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Las Vegas' Sphere Is the Latest High-Tech Concert Venue Everyone Is Talking About The Sphere is the brainchild of (and largely paid for by) billionaire James Dolan, the CEO of the Madison Square Garden Company.

By Sarah Jackson

Key Takeaways

  • The buzziest new entertainment arena is a glowing orb near the Las Vegas strip.
  • The Sphere opened last weekend with a U2 concert attended by the likes of Jeff Bezos and Oprah Winfrey.
  • The space has an immersive feel thanks to a huge wraparound LED screen.
Sphere Entertainment via Business Insider
The Sphere opened in Las Vegas last weekend. with a U2 concert.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

This past weekend, some of the world's richest and most famous people — Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Bezos, and LeBron James, to name a few — descended on Las Vegas to attend the first night of U2's 25-show residency.

The biggest draw of the night was arguably not the Irish rock band, though, but the venue itself: the Sphere.

The Sphere is a massive, dome-shaped music and entertainment venue that just opened near the Las Vegas strip. It went viral after social media posts from the U2 concert gave a glimpse at the mind-boggling visuals and optical illusions inside the giant orb.

The venue, which officially opened this month, was previously known as MSG Sphere. Five years in the making, the Sphere was the brainchild of — and largely paid for by — billionaire James Dolan, the CEO of the Madison Square Garden Company, and was designed by architecture firm Populous, which specializes in stadiums. It came in over budget, with a price tag of $2.3 billion, The New York Times reported.

Connected to The Venetian hotel, the Sphere, which is 366 feet tall and 516 feet wide, houses 168,000 speakers and a wrap-around LED screen, "delivering a totally immersive visual environment," its website says. When lit up, its exterior screen can be seen from space, the site claims.

In recent weeks, the Sphere has put that massive external screen to good, if at times odd, use. One night, it shone yellow as an emoji, smirking above the casinos and hotels. Another night, it looked like an enormous blinking eyeball. It has at times also appeared to be a pumpkin, a basketball, and even Earth itself.

Sphere lights up, displaying an eyeball on July 04, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Sphere can be lit up as different objects. Its website claims it can be seen from space. Greg Doherty/Getty Images

So far, observers have been loving it.

"The Sphere in Las Vegas might be the best $2.5 billion dollars ever spent," one person said on X, formerly known as Twitter, alongside a video of the sphere as an emoji.

Social media posts from U2 concert-goers show audiences awestruck by the immersive visuals inside the Sphere. Throughout the show, the curbed floor-to-ceiling screen showed videos of a sunrise, a wormhole, and the dunes of a desert, among other trippy illustrations.

"So insane in person. Feels like an outdoor concert!" one attendee said on TikTok, posting a video of a desert horizon beaming from the interior screen.

"Just wow," Lauren Sanchez, Bezos' fiancée, posted on Instagram.

Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Bram van den Berg of U2 perform during opening night of U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere on September 29, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

U2's first show was attended by the likes of Jeff Bezos, Oprah Winfrey, and LeBron James. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Live Nation

Tickets for U2's residency start at $140, but some are reselling for several thousands of dollars.

The team behind the Sphere told Variety they expect to have three to four artist residencies per year.

Besides U2's residency, which will play until December, the venue is also showing "Postcard from Earth" starting this month. The show is described on the Sphere's website as "part sci-fi story, part nature documentary," featuring a specially commissioned film from director Darren Aronofsky.

While the next big musical act hasn't been announced, rumors suggested Harry Styles might follow U2.

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