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U2 announces start date, ticket prices for MSG Sphere

Updated June 26, 2023 - 10:06 am

U2 fans are starting to find what they’re looking for. Details of the band’s highly anticipated launch of The MSG Sphere at The Venetian are finally being made official.

The band’s performances in Las Vegas premiere Sept. 29-30, as previously reported. Ticket prices start at $140 — and that includes all fees. All that crucial intel was announced Monday morning as the first set of dates and ticket prices for “U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere” have been released to the public.

Along with the first weekend, Oct. 5 and Oct. 7-8 are locked in at The MSG Sphere.

We expect more dates to be announced as fans buy up the first dates at the $2.2-billion, 17,500-seat venue. The number of shows is fewer than officials have previously mentioned, which has been up to a dozen shows on weekend dates. The Oct. 5 show, a Thursday, also diverts from what Sphere reps have previously disclosed.

U2 has not played live since December 2019. The lineup is Bono, The Edge and bassist Adam Clayton. For the first time, U2 will perform a concert series without founding drummer Larry Mullen Jr., who has announced he will sit this one out to undergo surgery required from years of wear and tear.

Bram van den Berg, of the Dutch alt-rock pop band Krezip, is stepping in.

The band is eager to be the first show of any type at The Sphere.

“Most music, over playing a theater, most music venues are sports venues. They’re stadiums, they’re arenas. They’re built for sports. They’re not built for music, they’re not built for art,” Bono told Apple Music’s Zane Lowe last month on a tour of The Sphere and also Neon Boneyard. “So this building was built for immersive experiences in cinema and performance. It was not built for, you can’t come here and see an ice hockey game.”

The Edge extolled The Sphere’s sound system.

“So, the sound has been designed as a priority from the beginning,” the songwriter and guitarist said. “Best sound, I’m sure we’ll ever hear. Really excited about it.”

Fans can register now for the Verified Fan presale at u2.ticketmaster.com. Registration for Verified Fan closes 7 a.m. Pacific time Wednesday. Those who are selected to receive an access code will be able to participate in the Verified Fan presale starting Thursday.

During this period, U2.com subscribers can sign into their Ticketmaster account, select three shows in order of preference, request up to four tickets, and pick the type of tickets preferred. To complete their request, fans will enter payment details and will only be charged if the request can be fulfilled.

Requests will only be fulfilled for up to one show and up to four tickets. Fans will be notified via email of their request status, and if fulfilled will be provided a link to claim their tickets.

If any tickets remain, they will be sold during a general on-sale starting 10 a.m. Friday at Ticketmaster.com. On sale times will vary. Check the Ticketmaster listings for more information.

The band and Ticketmaster are minimizing resale to keep prices lower on the secondary market. General-admission floor floor tickets are being restricted from transfer. They can only be resold at the original purchase price.

Along with the $140 base price, Sphere and U2 reps report that 60 percent of the tickets will cost less than $300, with a limited number of premium-priced tickets per show. We expect the top price to be around $550 for floor seats. The ticket costs will fluctuated because of dynamic pricing, often rising but also dropping according to demand.

The band is also reserving 50 tickets to see the show from a VIP riser, made available for purchase benefiting (RED), the organization founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver in 2006 to fight AIDS and the cultural injustices that enable pandemics to thrive.

Last week, The Sphere’s parent company, MSG Entertainment, sold its majority stake in Tao Group Hospitality to Mohari Hospitality for $550 million. Tao Group controls Tao, Hakkasan, Omnia, Marquee, Wet Republic and Lavo on the Strip. Analysts have said the transaction was to defray The Sphere’s rising construction costs, which were originally estimated at $1.2 billion but have ballooned to $2.2 billion.

Sphere officials have planned between four and six superstar headliners at the venue, which sits just behind The Venetian/Palazzo on Sands Avenue. The venue’s anchor production, “Postcard From Earth,” opens Oct. 6, just a night after U2’s fifth announced performance.

Conceived by Darren Aronofsky (“The Whale,” “Black Swan, “The Wrestler”) “Postcard” is in “The Sphere Experience” umbrella.

The “Postcard” show, which is to run up to four times a day, is paramount to The Sphere’s viability. But first out is a real rock band, in a surreal setting. U2 is set up to produce an experience not seen in live entertainment.

“There’s nothing else like it in the world and won’t be for many, many years,” The Edge said.

Bono spoke of the possibility the band will tour after clearing out of The Sphere, leaving open the possibility of an extended run.

“We have to see if our audience loves this,” the front man said. “I think it’s going to be hard to get us out of here.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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