U2 Comes Full Circle With “Surprise” Performance Downtown

It was the best and worst kept secret in Las Vegas.

On Sep. 16, 2023, U2 shot a music video for their new song, “Atomic City,” at various locations in downtown Las Vegas.

The group ended up giving a pop-up show in front of Plaza, giving fans a special treat with a heartfelt rendition of “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”

Edge is so over Bono getting all the attention. He was sort of over it in 1987.

We say “best and worst kept secret” because we got wind of the show earlier in the day and couldn’t resist dropping some hints about it on Twitter, the social platform some people are foolishly calling X.

Our first hint was about the fact the Neon Trees concert planned for the 1st Street Stage at Fremont Street Experience had been moved. Let’s just say Neon Trees didn’t want to be upstaged.

We then shared some behind-the-scenes activity happening on the street between Binion’s and Circa. Specifically, a mobile stage was being tested.

We then shared photos of a massive production staging area in the parking lot next to The Cal.

Then we dove headlong into our expansive knowledge (upwards of three songs) of U2’s catalog to try and let people know what was going on without completely spilling the beans and risking being banned from the Sphere for life. (This was all part of the band’s promotion of their Sphere residency.)

Then we made a reference to Edge. You know, David Howell Evans, one of the members of U2. The one who always wears a hat due to male pattern baldness. Look, not everyone can have a glorious mane like we do.

At this point, we realized we might need to dumb down our hints so even Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John Katsilometes would know the show as happening and where to go. He doesn’t need any additional embarrassments beyond our scooping him every day.

We were told there were 200 extras holed up inside the Plaza Theater. We met a good number of them later, and they were happy to be set free (they’d arrived at 3:00 p.m., but the taping didn’t happen until midnight). They got $150 for the day.

The U2 hints were now coming fast and furious.

We caught up with Bono doing a solo segment for the band’s video.

The scheduled time for the performance at Plaza kept being pushed back, but U2 arrived in grand style and lip-synced to “Atomic City” probably 10 times to get the content needed for their video, which will also be shown during their performances at the Sphere.

“Atomic City” isn’t going to win any Grammys or break any sales records for U2, but it’s about Las Vegas, so we’ll give it a pass.

A highlight of the U2 extravaganza was when Bono paused the taping to perform “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” basically unplugged. It was an amazing moment for fans of U2 and Las Vegas.

If you’re wondering why that’s amazing, well, U2 didn’t have to perform anything, really. They were taping a music video. They couldn’t just done that and bolted.

It’s amazing because downtown Las Vegas was the location of their original music video for the song. If you haven’t watched this video 1,000 times, you may not be Vegas enough. Or U2 enough.

The original video was done in front of The Mint and Binion’s, as well as Golden Nugget.

You thought we were kidding about Edge being over it?

We’ve all had that one co-worker.

Having U2 return to perform this hit again, just a block or two from their original shoot location, was thrilling.

We have never been a huge U2 fan, but we are now, thanks to that one random act of kindness on Main Street in front of the Plaza in downtown Las Vegas.

Here’s another pic of U2 downtown.

We’d have snuck up on the SlotZilla landing platform for some sweet pics, but we like not being arrested.

The band’s residency at the Sphere, the new entertainment venue at Venetian, kicks off Sep. 29, 2023. The show is called, “U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere.”

It will be a solid payday for U2, as they’re keeping 90 percent of ticket sales, in addition to being paid $10 million up front to cover the cost of Bono’s fly shades.