppy and Branch back to the big screen, but also reunites the band *NSYNC for their first new song in more than two decades. In celebration, DreamWorks collaborated with Sphere Studios, Sphere’s in-house creative studio, to develop custom animated content featuring beloved characters from the movie alongside kaleidoscopic art from the film. The week-long campaign began September 25, and will include a special takeover of the venue on the night of September 28 to countdown to the release of *NSYNC’s new single “Better Place” on September 29, which will be featured in Trolls Band Together.
The largest LED screen on Earth, the Exosphere consists of approximately 1.2 million LED pucks across 580,000 square feet of surface. Each puck contains 48 individual LED diodes, with each diode capable of displaying 256 million different colours – creating an unmistakably vivid landmark on the Las Vegas skyline. The Exosphere displays a wide range of custom artistic and branded content, attracting not only the attention of the more than 40 million visitors to Las Vegas each year, but also worldwide interest as a result of the venue being photographed and shared widely on social media daily.
The Darren Aronofsky-directed Sphere Experience, Postcard from Earth, will debut on October 6 at The Sphere. Tickets are currently on sale at thespherevegas.com.