They’re back! In a Super Bowl LVII commercial last night, U2 revealed that they have a Las Vegas residency in the books for later this year celebrating their 1991 album Achtung Baby. As feels only right, the rock group let an apt messenger deliver the news during their SBLVII spot: an enormous, disembodied alien baby surveying the world through a clear helmet.
Achtung Baby Live at the Sphere is set to kick off at Las Vegas’ brand new MSG Sphere at the Venetian this fall. Official dates have yet to be released. U2 will be the first group to play the brand-new, 17,500-seat venue, which has been under construction for years. The group hasn’t been on tour since 2019, when they performed the Joshua Tree album in full.
The Super Bowl LVI spot kicks off with a deep synth needle drop, soundtracking a dramatic series of clips depicting global warming in all its naturally disastrous light. Distressed by the world outside them (and continuously surveilled by the aforementioned baby), a variety of listeners from Rio de Janeiro to Paris to Tokyo put on their favorite U2 tracks to take off the edge.
As they begin to listen, their bodies are all transported to a desert in Las Vegas. Where are they? What is this? Everyone is thoroughly confused by the situation—until it’s revealed U2 is in the same desert, also at the whim of this mysterious baby overlord floating in an orb.
“So, are we doing this?” inquires The Edge.
“We’d be mad not to,” Bono responds. And so, a residency was born!
The announcement also came alongside news that drummer Larry Mullen Jr. will not participate in the fall shows while he recuperates from an unspecified surgery. Drummer Bram van den Berg, who the band called “a force in his own right” in a press release per Pitchfork, will step in to complete the lineup.
Earlier in last night’s game, fans also heard a new version of Achtung Baby classic “One,” which served as the accompaniment for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year presentation. The track will feature on U2's next album Songs Of Surrender, a 40-track career retrospective featuring re-recorded and re-imagined material due out on March 17.
“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,” U2 continued in a press release. “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.”