Las Vegas: Sphere and now

Travel

May 28, 2024

The Sphere in Las Vegas, NV

by Jay Ahuja

Las Vegas wasn’t at the top of our list of places to visit until friends reported back from U2’s Achtung Baby Live residency at The Sphere. The Irish rockers were the first to play at the new entertainment venue, which opened last September. My wife, Karen, and I went for Valentine’s Day, and our concert tickets were packaged with a stay at the adjacent Venetian hotel.

We got a lay of the land on Day 1 by attending Postcard From Earth, Darren Aronofsky’s 55-minute film that is part of The Sphere’s interactive experience. Inside the giant lobby, we interacted with AI robots that demonstrated the venue’s high-tech features. One showed how sound can be beamed so individual instruments are heard within a song — depending on where you stand, you can hear just the guitar or the drums or the bass. 

Our 300-level seats for the movie were almost dead center. Inside the enormous domed structure, equipped with 167,000 speakers and a 160,000-square-foot, 180-degree screen, the views are stunning. Seats rumble, wind blows, scents come and go, and the sound is all-encompassing. For us, reconnaissance value alone made this a worthwhile visit. 

The U2 concert far exceeded the hype. During the rest of our stay, we dined on extraordinary Greek seafood at estiatorio Milos at The Venetian and upscale Mexican fare at Casa Playa at the Wynn. We saw The Beatles LOVE, a Cirque du Soleil show at The Mirage (running through July 6) that blends mind-blowing acrobatics and classic Fab Four songs — another highlight of our trip. Regretfully, we weren’t able to visit The Laundry Room, an intimate speakeasy tucked inside Commonwealth and one of our favorite stops on a previous visit.

I never cared much for the Vegas of old, where everything seemed fake and the casinos reeked of smoke and felt gloomy. After our recent trip, if the right act is booked, we would absolutely return. The restaurants, shows and, most importantly, concert at The Sphere, were that remarkable.

Through Aug. 10, Dead & Company is in residency at The Sphere. For upcoming events, visit thesphere.com.

Getting there: 4.5-hour nonstop flight from CLT

Featured photograph by Andy Gillmore, courtesy Sphere Entertainment

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