U2 Wraps Their Revolutionary Vegas Sphere Residency

"It's been 40 days and 40 nights in the desert," Bono acknowledged to the U2 fans in attendance on Saturday, March 2, the final night of The Sphere's inaugural residency.

"What's a fella with a Messianic complex gonna do?" he asked while The Edge, Adam Clayton, and temporary drummer Bram van den Berg quietly played the plodding "40" to the sold out $2 billion arena on the Las Vegas Strip.

The 1983 song's haunting, repeated chorus of "how long to sing this song?" is what attendees of The Unforgettable Fire and Joshua Tree tours of the '80s would sing in the parking lots heading to their cars on the way home.

U2 hadn't played the tune from their third album,War, since 2016.

Here's some more of the residency stats for the show that kicked off October 2023: U2 played 19 songs 40 times, "All I Want Is You" was played 37 times and "Desire" was unleashed 35 times.

They sang "Happy Birthday" twice as well as four other covers including the Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper tune "Shallow" which Bono sang with Mother Monster in October.

The only other guest star to the Sphere stage with the band was their longtime producer Daniel Lanois, who was on the board for many albums including Achtung Baby, which the residency was centered around.

On the final show, Lanois joined the band to perform "One."

Weird fact: Achtung Baby spawned five singles, all of which did well on the charts, but it only won one Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Group. And "One" wasn't even nominated for a Grammy.

Technically there was one other special guest that graced the stage with the legendary band, their founder, Larry Mullen, Jr. The ailing drummer watched the second-to-last show on Friday and waved from his seat.

“That is the man who pinned the note on the notice board at Mount Temple Comprehensive School all those years ago," Bono said from the stage. "And we are very grateful that he did and that he’s here with us tonight. We wish him a speedy, speedy, speedy recovery. We love you, Larry Mullen Jr. “

One of the exciting things about U2 concerts is the band's desire to shake things up.

During the Zoo TV Tour, Bono would call the White House switchboard. Famously, in the throes of "Sunday Blood Sunday" in the War Tour, the singer would march around with a white flag shouting "no more!"

So on Saturday night Bono asked the crowd to use their phones to film the song they were about to play, one they'd covered a few times in the residence, Neil Finn of Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over."

65-year-old Finn, it turns out made a special version of the hit for Bono to sing along to at the Sphere.

The results were very sweet.

"The idea is to record something special to honour Alexy Navalny's widow, Yulia, who is continuing the fight against Vladimir Putin," Bono explained to the excited audience.

"The other day we got a beautiful email from Neil Finn, who wrote this bewilderingly beautiful song, and attached to the email was a version of the song he said we could play on, or do whatever we wanted to."

For everyone kicking themselves that they didn't get to see U2 in this very special venue, there's good news. Throughout the last nights of the residency, there were cameras filming some of the best moments. Word is there will be a full-length concert movie made of those recordings.

But they won't be screened at your local movie house.

This film was meant to be shown at the Sphere, with all those crazy screens, with those arrays of speakers, under the roof it was taped in.

“We are filming tonight,” Bono told the fans on Friday. “This is the show that people will see after we all go home. In the future people will watch us, watching you… Give the future a wave.”

The next residence at the Sphere: Dead and Company from May through July. Get tickets on the Dead's website.

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