U2 dedicated a song to drummer Larry Mullen Jr. as the band kicked off their residency at the brand-new MSG Sphere in Las Vegas on Friday night.
Mullen is not taking part in U2's 25-show residency at the $2.3 billion venue, citing injuries to his elbows, knees, and neck.
Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and stand-in drummer Bram van den Berg dedicated their performance of "All I Want is You" to Mullen during the opening night of "U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere".
The band played their 1991 album "Achtung Baby" in its entirety during Friday night's concert in addition to performing their new song "Atomic City".
U2 also performed an acoustic set of songs from the "Rattle and Hum" album during the concert and finished with an encore of "Elevation", "Atomic City", "Vertigo", "Where the Streets Have No Name", "With or Without You", and "Beautiful Day".
The band's acoustic performance of "Angel of Harlem" featured snippets of Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic" and Thin Lizzy's "Dancing in the Moonlight" in a tribute to U2's musical inspirations. The song was also dedicated to the late Billie Holiday.
U2 opened the $2.3 billion Las Vegas Sphere last night and the visuals are incredible 🤯pic.twitter.com/szKa5DobRd— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) September 30, 2023
Meanwhile, U2 dedicated their performance of "Desire" to Beatles legend Paul McCartney, adding a snippet of the Beatles' song "Love Me Do" to the song. Their performance of "Love Rescue Me" was dedicated to the late Jimmy Buffet, while "With or Without You" was dedicated to the bands' friends, family, and colleagues.
RTÉ Radio presenter Dave Fanning described the stage production of the new show as "on a different planet altogether".
"They couldn't bring this gig anywhere else," Fanning told the Brendan O'Connor Show. "You wouldn't see it anywhere - no wonder it's a residency. This simply couldn't happen anywhere else."
Here’s U2 playing ‘Angel Of Harlem’ at The Sphere in Las Vegas pic.twitter.com/Bb184TVnGv— Damian Jones (@damianjones1) September 30, 2023
Bono appeared to suggest to the crowd that U2 would focus on a different album during each of the 25 nights of their residency, with their "Achtung Baby" setlist to be broken up by a secret segment focusing on a different U2 album.